Recently, a powerful phytochemical, called astaxanthin, has been in the public eye more than ever before.
On the Dr. Oz show, Dr. Joseph Mercola told viewers that it is "the number one supplement that you've never heard of that you should be taking." Likewise, on Oprah, dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone praised astaxanthin and its unparalleled ability to protect cells.
Protect cells from what?
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant. It is also a fat-soluble carotenoid found in microalgae, salmon, shrimp, and krill.
An antioxidant protects the body from free radicals. A free radical can cause a long series of chain reactions that prompt oxidation, which damages tissues and is implicated in all degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and aging.
A free radical is a molecular fragment with an unpaired electron. Free radicals are very active in the body because the free radical electron will do anything to find another electron to pair up with - even break up two bonded electrons.
Of course, stealing an electron from a bonded pair creates yet another free radical electron, desperately searching for another electron to partner up with. This creates a free radical chain reaction. When this happens, it leads to biochemical reactions in the body that cause disease and abnormal, toxic byproducts.
Can you really turn back time? Astaxanthin is a powerful, anti-aging antioxidant that can prevent, repair, and reverse free radical damage in the body.
The most likely place for free radical chain reactions from fatty acids is in cell membranes.
Fats that are unsaturated are extremely sensitive. Ever wonder why flax oil is sold in an opaque or dark bottle? A single ray of light, a photon, can interact with the delicate double bond found in a polyunsaturated fatty acid (think omega 3 and omega 6, the fatty acids found in nut, seed, and fish oils).
A photon can excite the electrons on a molecule, causing one of them to charge off and leave a lone electron that will inevitability search, find, or steal another electron to bond with. This one ray of light can prompt a chain reaction that goes through 30,000 free radical cycles before it is stopped. Oxygen destroys oils in a way similar to light.
An antioxidant can stop the chain reaction. Interestingly, antioxidants are found naturally in nuts and seeds that contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are prone to rapid oxidation. Nature likes balance. When foods are processed with heat and chemicals, antioxidants and other nutrients are destroyed.
An antioxidant, like Vitamin E, helps to capture loose free radical electrons, while carotene and astaxanthin satiate oxygen free radicals. Other antioxidants, like vitamin C, reactivate glutathione (an antioxidant recycler) and vitamin E. These, in turn, reactivate carotene and astaxanthin.
In our own bodies, antioxidants are found in cell membranes and in tissue, protecting against free radical chain reactions. This protection in the cell membranes and in tissue slows down the visible effects of aging and protects against physical and neurological degeneration.
Cyanotech, one of the leading producers of astaxanthin from microalgae in Kona, Hawaii, is on the cutting edge of astaxanthin sourcing and technology. Cyanotech vice president of sales and marketing Bob Capelli recently explained that while other companies pull astaxanthin from the microalgae, Haematococcus pluvialis, Cyanotech uses different production techniques and analytical testing methodologies.
Some materials, such a high amounts of chlorophyll and astacene, are actually pro-oxidant (rather than antioxidant). Pro-oxidants encourage free radical reactions. Capelli points out that firms using Spectrophotometric testing include these pro-oxidants, as well as other carotenoids, leading to an overstatement of astaxanthin concentrations by as much as 30%.
Capelli tells us that they have "seen some very unstable products made with other producers of astaxanthin in the marketplace that had less than half the stated astaxanthin left well before expiration."
Astaxanthin: The most powerful antioxidant that can prevent, repair, and reverse free radical damage is in Vitality SuperGreens.
Body Ecology's Vitality SuperGreens uses astaxanthin sourced from Cyanotech microalgae and then ferments it for even greater bioavailability. Because astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid, it is best to enjoy a glass of Vitality SuperGreens mixed with a fat of your choice, such as blended with a tablespoon of coconut oil, in order to further increase bioavailability.
WHAT TO REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THIS ARTICLE:
- Antioxidants capture or quench free radical electrons. Free radicals have been implicated in physical and neurological degeneration.
- While oxidation is an essential biochemical event that happens all the time in the body, such as in the production of energy, this process occurs within the architecture of an enzyme, which keeps the free radical in place. When a free radical escapes, antioxidants are typically available to check and neutralize free radical damage.
- If you consume foods already teeming with free radicals, such as rancid, over processed oils or industrial, synthetic foods, then it is beneficial to consume more antioxidant-rich foods.
- Depletion or even a deficiency of antioxidants in the tissues and in cell membranes speeds up the aging process and is always found in degenerative conditions.
- Food supplements, like Vitality SuperGreens, are a convenient and nutrient-dense way to deliver a powerful antioxidant punch to an otherwise depleted and lethargic system.
- Fresh vegetable juices, a multi-mineral supplement like Ancient Earth Minerals, and enzymes like catalase and superoxide dismutase are other nutrients that prevent, reverse, and repair free radical damage.
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