Astaxanthin appears to help maintain ‘working memory'
Unlike beta-carotene, astaxanthin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Once there, it appears to provide some significant brain health benefits.
In one clinical trial to assess astaxanthin’s effect on the brain, ten older adults with age-related forgetfulness took 12mg of astaxanthin daily for three months.1 By the end of the study, there was clear evidence that those taking astaxanthin had better “working memory.” Working memory is the short-term memory that is used, for example, to remember a phone number or license plate for a few minutes. Astaxanthin also improved thinking in other ways, such as processing information and attention.
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition2found that astaxanthin may “contribute to the prevention of dementia.” Participants in the trial took astaxanthin supplements for 12 weeks (a relatively short time), and the researchers noted a significant reduction in the levels of compounds (phospholipid hydroperoxides) that are known to accumulate abnormally in the red blood cells of people with dementia.
Satoh A, et al. Preliminary clinical evaluation of toxicity and efficacy of a new astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract. J Clin Biochem 2009;44:280-4.
K. Nakagawa, et al; “Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes;” British Journal of Nutrition; Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1017/S0007114510005398