Cardiovascular disease has been the number-one killer in the United States every single year since 1900 (with the exception of 1918, during the flu pandemic).
In this country, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 35 seconds. In fact, cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than the next four causes of death combined (cancer, chronic lower-respiratory disease, accidents and diabetes). If cardiovascular disease could be eliminated, life expectancy would jump by nearly seven years.
Astaxanthin is great for blood lipids
Blood lipids (fats) are the main constituents of plant and animal cells, and are vital to our entire system, serving as a source of fuel. Astaxanthin has more antioxidant activity than other carotenoids for protecting blood lipids. When there’s more astaxanthin around, HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind) production goes up and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) is protected from free-radical damage.
Free-radical damage to LDL cholesterol is a key step in the process of athlerosclerosis, since oxidized-LDL in turn damages the lining of blood vessels. Adults supplementing with astaxanthin were compared to a group who didn’t take the supplements; those taking astaxanthin had much less LDL oxidation in their blood, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.1
Researchers from the University of Kuopio in Finland took a closer look at astaxanthin’s heart health protection in a group of healthy nonsmokers.2 This double-blind study gave 8mg of astaxanthin supplements to half of the men, and a placebo to the other half. Over the three-month study period, the researchers measured astaxanthin levels and tracked lipid peroxidation. The astaxanthin was well tolerated and absorption was good, as blood levels of astaxanthin were clearly elevated in the supplementation group. More importantly, however, was the fact that the oxidation of fatty acids was significantly reduced during the time the astaxanthin was taken.
In another clinical trial, astaxanthin was given in doses of 0, 6, 12 or 18 mg daily over a three-month period to average, healthy adults.3 Those taking astaxanthin in any amount saw their triglycerides levels go down and their HDLs go up – both of which are heart-healthy changes. The 12 and 18 mg doses of astaxanthin were particularly effective in bringing triglyceride levels lower.
Another noteworthy finding of this study was that astaxanthin supplementation (at the 12 and 18 mg level) increased how much adiponectin was produced. Adiponectin is a hormone made by fat cells. It has several beneficial effects on the body such as helping insulin work more effectively to control blood sugar.
Iwamoto T, et al. Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin. J Atheroscl Thromb 2000;7:216-22.
Karppi J. et al. Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on lipid peroxidation. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2007;77(1):3-11.
Yoshida H, et al. Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis 2010;209(2):520-3.