Natural Products Insider

JUL-AUG 2018

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naturalproductsinsider . com 49 Astaxanthin Among benefi ts, astaxanthin has shown its ability to reduce levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of infl ammation in the body. The study showed a correlation between daily use of astaxanthin for eight weeks and signifi cantly lowered CRP compared to placebo. 10 One ongoing project at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio investigated the effect of astaxanthin supplementation on lipid peroxidation. The astaxanthin group had a signifi cant drop in the levels of hydroxy fatty acids (which increase infl ammation) as compared to the placebo group. Further, astaxanthin decreased oxidative stress and infl ammation, and enhanced immune response in humans. 11 Diabetic Nephropathy Results from a study published in 2004 in BioFactors showed a lower level of blood glucose in diabetic mice treated with astaxanthin than in a nontreated group; the antioxidative activity of astaxanthin reduced stress on the kidneys and prevented renal cell damage. 12 The researchers concluded astaxanthin may be useful in preventing diabetic nephropathy. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported the benefi ts of astaxanthin for diabetics. 13 The study showed the antioxidant power of astaxanthin can protect cells against oxidative damage caused by high glucose (sugar) levels. High blood sugar levels and oxidative stress are associated with complications common among diabetics, including kidney disease, neuropathy (nerve damage) and diabetic retinopathy (vision problems). Skin/Sun Protection A Japanese study showed astaxanthin has the potential to inhibit infl ammation-mediated skin deterioration, such as wrinkle formation and seasonal skin moisture decline, thereby retarding the progression of skin aging. 14 Results from a study by scientists in Rome compared several carotenoids to see how they protected skin against the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. 15 According to the study, published in Experimental Dermatology, fi broblasts from skin were treated with carotenoids before being exposed to UVA, with only astaxanthin showing a signifi cant photoprotective effect, modulating most of the UVA-induced injuries. 15,16 Eye Health Astaxanthin has been found to prevent or slow three of the most common eye diseases: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma and eye strain. The human retina naturally contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, molecules closely related to astaxanthin. Supplementation with all three carotenoids has been shown to improve visual acuity and contrast detection in people with early AMD. 17 Studies of patients with AMD revealed signifi cant improvements in retinal electrical outputs following supplementation with astaxanthin and other carotenoids. 18 Glaucoma, an increase in the pressure of fl uid inside the eyeball, eventually results in retinal cell death from oxidant damage and loss of blood fl ow. Astaxanthin was shown to restore retinal parameters to normal in eyes with experimentally induced glaucoma. 19 Working for long periods at visual display terminals reportedly induced various visual problems such as eye strain, blurring and diplopia (double vision). In a double-blind study performed in Japan, four weeks of supplementation with 5 mg/d astaxanthin led to a 46 percent reduction of eye strain and higher accommodation amplitude in visual display terminal. 20 Astaxanthin is a promising compound for human health and nutrition applications, but more information and research is needed. Different producers recommend different astaxanthin dosage levels for various health conditions. Because there have not been enough studies to determine the ideal dose of astaxanthin, there are no standardized dosage recommendations. Doses of up to 50 mg/d of astaxanthin have been tolerated (the exact toxicity and upper limit is also not known). Some studies have suggested the lowest "no observed adverse effect" level is 40 mg/kg bodyweight/d. An acceptable daily intake (ADI) is conventionally derived using a 100-fold safety factor applied to the lowest dosage without observed adverse effects. This equates to an ADI intake of 0.4 mg/kg bodyweight/d for a person. Robin Koon, executive vice president at Best Formulations (bestformulations.com), has more than 35 years of pharmaceutical experience in clinical pharmacy, managed care and manufacturing, as well as serving as a retail drug chain executive overseeing operations. For a list of references, email references@naturalproductsinsider.com

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