Astaxanthin, the World Strongest Antioxidant ever found
What is the strongest antioxidant?
By now almost everyone of us has heard about antioxidants and how important it is to have a certain amount of them in our diets. Antioxidants play a very important role in the day to day functions of our body, being responsible mainly to lead the fight that our organism has established with free-radicals, responsible for the aging of our organs and cells and also for some illnesses as cancer.
This should already give us a hint on the importance of having a regular intake of those ones, but do you know what's the world strongest antioxidant? We will give you a hint, its name is astaxanthin. Image: Alga rocks by Christopher Sessums under Creative Common license ((CC BY-SA 2.0)).
To answer the question "What is the strongest antioxidant?" we need to go a little bit deeper into Astaxanthin properties and characteristics.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid found in algae that exerts incredible antioxidant properties, among many others. But there are many fruits, herbs and other types of food rich in antioxidants. Among the herbs oregano ranks number one in content of antioxidants. Oregano has more than 40 times more anti-oxidative capacity than apples for example, and among fruits red beans and wild blueberries rank first in a long list of very healthy fruits that we all should have as part of our daily intake of healthy aliments.
But ok, all these fruits and herbs have what we could call "a considerably big amount of antioxidants", but what's the world's strongest antioxidant? which one is really ranking number one antioxidant? On this article we talk about astaxanthin, the strongest antioxidant ever found in the world, its potential beneficial effects and which are the natural occurring sources of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring antioxidant, the most powerful antioxidant ever been found. Astaxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid, a natural 'colorant' present in fungi, complex plants, microalgae (Haematococcus pluvialis), seafood (as salmon, lobster and shrimps), flamingos, and quail .
Oregano has 42 times more anti-oxidative capacity than apples, but nothing compared to the amount of antioxidants found in astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin can be extracted mostly from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis , Chlorella zofingiensis, Chlorococcum, and the red yeast Phaffia rhodozyma , but the highest amount of astaxanthin was found in the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis with up to 4-5% of cell dry weight .
In lobster, astaxanthin is found also in big quantities. We can easily notice the presence of astaxanthin antioxidant in lobster after boiling it, moment on which the beta-crustacyanin protein that hides astaxanthin is dissociated and let us see the characteristic orange color of boiled lobster that we all like.
Several studies refer to possible potential use of astaxanthin for the treatment of progressive neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson's disease .
After the analysis of the numerous studies and clinical trials done on the use of astaxanthin, it seems that the most evident potential use of this powerful antioxidant will be the treatment in future of cardiovascular disease.
ASTAXANTHIN FOR THE TREATMENT OF MENOPAUSE
In another study, astaxanthin was used in combination with calcium, vitamin D3, lycopene , and Citrus bioflavoid (in a commercial medicine named MF Afragil®). It was administered for a period of 8 weeks to 65 women to determine its effects in reducing signs/symptoms of climacteric status . The results of this study show the potential use of astaxanthin in combination with the other elements, for the treatment of menopause symptoms.
OTHER CLINICAL TRIALS USING ASTAXANTHIN
There are already clinical trials and scientific studies on the effects of astaxanthin on overweight and obese adults , however those are considerably less in number and detail than the ones done with the same antioxidant on the subject of cardiovascular disease.
EUROPEAN REGULATION ON PREPARATIONS CONTAINING ASTAXANTHIN
The European Food Safety Authority (the Authority) concluded in its opinion of 18 September 2007 that that preparation of dried killed cells of red carotenoid-rich bacterium Paracoccus carotinifaciens (NITE SD 00017) does not have an adverse effect on animal health, human health or the environment and that it favourably affects the characteristics of animal products . One of its Active substances is Astaxanthin . This was reported on the Commission Regulation (EC) No 721/2008 of 25 July 2008 concerning the authorization of a preparation of red carotenoid-rich bacterium Paracoccus carotinifaciens as a feed additive.
ASTAXANTHIN IN FERTILITY TREATMENTS
This is the less documented use of astaxanthin as we could only find one case in which astaxanthin was studied on rat models and the results study suggested that astaxanthin had a positive effect on sperm parameters and fertility but that the results needed to be confirmed in lager trials, with which it is not certainly sure what will be the effect on this case.
 Astaxanthin: a potential therapeutic agent in cardiovascular disease. Fassett RG, Coombes JS. Renal Research Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital and The University of Queensland School of Medicine, Level 9 Ned Hanlon Building, Butterfield Street, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia.
 Effects of Astaxanthin on Oxidative Stress in Overweight and Obese Adults. Choi HD, Kim JH, Chang MJ, Kyu-Youn Y, Shin WG. College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Seoul National University, San 56-1, Sillim-Dong, Gwanak-Gu, Seoul, 151-742, South Korea.
 Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) on a request from the European Commission on safety and efficacy of Panaferd-AX (red carotenoid-rich bacterium Paracoccus carotinifaciens) as feed additive for salmon and trout. The EFSA Journal (2007) 546, p. 1-30.
 Commission Regulation (EC) No 721/2008 from 25 july 2008 concerning the authorisation of a preparation of red carotenoid-rich bacterium Paracoccus carotinifaciens as a feed additive.
 Potential health-promoting effects of astaxanthin: a high-value carotenoid mostly from microalgae. Yuan JP, Peng J, Yin K, Wang JH. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Marine Resources and Coastal Engineering, School of Marine Sciences, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, PR China.
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 Astaxanthin protects against MPTP/MPP+-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS production in vivo and in vitro. Lee DH, Kim CS, Lee YJ. Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
 MF Afragil® in the treatment of 34 menopause symptoms: a pilot study. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Cornelli U, Dugall M. Irvine3 Labs, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Chieti-Pescara University, Pescara, Italy.
 conventional/antioxidant "Astaxanthin" treatment for male infertility: a double blind, randomized trial. Comhaire FH, El Garem Y, Mahmoud A, Eertmans F, Schoonjans F. Ghent University Hospital, Department of Medical and Urological Andrology, 9k12 IE, De Pintelaan, 185, B 9000, Gent, Belgium.
 Antioxidant activity and phenolic compounds in selected herbs.
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Fruit Laboratory, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland 20705, USA.
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