What you need to know about Nature’s strongest antioxidant – Astaxanthin

Written by

Puneet Gupta

“If I were asked to take just one supplement for the rest of my life, it would be Astaxanthin”, said Malin Petersson, co-founder, Näck.

Described as the strongest natural antioxidant known to science, Astaxanthin has gained curiosity among leading nutritionists and is one of the most sought-after antioxidant supplements right now- and with good reason. It’s not only an antioxidant powerhouse with potent anti-inflammatory properties, but also provides plenty of other health benefits for the whole body.

This forthright in-conversation with Malin gives us more insight about the king of carotenoids!

What Made Näck Choose Astaxanthin As Their Key Dietary Supplement? 

I believe that the key to gain your consumer’s trust is by providing sound evidence for the product claims. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misleading communication and sometimes even false product and health claims within our industry. This is of course totally unacceptable, and also highly unnecessary if you ask me. Why make up miracles, when the truth is good enough? A key criterion for us at Näck when we select active ingredients for our product formulations is that it needs to be backed by science. There needs to be evidence-based benefits proven by clinical research and human trials.

Today there exist over 400+ peer reviewed studies on Astaxanthin and over hundred human clinical trials have been conducted which have proven the extensive and diverse health benefits of Astaxanthin. It has also been tested head-to-head in many experiments on antioxidant strength against several other carotenoids and antioxidants; it has consistently come out as the very strongest of them all.

When compared with Vitamin E and Vitamin C, Astaxanthin has been shown to be 550X to 6000X more potent! With these astonishing results and rigid research, Astaxanthin was chosen as the key active ingredients for our launch product, Immunity Boost. Another aspect about research around Astaxanthin which is close to my heart is the strong links to Uppsala University, Sweden where I am an alumna. It is one of the most renowned institutions in the world for medicine and biological studies.

The research breakthrough at the laboratories in Uppsala around the beginning of the 90’s made it possible for the first commercial production of natural Astaxanthin by the Swedish company Asta Real AB. Asta Real is today a world leader in Natural Astaxanthin cultivation, and it was a clear choice for us when we decided our supply partner. Hence the natural Astaxanthin used in our Immunity Boost is grown in Sweden by Asta Real.

But What Is Actually Astaxanthin And Where Do We Find It In Nature? 

The richest source of natural astaxanthin in nature is Haematococcus pluvialis, a microalgae and natural carotenoid that can be found in artic marine environment and common freshwater rock pools across the world. The microalgae from which Astaxanthin is primarily extracted is initially green.

But whenever it experiences stress due to external factors such as increased light or lack of nutrients, it accumulates Astaxanthin to sustain itself which also turns it red. Since the microalgae is a source of nutrients for the marine animals, Astaxanthin is what gives the pink and red colour to salmon, shrimp and lobster as well as birds, such as flamingos which eats them.

What you need to know about Nature’s strongest antioxidant

Astaxanthin is the most powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory known to science until this moment. Put simply, antioxidants are molecules which hampers the oxidation ( break down) of the cells. They do this by neutralizing free radicals, and hence provide protection against the damaging effect of these free radicals, which if not balanced leads to oxidation of the cells. 

What makes Astaxanthin so powerful? Well, it is due to its unique molecular structure which allows it to quench free radicals in both the water and fat loving zone of the cell membrane. For reference, most antioxidants work either in the inner (Vitamin E and Beta Carotene) or outer (Vitamin C) side of the membrane, whereas Astaxanthin can provide the cell all-around protection. 

What Are The Benefits Of Astaxanthin, How Long Until The Results Can Be Experienced? 

Astaxanthin has demonstrated the ability to protect our cells and the DNA within our cells from oxidation and inflammation. Due to these foundational properties, natural Astaxanthin has various health benefits for more or less the whole body. 

If we start with immunity, numerous clinical studies have been conducted which conclude that Astaxanthin improves several blood immune markers and enhances our immune response. Supplementation of 2 mg of Astaxanthin for 8 weeks has shown to increase the antibody production, hence providing our immune system with the fuel it needs to fight off disease.

In addition, Astaxanthin is a proven anti-inflammatory. The marker used to measure how much silent (systematic) inflammation is occurring in a person’s body is called C-reactive protein (CRP). Even though silent inflammation does not cause any pain it has been singled out as one of the leading causes of many serious diseases.

Research shows that even a low dose of 2mg Astaxanthin supplementation per day decreases CRP levels after eight weeks of supplementation in healthy subjects. 
Astaxanthin has also got a lot of attention for its ability to improve the appearance, quality and health of our skin. It is commonly recognized as a natural anti-aging and beauty from within supplement.

Research shows that a daily consumption of 4 mg Astaxanthin over a period of 2 months improves skin elasticity, moisture and reduces visible signs of aging. Furthermore when Astaxanthin has had time to accumulate in the skin, it has also demonstrated a protective effect against UV light exposure as well as sunburn.

Astaxanthin anti inflammatory

Astaxanthin has also proven very beneficial for active people. Several studies with 4mg dosage across 1-2 months have been conducted on Astaxanthins ability to reduce joint and muscle soreness after exercise with positive and consistent outcomes. 

Researchers attribute these findings to Astaxanthins anti-inflammatory benefits and its ability to protect cell membrane against free radicals which are generated during exercise, thus preserving the functionality of muscle cells. 

In addition, Astaxanthin has been clinically proven to increase strength and endurance in healthy subjects. One very interesting and extensive study worth noting in this regard is a 6 month long clinical study conducted in Sweden by lead researcher Dr. Kurt Malmsten.

The subjects, healthy young males, took 4 mg of Astaxanthin per day in conjunction with an exercise program which included doing deep knee bends to exhaustion after a warmup period. After 6 months the results showed an increase in strength and endurance by 62%. The placebo group also showed improvement of 22% which is normal for young people participating in sports and exercise activities over a 6-month period.

However what is interesting and what really counts is the relationship between the two groups tested. Strength and endurance increased three times faster in the men taking Astaxanthin as compared to the placebo group.

astaxanthin increases strength endurance

If you are as interested in clinical research as myself, I suggest a visit to our research library. There you will find the results of the studies I’m referring to now and even more evidence-based benefits of Astaxanthin to dig in to.

Read more about the Naked research 

What Made Näck Prefer A Vegan Capsule For Its Immunity Boost? 

Dietary supplement capsules are commonly made out of bovine or porcine gelatin, which is derived from animals. At Näck we make these capsules out of starch which makes our product 100% vegan. As a company we are careful about our environmental impact and if a vegan alternative exists, that is what we will always use.

Is Astaxanthin Safe To Consume By Everyone, And What Is The Recommended Dosage?

Astaxanthin is safe to consume by everyone. However, if you are pregnant, lactating or suffering from any chronic disease you should always consult your doctor before taking any supplements. 

We do not recommend Astaxanthin for children as there have not been any long-term studies conducted for this age group. With regard to dose, most clinical research on safety and efficacy with Astaxanthin has been done with doses ranging from 2mg-12mg per day. The general consensus among researchers involved with natural Astaxanthin is that people derive excellent overall health benefits within this range. Immunity Boost by Näck provides 4mg per capsule.

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