Astaxanthin: Or Why I'd Eat a Flamingo
Jimmy Mengel and I took to the skies this week for Natural Products Expo West, the leading (and largest) trade show in the natural, organic, and health products industry. Held annually in sunny Anaheim, California, Expo West draws more than 3,000 exhibitors and 70,000 attendees.
It's the ultimate health hub, where industry professionals gather to discuss the latest strides in medical science, the top health trends, and the hottest natural products and supplements.
Now, I've been to Expo East the past few years running (held annually in Baltimore, Maryland close to Health Wire's headquarters), but this is my first time attending Expo West. Needless to say, I'm excited... but what I'm most excited about might surprise you.
It's not coastal California's legendary weather, its sea breezes, or even the sheer amount of free samples and products handed out to the press (though these things make for a pretty exciting package)...
No, it's because this year Expo West is featuring a seminar about an ultra-antioxidant called astaxanthin...
And because of astaxanthin, I would eat a flamingo if given the opportunity. (Not only are they common grub in places like Dubai, but I hear they're quite tasty).
Now, let me back up a step...
Did you know that baby flamingos are actually gleaming white?
It's only as they eat their astaxanthin-rich diet that they turn pink. Astaxanthin-content is also what gives wild salmon their trademark pink hue.
You see, astaxanthin originates in a single strain of microalgae, and then it moves up the food chain to sea creatures like krill, shrimp, and salmon — and finally to flamingos once they feast on these astaxanthin-filled critters.
Astaxanthin is also the most powerful antioxidant known to man.
This week at Expo West, they're going to be disclosing the latest science and medical studies about this incredible compound — and that, my friends, is why I'm so excited.
King of Antioxidants
Here's a taste of what we already know about this antioxidant superhero:
- Astaxanthin is 6,000 times more powerful than vitamin C
- It's 800 times stronger than CoQ10
- It's 550 times more potent than green tea catechins
- It's antioxidant punch is 75 times greater than alpha lipoic acid 1
Keep in mind, as health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola points out, the above comparisons have astaxanthin going head to head against “some incredible nutrients in their own right. Yet, astaxanthin blows them away when it comes down to effective free radical scavenging and singlet oxygen quenching.” 2
It's also important to note that most antioxidants can only handle fighting one free radical at a time. Astaxanthin's been shown to tackle multiple free radicals simultaneously — in some cases as many as 19 at once. 3
Not only is astaxanthin an antioxidant powerhouse, it's also been proven to protect skin from UV damage, to support eye health, and to help fight inflammation, cancer, and heart disease.
“Studies have shown that it improves blood flow and decreases blood pressure,” says Dr. Gerald Cysewski, the world's leading microalgae researcher. 4
“It's very beneficial to your heart's mitochondria membranes, [and] can have a positive effect on blood chemistry, increasing HDL (the good cholesterol), and decreasing triglycerides.”
On top of all that, it also increases energy levels and promotes endurance. In fact, some scientists believe the high concentration of astaxanthin found in salmon muscles is precisely what “helps provide the endurance these remarkable animals need to swim upstream.” 5
Basically, astaxanthin's a whole medicine chest packed into one tiny compound, with an energy boost to boot. Hopefully by now you've caught some of my excitement...
Stay tuned — we'll be bringing you updates from the road and the best health insights and info once we're home — including a follow up on astaxanthin.
1 Nishida Y. et. al, Quenching Activities of Common Hydrophilic and Lipophilic Antioxidants against Singlet Oxygen Using Chemiluminescence Detection System. Carotenoid Science 11:16-20 (2007)