Article by Dr Mercola
By now, I believe everyone interested in natural health has heard of antioxidants and their health benefits.*
But just like many things the mainstream media and consumer marketers latch onto these days, antioxidants have become a buzz word for selling hype and added profits.
That’s not to say that many foods and supplements don’t contain some antioxidant properties.
But there are bigger questions to be asked when it comes to antioxidants.
For instance, how powerful is the antioxidant in question? If you consume foods with low antioxidant levels (antioxidant capacity is not always identified by marketers), you might need to eat massive amounts to have any effect on those pesky free radicals.
On the other hand, if you consume foods and supplements with highly concentrated amounts of antioxidants, you won’t need to consume as much and you have a better chance of protecting yourself from free radical damage.*
You should know…
How Two Different Types of Antioxidants Work Together
to Neutralize Free Radicals*
Antioxidants are generally classified into two broad categories…water-soluble (hydrophilic) and lipid-soluble (hydrophobic).
Your body needs both types of antioxidants because each one targets different types of cells and tissues for free radical scavenging…
Water-soluble antioxidants – These are present in aqueous fluids, such as blood and intracellular and extracellular fluids. They react with oxidants in the cell cytosol (fluid portion of cytoplasm) and the blood plasma. Examples of water-soluble antioxidants include… vitamin C, glutathione, and catechins.
Lipid-soluble antioxidants – These are localized to cellular membranes and lipoproteins. They protect cell membranes from lipid peroxidation.* Examples of lipid-soluble antioxidants include… vitamins E, A, and beta-carotene.
The bottom line… to fight and help neutralize pesky free radicals, you need both types of antioxidants from as many sources as possible.* When taken together, the efficacy of water- and lipid-soluble antioxidants is enhanced even more.
For a water-soluble antioxidant, I strongly recommend Purple Defense with resveratrol. You can check out my site (Dr Mercola) for more details on this extraordinary formula.
And when it comes to lipid-soluble antioxidants, I believe I’ve identified–An Antioxidant Like No Other!
Astaxanthin increases your stamina*
Up until now, this super-nutrient has not received the attention and notoriety I believe it deserves.
What if you could…
Support your brain and nervous system protection from free radicals?
Promote your joint and skeletal system health?
And if you’re an athlete, or even a weekend warrior, what if you could…
Help improve your strength and stamina?
Improve your endurance?
Enable faster recovery from exercise?
Reduce joint and muscle soreness after a vigorous workout?
Something you might be interested in, but sounds almost too good to be true?
There is a super-antioxidant nutrient that can help you do all this… and more. And it’s not just based on ‘hearsay.’ Studies have researched the solid benefits of this powerful lipid-soluble antioxidant.
What Makes Pink Flamingos Pink?
Many people aren’t aware that baby flamingos are born white. They only obtain their pink color once they eat food that is loaded with astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin belongs to a class of naturally-occurring pigments called carotenoids.
So, what are carotenoids?
Carotenoids are the compounds in your food that provide…
Brilliant colors from…
Beautifully-green sea grasses to…
Stunning red beets to…
Spectacular yellow bell peppers… that possess…
Potent antioxidant properties
Even though there are more than 700 naturally-occurring carotenoids, most people are probably only familiar with a few and the most common one is beta-carotene.
Where Do Carotenoids Come From?
Salmon is a rich source of Astaxanthin
Many carotenoids may be easily obtained simply by eating a good diet rich in fresh organic produce. However, the carotenoid that possesses the super lipid-soluble antioxidant I’m referring to is challenging to come by.
In fact, there are only 2 known sources…
A very unique source of microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis and…
Sea creatures (salmon, and krill, for example) that consume the microalgae
To take advantage of this powerful antioxidant the way salmon do, you would need to find and consume the type of microalgae identified above (highly unlikely), or eat a healthy supply of salmon itself.
The challenge with salmon is to get adequate amounts of the antioxidant, either expensive sockeye salmon needs to be consumed, or large amounts of other types of salmon (almost 2 pounds of Atlantic salmon).
Additionally, even if it’s wild salmon, there are always concerns with mercury and other heavy metal content.
I have a much more practical solution for you to get adequate amounts of this super-antioxidant artillery… coming up.
How to Help Maintain Healthy Function of this Vital Bodily Process
There’s a vital biological process that occurs inside your body every day.
In many cases, this biological process, known better as your immune system function, is a very beneficial system that helps support your health.
But, just like anything else, too much of a good thing is not always good. When immune system mediators triggered by this process occasionally get out of control, it could affect your overall health.
Thus, it’s important to help maintain your immune response at a healthy level.
Five of the most effective things I recommend you do to help promote a healthy immune response are…
Eat a healthy organic diet based on your Nutritional Type (NT)
Exercise regularly to help control your weight
Avoid vitamin D deficiency
Keep your stress levels in check
Plus, there is one more thing I believe you can do to help support your immune system… and that’s to consume the carotenoid and super-antioxidant called astaxanthin.
I am so convinced of this that I have been consuming astaxanthin every day since I first learned of it.
And here’s how astaxanthin can help give your stamina a boost…
An Athlete’s Secret Weapon?
If you’ve taken my advice on using different types of exercise as key elements in an overall health and fitness plan, you know how you can occasionally have aches and soreness after a good workout.
Astaxanthin helps improve stamina and endurance
Well, as an athlete, or even a weekend warrior, astaxanthin can potentially…
Help increase strength and improve your overall stamina and endurance
Enable quicker recovery after your workouts
Reduce your joint and muscle soreness caused by vigorous exercise
So, how does astaxanthin potentially enhance your endurance and recovery?
One key area astaxanthin has a positive effect is on your mitochondria.
Mitochondria are little intracellular powerhouses within your body. They produce up to 95% of your body’s energy.
So, it should not be surprising mitochondria are found in your muscle tissue.
That’s where you have one of the greatest demands for intense bursts of energy.
But there is a downside to this energy-producing activity… it can generate highly reactive free radicals.
These free radicals can damage your cell membranes. The more strenuous the workout, the more free radicals you produce. The bottom line… you can end up with tired and sore muscles.
And that’s where astaxanthin comes in.
As a powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin has been shown to effectively scavenge free radicals from muscle tissue and help reduce singlet oxygen (particular type of ‘bad’ oxidation)
This is how astaxanthin can potentially give your strength, stamina, and endurance a healthful boost.
So, how does astaxanthin stack up against other nutrients rich with antioxidants?
How Does this Astaxanthin Compare to Other Antioxidants?
ORAC ChartThere are many properties that make this super-carotenoid unique.
Astaxanthin compares astoundingly well to other nutrients and powerful lipid-soluble antioxidants when it comes to free radical scavenging and neutralizing singlet oxygen.
When it comes to free radical scavenging, astaxanthin can be as much as…
65 times more powerful than vitamin C
54 times stronger than beta-carotene
Plus, astaxanthin has been shown to be more effective than other carotenoids and other nutrients at ‘singlet oxygen quenching’ by being up to…
800 times stronger than CoQ10
6000 times greater than vitamin C
550 times more powerful than green tea catechins
11 times stronger than beta-carotene
Astaxanthin was even found to be as much as 2.75 stronger than lutein with regard to singlet oxygen quenching.
Pretty amazing antioxidant… wouldn’t you agree?*
The above comparisons have been made against some incredible nutrients in their own right. Yet, astaxanthin blows them away when it comes down to effective free radical scavenging and singlet oxygen quenching.
And here’s even more on how astaxanthin is potentially so effective…
Able to cross the blood-brain barrier (beta-carotene and some others don’t do this)
Protects your brain and nervous system from oxidative stress
Any questions why I’m simply amazed by this super-antioxidant? To date, I’ve never seen anything like it.
So, all you have to do is run out to your local health store or vitamin shop to pick up this extraordinary nutrient.
Well, it’s not that simple and there are some warnings and issues you should be aware of…
Warning: Make Sure You Get the REAL Deal
Astaxanthin in Pacific Salmon
Like all nutrients, you need to be on the lookout for synthetic varieties and, in my opinion, try to avoid them.
Fortunately with astaxanthin, this is not as much an issue with supplements. How so? Well, that I’m aware of, synthetic astaxanthin is not used in any supplements for consumption by human beings.
This is the good news…
The bad news is synthetic astaxanthin is still most commonly found in animal feeds. So, if you believe you’re eating healthy by consuming salmon, but the salmon is not ‘wild’ or ‘naturally colored,’ there’s a good chance you’re consuming synthetic astaxanthin indirectly.
So, what’s so bad about that?
Well, the majority of synthetic astaxanthin is produced from highly-processed petrochemicals. That means you could be consuming some forms of synthetic chemicals if you eat farmed salmon.
See, fish farmers need a way to color the salmon so they look fresh (attractive pinkish-orange-red color).
That’s where synthetic astaxanthin fits the bill. Some aquaculture companies are considering using astaxanthin because it’s healthier for the salmon and has superior pigmentation advantages. There’s only one main barrier preventing most from doing this… it costs more.
So, when buying salmon, I recommend you make sure to find wild Pacific salmon because it contains astaxanthin that is…
20 times stronger than synthetic astaxanthin
400% higher in quantity than farmed salmon. Not synthetic.
But even if you can afford (very expensive) and find genuine wild Pacific salmon, there still is a risk of high levels of mercury and other unwanted toxins.
Plus, you’d have to eat several ounces every single day to get the same dose of astaxanthin that is present in the supplement I’ll be introducing to you next…
So, what, in my opinion, is the best way to get astaxanthin?
Why Supplementation May Be One of Your Best Approaches
To me, one of the best ways to get astaxanthin is through supplementation. Don’t get me wrong, wild Pacific salmon is an excellent alternative.
But as a reminder and due to the following, consuming wild Pacific salmon (particularly, sockeye) might not be completely practical because…
Wild Pacific salmon is expensive for most people
You’d have to eat approximately 3-4 ounces per day, every day, to get the approximate equivalent of 4mg of an astaxanthin supplement
Wild salmon may contain mercury and other risky heavy metals
You may already have recognized the name ‘astaxanthin,’ because I’ve mentioned it before on my site in reference to krill oil, my favorite source of animal-based omega-3 fatty acids.
Well, even with my Krill Oil having one of the highest concentrations of astaxanthin on the market today, new research shows you can benefit from even higher amounts. And that’s why I recommend an astaxanthin supplement.*
So, with all this said, here’s my recommendations on what to Look for in a Natural Formula
I’ve already reviewed above some of the potential pitfalls with some of the sources of astaxanthin.
Here’s a simple list of factors that I recommend you consider when finding a supplement
Make sure the astaxanthin formula is created from marine microalgae and not some form of fungus, or some other less effective form.
Due to the fact astaxanthin is best absorbed when taken with a ‘fatty’ meal (lipid-soluble), look for a formula that contains some sort of oil or fatty acid that will help maximize your absorption. Without this additional ingredient, your absorption could be less than optimal.
Don’t just settle for what’s necessarily on the label of the bottle. Dig deeper into finding out more info on how the manufacturer guarantees stability and efficacy of the formula.
In addition, make sure the manufacturer can provide solid evidence they don’t use chemical solvents or preservatives in their formulation processes.
Due to new research, most recommendations for daily dosages of astaxanthin can now range from 4-8mg. So, look for at least a 4mg minimum serving size so you won’t have to take as many capsules.
As you know, krill oil does contain astaxanthin (my formula = 600 mcg per serving). But due to recent research, I recommend you consider a separate astaxanthin supplement to complement krill oil.
For more information on Dr Mercola’s astaxanthin supplement, go to his website.