Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family; a very potent anti-oxidant found naturally in algae and is the reason for the red or pink colouring seen in lobsters, shrimp, salmon and flamingos. This colouring is as a consequence of eating algae that is stressed during certain times of the year when the freshwater pools dry up, reducing nutrients and increasing exposure to UV radiation. The trauma results in the algae protecting itself by producing so much astaxanthin it turns itself from green to red.
Astaxanthin is known as “The King of Anti-Oxidants” and stands alongside other powerful family of anti-oxidants which also includes Vitamin C, E and Co Q10. There is also some evidence to show that it may be involved in increasing production of anti-bodies during an infection.
Anti-oxidants are particularly important to balance out the damaging effects of oxidants (free radicals) in the cells in the body. These damaging oxidants are produced mainly by natural processes in the cells when creating energy but a diet low in bright coloured vegetables and lifestyle factors such as smoking or working in harsh or toxic conditions can lead to too many of these damaging oxidants circulating in the body.
When there is a high level of oxidation health might be negatively affected, and research has been conducted around key areas such as skin aging, endurance and energy, heart health and the eyes, in relation to computer use or exposure to high levels of UV light. There are many different forms of Astaxanthin on the market, so do make sure that you ask in your health store about a high quality source that is backed by some good scientific research.
Please be assured taking Astaxanthin as a supplement is unlikely to turn a human red.