Antioxidants like astaxanthin help to counteract the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS), or free radicals, promoting a healthy oxidative balance. While the body does produce its own antioxidants to keep ROS under control, this natural defense system grows weaker as individuals age and may also be compromised due to certain nutritional and lifestyle choices.
Due to its ability to fight free radicals, astaxanthin can play an important role in support of cardiovascular health. Astaxanthin is regarded as one of the most powerful natural antioxidants known—it is 6,000 times more powerful than Vitamin C, 100 times more powerful than Vitamin E and five times more powerful than beta-carotene in its ability to trap energy from free radicals such as singlet oxygen.10
The damage caused by ROS is called oxidative stress and is a key contributor to cardiovascular disease (CVD).3 In particular, oxidative stress has emerged as a common mechanism in atherosclerosis,5 a disease in which plaque builds up inside blood vessels.
Astaxanthin also offers support for cardiovascular health in that its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties can significantly shorten blood transit times.1,2 Several studies have also indicated its potential to lower blood pressure.3
Like oxidation, inflammation is an established process contributing to CVD.3 In both in-vitro and animal studies, astaxanthin has been shown to reduce markers of inflammation.3 A 2013 study on human vein cells found that astaxanthin inhibits the production of the inflammatory biomarkers involved in endothelial dysfunction and CVD.4
Every year, disorders of the heart and blood vessels take the lives of 17.7 million people, accounting for a staggering 31 percent of all global deaths.6 Many consumers want to take preventative measures and are looking for dietary supplements with proven benefits for cardiovascular health. In the past three consumer surveys conducted by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), heart health ranked sixth or higher among the reasons why Americans take supplements.7,8,9
In formulating supplements for supporting heart health, astaxanthin is a key ingredient to consider. Studies continue to consistently indicate positive results for astaxanthin’s ability to reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, as well as providing additional heart health benefits such as improved blood flow. Furthermore, it is safe, natural and can be sustainably produced.
1 Saito et al. (2012). “Astaxanthin increases choroidal blood flow velocity.” Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol
2 Miyawaki H et al. (2008). “Effects of astaxanthin on human blood.” J Clin Biochem Nutr. 43(2):69-74.
3 Visioli, F and Artaria, C. (2017) “Astaxanthin in cardiovascular health and disease: mechanisms of action, therapeutic merits, and knowledge gaps.” Food Funct. 2017 8, 39
4 Chew, W et al. (2013). “Astaxanthin Decreases Inflammatory Biomarkers Associated with Cardiovascular Disease in Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells”. Am Jnl of Adv. Food Science and Technology 1:1-17
5 Kattoor A.J., Pothineni N.V.K., Palagiri D., Mehta J.L. (2017). “Oxidative Stress in Atherosclerosis.” Curr. Atheroscler. Rep. 2017; 19:42
6 World Health Organization (2017). Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) Fact Sheet, Updated May 2017. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/
7 The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) (2017). 2017 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements.
8 The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) (2016). 2016 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements.
9 The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) (2015). 2015 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements.
10 Nishida Y, Yamashita E, Miki W (2007). “Quenching Activities of Common Hydrophilic and Lipophilic Antioxidants against Singlet Oxygen Using Chemiluminescence Detection System.” Carotenoid Science 11:16-20.