THE PROTECTIVE role of antioxidants has been well documented but we are only just realising the benefits of one of the most potent yet – Astaxanthin a pinkish-red carotenoid.
While most other well-known carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, are derived from plant sources, astaxanthin comes from marine sources – primarily from micro-algae. In fact, its distinctive pigment is thought to be responsible for the pinkish – red colouration of salmon and flamingoes. Iliere has even been a theory that this pink pigmentation is nature’s way of protecting flamingoes from predators by camouflaging them at sunrise and sunset – their mast vulnerable eating times.
A German study showed that beta-carotene plus sunscreen was more effective at protecting against sunburn than sunscreen alone. With some in the group receiving 30mg beta carotene and others a placebo, the results showed that the beta carotene group had less skin redness than the placebo group.
Astaxanthin is considered to be 80-550 times more potent than vitamin E and 10 times more potent than beta-carotene as an antioxidant and in studies it has shown great potential in protecting both the eyes and skin from degenerative damage caused by UV light. Astaxanthin will also help neutralize free radicals, thus protecting the skin’s cell structure making it helpful in slowing down the effects of ageing.