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Astaxanthin is anti-inflammatory and can neutralize free radicals which are linked to heart diseases.
It is a well-known fact that cholesterol levels are key indicators of possible cardiovascular diseases and controlling cholesterol levels is the mantra of cardiologists.
When the LDL (the bad cholesterol) is oxidized, it can clog up the arteries. Excessive free radicals target LDL and cause an autoimmune condition whereby the immune system begins to attack itself. This creates an inflammatory response which, in turn, creates plaque in the arteries. The end result — oxidation and inflammation causing atherosclerosis. And over time, this condition can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
There are many clinical studies demonstrating that astaxanthin can reduce oxidation and inflammation. It can neutralize free radicals before they begin to oxidize LDL cholesterol. It can decrease CRP, the marker for silent inflammation. It has also been shown to decrease overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels in patients with mild hyperlipidemia. It can improve blood flow and may be able to decrease heart rates. Thus, astaxanthin protects the cardiovascular system.
This study indicates that astaxanthin inhibits oxidation of LDL cholesterol. The study shows that the optimum dose for quick results (4 weeks) is 14.4mg per day (ET* 2 AstaDaily softgels). The researchers concluded that consumption of astaxanthin “inhibits LDL oxidation and possibly therefore contributes to the prevention of atherosclerosis” (Iwamoto et al., 2000). A university study from Japan found similar results (Hiroshige, 2004). In both cases, there was no improvement in oxidation of LDL in the placebo groups.
This clinical study identified subjects with high cholesterol and provided them with 4mg of astaxanthin daily for a period of 4 weeks. The average decrease in cholesterol levels was impressive for such a short period of time: subjects supplementing with astaxanthin showed an average decrease of triglycerides by 24%, an average decrease in total cholesterol by 16%, and an average decrease of LDL by 17% (Trimeks, 2003).
Besides human clinical studies, there are many pre-clinical studies indicating various benefits of astaxanthin for heart health.
Researchers had mice run on a treadmill until they were exhausted. The treatment group was fed astaxanthin while the control group was not. At the end of the study, the scientists examined their hearts and found that the mice fed with astaxanthin had significantly less heart damage (Aoi et al., 2003).
In a new study, rats in the treatment group were fed astaxanthin before inducement of a heart attack. After the study, the hearts of both, the control and treatment groups were examined. The researchers found significantly less damage and a reduced area of infarction caused by the heart attack in mice that were fed astaxanthin (Gross and Lockwood, 2004).
In this study, it shows that astaxanthin reduced blood pressure and improved other cardiovascular parameters in rats with high blood pressure (Fassett and Combs, 2009).
Iwamoto, T., Hosoda, K., Hirano, R., Kurata, H., Matsumoto, A., Miki, W., Kamiyama, M., Itakura, H., Yamamoto, S., Kondo, K. (2000). “Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin.” Journal of Atherosclerosis Thrombosis. 7(4):216-22.
Hiroshige, I. (2004). “Multivitamin and Carotenoid Supplements.” Progress in Medicinal Chemistry F0664B 0287-3648 Vol. 24;No.6;Page1437-1442.
Trimeks Company Study (2003). Unpublished study cited in “The World’s Best-Kept Health Secret: Natural Astaxanthin.”
Aoi, W., Naito, Y., Sakuma, K., Kuchide, M., Tokuda, H., Maoka, T., Toyokuni, S., Oka, S., Yasuhara, M., Yoshikawa, T. (2003). “Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice.” Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 5(1):139-44.
Gross, G, Lockwood, S. (2004). “Cardioprotection and myocardial salvage by a disodium disuccinate astaxanthin derivative (Cardax). Life Sci. 75:215-24.
Fassett, R., Coombes, J. (2009). “Astaxanthin, oxidative stress, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.” Future Cardiology 2009 Jul;5(4):333-42.