The Ultimate Guide to Astaxanthin
Did you know that flamingos, known for their iconic pink hue, aren’t actually born that way? Instead, these naturally gray or white birds take on their pink color after eating a diet filled with shrimp and algae.
That pinkish-red color comes from astaxanthin, a carotenoid pigment found that occurs in certain algae and yeast. As the adage goes, you are what you eat!
While astaxanthin may not turn your skin pink, it is highly regarded for its skin-boosting benefits and more. Keep reading to learn all about this powerful antioxidant.
What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is the red pigment found in carotenoids; carotenoids are a category of antioxidants that slow damage to the skin and body.
Fun fact: astaxanthin is grown and cultivated sustainably from algae. While this may sound less-than-appealing, astaxanthin’s antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects make it well worth the investment.
In fact, did you know that astaxanthin is 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, and 5 times more potent than beta-carotene? If you thought carrots were healthy, just wait until you try astaxanthin supplements.
Astaxanthin boasts several health-boosting benefits. With additional clinical research, it may even play a role in future cancer treatments.
That said, a few of our favorite astaxanthin benefits include:
1. Enhances Athletic Performance
Commonly used as an exercise supplement, astaxanthin is touted for its effects on athletic performance. In addition to supporting cardiovascular health, astaxanthin also promotes endurance and minimizes post-exercise fatigue.
Astaxanthin can also prevent muscular and skeletal damage and reduce joint stiffness, making it an all-around great addition to anyone with an active lifestyle.
2. Promotes Healthy Skin
Are you ready to add another step to your skincare routine? By using a combination of topical and oral products, astaxanthin has been shown to help protect the skin from wrinkles, minimize age spots, and maintain skin moisture.
It can even delay the impacts of UV exposure. In other words, astaxanthin can act as an internal sunscreen, and can even support the sunburn healing process. (That said, it should never be used as a complete replacement for traditional sunscreen.)
3. Supports Eye Health
Remember what we said earlier about astaxanthin being 5 times more potent than beta-carotene? Carrots are known for their vision-boosting properties, and this is because of their beta-carotene content.
Like carrots, astaxanthin can help tired eyes recover from excess screen time, and may even prevent or slow age-related degenerative eye conditions.
4. Boosts Brain Health
As an antioxidant, astaxanthin may help to boost or maintain cognitive health.
Some studies have shown promising results when it comes to attention, memory, and processing abilities in older adults, making it a helpful supplement for those with Alzheimer’s disease.
How to Use Astaxanthin
Currently, there are no standardized dosage guidelines for astaxanthin. If you purchase astaxanthin supplements, be sure to follow the dosage recommendations on the product label—typically between 2-4 mg daily.
Some ways to get your astaxanthin fix include:
Natural Food Sources
If you’re a fan of seafood, you’re in luck: salmon, trout, crab, and shrimp are all chock-full of this red-pigmented antioxidant. If you don’t already incorporate fish into your diet, consider adding it into your weekly meal rotation.
Topical Skincare Products
If you want to incorporate astaxanthin into your daily skincare routine, look for serums, oils, and moisturizers from reputable brands that use astaxanthin as a primary ingredient.
As with any new skincare product, it’s a good idea to test it on a small patch of skin before lathering it all over your face, just to make sure you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Look for astaxanthin supplements at your grocery store or local health food store. Whether you’re a fan of pills, capsules, or gummies, be sure to purchase products from a high-quality brand.
For example, try Hilo Repair Gummies, filled with natural ingredients including astaxanthin, turmeric, vitamin D, and ginger. These tasty pineapple-flavored gummies are designed to accelerate exercise recovery, support a healthy inflammatory response, and boost bone health.
Currently, more research is needed in order to fully understand the extent of astaxanthin’s benefits and long-term effects—especially when it comes to children and pregnant or nursing mothers.
However, studies show that astaxanthin is a relatively safe ingredient, with no reported side effects thus far.