Are there health benefits to the supplement astaxanthin?

Preliminary research conclusions suggest astaxanthin, a carotenoid found in algae and aquatic animals, has strong antioxidant properties to help protect against excessive oxidative damage (too much oxidation from excess free radicals).Oxidation is caused by normal biological processes. In other words it’s a product of being alive. However, too much oxidation caused by intense exercise, poor diet, environmental pollutants, etc. is hard for the body to control. Oxidation and excess free radicals lead to cellular damage, inflammation, premature aging, and slower recovery from exercise. Currently, the primary use of astaxanthin supplements is as an antioxidant because original research demonstrated that due to astaxanthin's potent antioxidant activity, it may be beneficial in cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Astaxanthin has been recently showing up in sports performance products since supplementation has been shown to increase endurance and reduce muscle damage. In one study, it was demonstrated that astaxanthin may modify muscle metabolism by its antioxidant properties and result in improved muscle performance and weight loss benefits. Another study involving 1200 meter track athletes using astaxanthin demonstrated that a daily dose of 6 mg per day for 4 weeks resulted in the accumulation of lower levels of lactic acid, which theoretically delays fatigue. All in all, astaxanthin looks safe and promising as an antioxidant and may be useful for stressed humans consuming less than perfect diets.

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