Astaxanthin is a super powerful antioxidant, the wonders of which we have previously purported. Research has linked it to healthier skin, heart health, joint pain improvement and now research is suggesting it may reduce depression and stress as well as improve memory in people with mild cognitive impairment.
Chronic inflammation encourages the onset of most chronic diseases
Extensive research during the last two decades has revealed the mechanism by which continued oxidative stress leads to chronic inflammation, which in turn, encourages the onset of most chronic diseases including neurodegeneration.
Carotenoids have gained scientific and commercial interest during the last decades, due to their huge chemical diversity (about 750 carotenoids have been characterised) and their strong beneficial effects on human health and well-being. These bio-active compounds exert antioxidant, repairing, anti-proliferative, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects.
Astaxanthin considered to be one of the strongest antioxidants in nature
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid with hugely powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, in fact its considered to be one of the strongest antioxidants in nature, due to its high scavenging potential of free radicals in the human body. This, combined with it's its unique chemical structure which allows it to readily cross the blood-brain barrier means its of particular interest to those researchers in the field of brain health.
Just recently Algae Health Sciences announced the publication of two human clinical trials using an Astaxanthin product called AstaZine on brain health.
Depression and fatigue
The trial focused on psychological mood state, i.e. depression and fatigue, while the second looked at memory and cognitive function.
The first study included 28 healthy subjects from 26 to 63 years of age whom were given a natural astaxanthin supplement over the course of 8 weeks. A control group were given a placebo.
By the end of the study the researchers were able to identify improvements in three critical markers including feelings of depression, mental fatigue and overall mood state (psychological well-being) - depression dropped by 57%, mental fatigue by 36% and 11% reported an increase in mood state. Further to this trends towards improvement in other mental health parameters such as tension, anger and mental confusion were also seen.
Memory and cognition
The second study looked at cognitive health in 22 subjects that were experiencing mild forgetfulness. Over a 12 week period the subjects were given Haematococcus pluvialis derived Astaxanthin in soft capsules while the placebo group were given safflower oil.
At the end of the study the treatment group showed a statistically significant improvement on two tests for cognitive function and memory compared to the placebo group. Composite memory increased by 22.3%, change in reasoning increased by 48.2% and subjective symptoms improved by 25%. The latter is assessed by questions such as 'During the last week or so have you had problems remembering the names of things?'
Due to the fact that we're all living longer, cognitive health will become more and more important to us - as we age it is natural to start worrying about the deterioration of our brains, eyes and vital organs. This means that people are increasingly looking for preventative ways to sail through their golden years with good mental health. Astaxanthin may provide one such way.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.