Daily supplementation with astaxanthin may improve the health of facial skin in middle-aged subjects, suggests research from scientists in the UK and Russia.
The study involved 17 men and 14 women over the age of 40 and results of the research were published in the journal Nutrition Research. It was found that 4 weeks of supplementation with daily astaxanthin (at a dose of 4mg) reduced markers of oxidative stress by over 20% in facial skin.
Results also found that astaxanthin significantly reduced peeling of the outermost layer of the skin and levels of bacteria on the skin - these are both characteristics of older facial skin.
The researchers wrote:
"By demonstrating that continuous consumption of astaxanthin for only four weeks results in RSSC (residual skin surface components) changes consistent with the reversal of the ageing process we have successfully confirmed our hypothesis, which can thus be accepted."
"The results also demonstrate that morphological investigation of the RSSC is a useful tool for assessing skin-targeting effects of dietary factors. Although we strongly believe that these findings are very useful for developing new approaches to skin ageing prevention, larger studies are needed for further characterising the described phenomena."
Dr Mark Miller, commented independently on the study's findings by saying:
"Skin is lipidic in nature, indeed which is an important component of its barrier function. Therefore, it's reasonable to hypothesize that a lipid soluble antioxidant, in this case the carotenoid astaxanthin, would provide protective benefits. This study delivers additional information to the beauty field where it is clear that astaxanthin's features, namely a profoundly potent free radical scavenger and its lipid solubility, make it an ideal approach to managing skin health.
"The limitations of the study centre on it's lack of a placebo control, but the sequential analyses over 29 days helps address that. Astaxanthin clearly reduced oxidative stress, determined systematically. Associated with that were the structural changes to the skin morphology that are consistent with an action that reflects a restoration of a more youthful structure and form, and in both males and females."
Astaxanthin is thought to be one of the most powerful antioxidants - Just Vitamins' Astaxanthin is naturally-sourced from the microalgae haematococcus pluvialis, the primary natural source for astaxanthin with far greater levels than salmon, krill and the arctic shrimp. In its raw form the algae can double its population in a week which makes this a sustainable source of the supplement. It is extracted by supercritical CO2 extraction technology, so it does not contain any solvent residues and is encapsulated in extra virgin olive oil to preserve it.