We hear a lot these days about free radicals and antioxidants and sun protection, and with good reason!
Cellular health is the foundation of looking and feeling younger and sun protection is a critical measure to protect cellular health. Wearing sunblock everyday (even cloudy days!), eating nutrient-dense vegetables and fruit, and drinking lots of water all function to protect your cellular health, but there’s even more you can to protect and even improve your health, on the cellular level.
Astaxanthin is one of the world’s most powerful antioxidants (called a carotenoid), found in microalgae and other plants. These organisms produce astaxanthin in response to conditions such as high UVA and UVB rays, where it protects against sun damage and free radicals; it’s kind of like sunblock for plants! Great for the plants, but also great for those of us who consume this antioxidant.
Just like the sunblock we use, not just any old astaxanthin will do. BeautyFul uses only AstaPure® astaxanthin as it has been specially curated to be super bioavailable and of the highest purity and quality available.1
As our cells begin to oxidize, certain structures within the cells (namely the cell membrane and mitochondria) begin to breakdown.
Astaxanthin helps to keep cells from oxidative stress by protecting the cell membranes healthy and strong. Astaxanthin has unique abilities to protect cell membranes from free radical damage and to thereby stabilize them, even compared to other carotenoids (like beta-carotene, lutein, etc.) and protects mitochondria from oxidation.2-6
Sounds exciting, right? But what does all this cellular talk really mean?
Essentially it means that astaxanthin helps to keep our cells healthy by behaving like fresh, young cells in two ways: by fighting off those things that damage our cells (free radicals) and by helping to keep our cells strong (by stabilizing cell membranes and the mighty mitochondria- our cells’ energy source). But now let’s talk about visible proof of this amazing little antioxidant!
Photoaging (signs of aging resulting from sun and environmental damage), is one of the most common changes in the skin. When we’re exposed to UV rays, the skin produces free radicals and the natural collagen in the skin decreases. We see signs of photoaging in sunspots, wrinkles, and dull, saggy skin. However, because astaxanthin is such a potent antioxidant, several studies have shown that it actually improves skin’s moisture and elasticity, while decreasing fine lines and age spots.7-8
Astaxanthin’s amazing ability to protect our cells against free radical damage like UV damage is definitely not a reason to skip the sunblock, but it’s certainly a potent tool to keep your skin looking young and fresh.
- Sharoni Y, Estimated absorption of astaxanthin in the digestive tract via the plasma triglycerides route (TRL), Algatechnologies internal report, 2011.
- McNulty HP, Byun J, Lockwood SF, Jacob RF, Mason RP. Differential effects of carotenoids on lipid peroxidation due to membrane interactions: X-ray diffraction analysis. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Jan;1768(1):167-74. (ref)
- McNulty HP, Jacob RF, Mason RP. Biologic activity of carotenoids related to distinct membrane physicochemical interactions. Am J Cardiol. 2008 May 22;101(10A):20D-29D. (ref)
- Nishigaki I, Rajendran P, Venugopal R, Ekambaram G, Sakthisekaran D, Nishigaki Y. Cytoprotective role of astaxanthin against glycated protein/iron chelate-induced toxicity in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Phytother Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):54-9. (ref)
- Bolin AP, Macedo RC, Marin DP, Barros MP, Otton R. Astaxanthin prevents in vitro auto-oxidative injury in human lymphocytes. Cell Biol Toxicol. 2010 Oct;26(5):457-67. (ref)
- Wolf AM, Asoh S, Hiranuma H, Ohsawa I, Iio K, Satou A, Ishikura M, Ohta S. Astaxanthin protects mitochondrial redox state and functional integrity against oxidative stress. J Nutr Biochem. 2010 May;21(5):381-9. (ref)
- Yamashita E. The Effects of a Dietary Supplement Containing Astaxanthin on Skin Condition. Carotenoid Science 2006;10:91-95. (ref)
- Yoon HS, Cho HH, Cho S, Lee SR, Shin MH, Chung JH. Supplementation with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo. J Med Food. 2014 Jul;17(7):810-6.