Ever wonder what gives flamingos that adorable pink color? Or shrimp, crabs, lobsters or salmon for that matter? It’s what they’re eating; Haematococcus pluvialis to be exact. It is a freshwater green algae that when exposed to harmful conditions like harsh light, dehydration, or poor nutrition, it produces a ton of the carotenoid astaxanthin (which is blood red) to protect itself from UV radiation. So when the aforementioned animals eat this algae, they turn pinkish red, too. But what is so special about this gastronomical goo? It happens to be one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. This powerful pigment provides protection from free radicals - which destroy cells and cause us to age and die. This unique antioxidant fights off free radicals 6,000 times better than Vitamin C, 550 times higher than Vitamin E, and 40 times more than beta-carotene (a carotenoid found in carrots and bell peppers). Because free radicals basically can wreak havoc and create many opportunities for disease, something that smacks them down will help to prevent all those ailments so you can imagine the benefits of astaxanthin. Following are a few of our favs.
Various benefits for health have been recognized to date including boosts to the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys. Other benefits are anti-stress, anti-inflammation, and of course, enhanced skin health just to name a few. One human study published in 2012 showed that there was significant improvement in the skin when astaxanthin was applied topically and the participants also ingested 6mg per day. All layers of the skin showed improvement ranging from improvements in skin wrinkling, skin texture, age spots, moisture content, and elasticity.
And just like in that green algae, the pigment helps protect us from UV radiation and may decrease chances of getting burned. So now you must be wondering, “where do I score this super supplement?” Let us have the honors of informing you.