All we want is better health.
And so we eat healthier foods, exercise daily, and support our immune systems.
A healthy body with a strong immune system helps us fight off disease. To better understand how the body works in fighting off diseases, we need to understand the role that free radicals play in our bodies.
What are Free Radicals?
We encounter free radicals every day – when our body converts food into energy and when we come into contact with environmental pollutions, alcohol, and cigarette smoke.
We even produce free radicals when our bodies are fending off invading germs.
When we accumulate too many free radicals, our bodies undergo oxidative stress. This process plays a significant role in the development of chronic and degenerative conditions such as aging, cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
How Can You Get Rid of Free Radicals?
To combat free radicals, we need to have antioxidants. Antioxidants help to reduce oxidation from free radicals. Oxidation of the cells causes most of the inflammation that takes place in our body.
Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants to combat oxidative stress. Some of these antioxidants, such as glutathione, are produced in the body itself.
Others can not be made in the body; instead, we get them from the foods we eat. We can get antioxidants from sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, citrus fruits, pumpkin, and seafood, for example.
All these foods contain antioxidants that can help combat free radicals.
But, here’s one antioxidant that recently gained popularity in the health community for its potency and ability to support optimal health: astaxanthin
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a type of carotenoid. Carotenoids are antioxidants that help us combat free radicals in our bodies and support our immune system.
Astaxanthin is red and naturally found in certain algae. It gives the pink-red color found in shrimps, salmons, lobsters, and other kinds of seafood.
Like most carotenoids, astaxanthin is fat-soluble, meaning it is best absorbed with fat. Astaxanthin is the ‘King Of Carotenoids.’ It is one of the strongest antioxidants around.
Comparing with other antioxidants, astaxanthin is:
- 150 times stronger than anthocyanin (found in berries)
- 200 times stronger than polyphenols (found in green tea)
- 500 times stronger than Vitamin E
- 800 times stronger than CoQ10 (found in legumes, brocolli)
- 6000 times stronger than Vitamin C
Health Benefits of Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin has been the subject of many studies. Here are a few of the health benefits that researchers have linked to this antioxidant:
Promotes Eye Health
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidants activities in astaxanthin are found to be beneficial in protecting our eyes.
Here are the benefits of astaxanthin to our eyes:
- Reduces dry eyes
- Reduces eye strain
- Increase blood flows to eye tissues
- Slow down age-related macular degeneration
Supports Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is becoming a concern in recent years because of the sedentary lifestyle that many of us are having.
One of the common reasons that are causing heart diseases is atherosclerosis. The inflammation of our cells causes arterial walls to be blocked.
Astaxanthin has documented to have cardiovascular protective effects, and researchers believe it to be more effective than Vitamin E or C for protecting the heart.
Besides consuming astaxanthin, it can be applied to promote healthy skin.
A study in 2012 had shown that astaxanthin helps in reducing wrinkles and maintain skin moisture. It shows positive results in both men and women.
The common joint problems that affect many of the elderly are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Because of its potent antioxidant properties, astaxanthin studies suggest it effectively improves the mobility of those affected by joint problems.
Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Do you know that about 463 million people worldwide are diagnosed with diabetes? This number could rise to 700 million by the year 2050. Every year there are 1.6 million deaths attributed to diabetes.
Diabetes is a severe condition that can lead to complications to our heart, kidney, eyes, and feet.
In one study, astaxanthin was found to reverse diet-induced insulin sensitivity in mice.
Supports Immune Function
Our immune system is our first line of defense against any diseases. We must have a strong immune system for optimal health and wellness.
However, free radicals and inflammation from stress and environmental toxins can weaken our immune system.
Incorporating astaxanthin into our diet may help us boost our immune system and maintain our health.
Antioxidants are essential to our overall health, and one of the strongest antioxidants around is astaxanthin.
Incorporating astaxanthin into your lifestyle can have massive changes. You try adding salmon or shrimp to your diet, or you can get astaxanthin supplements from local pharmaceuticals.
You Loong Yeong is an optometrist based in Malaysia. His mission is to educate more people about the importance of eye care and improve their overall health. This article is meant for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.