Recently, a powerful antioxidant has gotten more attention--astaxanthin--and there is compelling research to support its claims.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, which is a lipid soluble pigment that imparts a red color in nature. It is derived from a microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis. The microalgae produces astaxanthin to protect itself against free radical damage derived from ultraviolet rays. Salmon and other seafood have pink coloring due to their intake of this microalgae.
Astaxanthin has been shown to have more antioxidant activity than some of the most well known antioxidants like CoQ10, vitamin C, beta-carotene and green tea. Because it is lipid soluble, it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and thus can be used in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and visual disorders.
Treating free radical damage is a way to address cardiovascular disease, stroke patients and premature aging as well. It can be used both internally and externally to treat sunburn. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, thus is useful in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer prevention and hypertension.
One study of astaxanthin showed that it improved fat utilization during exercise as well as increasing endurance during workouts, thus making exercise more efficient and weight loss more successful. This is an exciting supplement because of its many uses throughout the body as well as its ability to both prevent and treat disease.
Make sure of the source you get, however. It must not be synthetic and it should not be processed with chemicals. You can eat (a lot of) salmon, but make sure it is wild salmon, otherwise it will be synthetically colored.
In addition, because astaxanthin is lipid soluble, it should be paired with some form of oil when taking in supplement form so that it is absorbed properly.