Astaxanthin: Dementia Breakthrough On The Horizon

Astaxanthin – the pigment that gives salmon its pink colour – has already been proven to provide significant relief from the pain and stiffness of rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

This powerful antioxidant is up to 550 times more effective as an antioxidant than vitamin E and has also shown benefits for eye, skin and nervous system health. It also far exceeds the free radical scavenging power of vitamin C, CoQ10, beta-carotene, and green tea.

Powerful prevention

Best still, this powerful pigment has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which allows it to wield its antioxidant properties in the brain. As a result, researchers have believed for some time that it has great potential against neuro-degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Now, recent research from Japan has finally confirmed astaxanthin’s promising potential in this area.

Previous research has found that people suffering with dementia have abnormally high levels of compounds called phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH), which are known to accumulate in the red blood cells (erythrocytes) of people with dementia.

In this latest study, the Japanese researchers included 30 healthy subjects, aged between 50 and 69, who were randomly assigned to receive either 6 or 12mg of astaxanthin per day for 12 weeks, or a placebo.

The results showed that the participants who took Astaxanthin had significant reductions in their levels of PLOOH, compared to those who were given a placebo.

Commenting on the findings, the researchers said: “Astaxanthin has the potential to act as an important antioxidant in erythrocytes, and thereby may contribute to the prevention of dementia. This possibility warrants the testing of astaxanthin in other models of dementia with a realistic prospect of its use as a human therapy.”

It is unlikely you will obtain enough astaxanthin from diet alone. However, astaxanthin is present in small amounts in krill oil, which is a fantastic omega-3 fat supplement. But you can boost your astaxanthin even MORE by adding a pure astaxanthin supplement to your supplement regimen. For optimal absorption, make sure you take krill oil and/or astaxanthin with a fat-containing meal, since both are fat-soluble.

Astaxanthin supplements are available at alternative health food stores and the recommended dosage is 4mg a day as a general antioxidant supplement, or 12mg a day for the specific treatment of joint pain and inflammation. To date, there are no known side effects associated with astaxanthin, although individuals on medication should check with their doctor before taking it.

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Br J Nutr. 2011 Jun;105(11):1563-71. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510005398. Epub 2011 Jan 31.