Anti-Aging Properties of Astaxanthin

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant nutrient with a wide variety of health benefits. Three recent studies demonstrate excellent anti-aging potential, especially to help preserve the efficiency of energy production during aging.

Mitochondria are your cell’s car engines. They need to function well in order for you to maintain efficient energy production, especially to offset the common decline in mitochondrial function that occurs during aging. Feeding astaxanthin to dogs improved the mitochondrial function in both young and old dogs – especially old dogs. They had improved antioxidant status and decreased levels of nitric oxide that is linked to inflammatory states in the circulation. Under the influence of astaxanthin, not only did mitochondria function better, they grew in physical size and demonstrated superior enzyme activity. When mitochondria grow in size, a process called mitochondrial biogenesis is taking place, a key anti-aging event that is helping body energy production become more youthful.

A second study looked at the ability of bovine embryos to maintain normal growth and development under varying levels of heat stress. After disruptive stress was induced upon the embryos, astaxanthin was provided to the embryos, which recovered their normal function and growth pattern. Astaxanthin specifically localized with the mitochondria, rejuvenating normal energy production capability.

In a third study, Japanese researchers from the Department of Aging Control, Juntendo University, provided doses of either 6 mg or 12 mg per day of astaxanthin in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to test cognitive function in middle aged and elderly patients. Over a 12 week period both groups improved on learning tests, and the 12 mg per day group improved on cognitive testing. The researchers concluded that astaxanthin “improves cognitive function in the healthy aged individuals.” 

Of course, the brain requires efficient mitochondrial energy production in order to perform and is also helped by a reduction in free radical damage – two of the key mechanisms of astaxanthin benefit. Astaxanthin makes sense as part of an anti-aging nutritional program wherein a variety of nutrients help reduce free radical damage and excess inflammation while helping to improve the efficiency of energetic function.

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