What if you could increase your strength and stamina, decrease your post-exertion recovery time and decrease soreness after physical activity?
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
There just happens to be a natural compound that clinical studies are proving helps do just that—without a big price tag and without side effects.
It’s a little-known carotenoid called astaxanthin, which is now believed to be the most potent antioxidant nature has to offer.
Scientists long ago discovered that a class of naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids held powerful antioxidant properties that are crucial for your health. Carotenoids are the compounds in your foods that give you that vibrant cornucopia of color—from green grasses to red beets, to the spectacular yellows and oranges of your bell peppers.
There are more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids, but most people are familiar with only a few. Right now, you probably have about 10 different carotenoids circulating through your bloodstream. The most well-known is beta-carotene.
Only recently has astaxanthin jumped to the front of the line in terms of its status as a “supernutrient,” becoming the focus of a large and growing number of peer-reviewed scientific studies.
One of the benefits of astaxanthin that has piqued the interest of researchers is its ability to enhance athletic performance. Whether you are an elite athlete or just interested in increasing your tolerance for yard work, this carotenoid can help.
Astaxanthin’s benefits to your health do not stop there—in fact, so many benefits that I’ve had to write several articles just to cover the jaw-dropping activities of this amazing nutrient. Many carotenoids are easily obtainable through a good diet rich in fresh organic produce. However, this powerful carotenoid is harder to come by.
Natural Astaxanthin Is In a League of Its Own
Natural astaxanthin is produced only by the microalgae Haematoccous pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation. It’s the algae’s survival mechanism—astaxanthin serves as a “force field” to protect the algae from lack of nutrition and/or intense sunlight.
There are only two main sources of natural astaxanthin—the microalgae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill).
Synthetic (laboratory-made) astaxanthin is now commonly used worldwide to supplement fish feeds in order to obtain the desired pinkish to orange-red color. You really should avoid synthetic astaxanthin because it’s made from petrochemicals.
Astaxanthin is the main reason salmon have the strength and endurance to swim up rivers and waterfalls for days on end—their diets are high in this pigment, which concentrates in their muscles and makes them one of the “kings of endurance” of the animal kingdom. This pigment is the most commonly occurring red carotenoid in marine and aquatic animals and is what gives salmon their characteristic pink color.
Astaxanthin is far more potent than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene and lutein, other members of its chemical family. It exhibits very strong free radical scavenging activity and protects your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage.
Astaxanthin‘s unique “antioxidative artillery” provides for an impressive array of health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, stabilizing blood sugar, boosting your immune system, fighting cancer, reducing inflammation, improving eye health—and even helping protect you from sunburn.