What is astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin, also known as vitamin X, is a member of the carotenoid family of powerful antioxidants. There are over 700 naturally occurring carotenoids and most people may have heard of beta-carotene from carrots and other food sources. However astaxanthin is challenging to obtain from the diet. Astaxanthin is present in a microalgae called Haematococcus Pluvialis and is what gives salmon and krill their distinctive pinkish colour. The reason this antioxidant is found in many animals, and especially in marine animals, is that they ingest this microalgae, digest it and thereby get this into their bodies. The best foods for this impressive antioxidant would be salmon, trout, shrimps and other sea foods, but unfortunately one would have to consume approximately two pounds of wild salmon daily, which is simply impractical for the majority, aside from increasing the risks of ingesting heavy metals.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds that protect the skin and the body’s glands, including every single cell, from unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals come from a variety of sources including environmental pollution, cigarette smoke and even by the mere fact that the body breaks down foods to obtain energy releasing these damaging molecules into the bloodstream. Antioxidants are categorised into two groups, those that are water soluble (hydrophilic) and those that are oil-soluble (lipophilic). Your body requires both types since each one targets different types of cells and tissues, for example the lungs and blood work in a ‘water’ environment and the liver and all the cell membranes, which protect the cells from destructive elements, work in an ‘oil’ environment. Many of the body’s enzymes, which are catalysts for every cell and body process, are also oil based. Examples of water soluble antioxidants include vitamin C and glutathione, whilst oil soluble examples include vitamins A & E. The bottom line is that the body requires both types of these antioxidants for protection against free radicals. Read More…