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Nutrient Highlight - Astaxanthin 营养成分 - 虾青素

Nutrient Highlight - Astaxanthin  营养成分 - 虾青素

There are over 400 different members of the carotene family of pigments in nature. Historically, the potency of a carotene in improving human health was based on its ability to be converted to vitamin A. For example, beta-carotene, the pigment that makes carrots orange has the highest vitamin A value and was long thought of as being the most important carotene. However, it is now known that some of the most important carotenes to human health are not converted to vitamin A at all. The crowned “king” of all of the non-vitamin A carotenes is astaxanthin. It is given this title because of its unique benefits and actions in promoting health and protecting against cellular damage, especially in the brain and vascular system.

Where is Astaxanthin Found in Nature?

Astaxanthin is a vibrantly deep red carotene pigment found predominantly in marine life. A form of microalgae known as Haematococcus pluvialis is the richest source. When it is consumed by salmon, lobster, shrimp, krill, and other sea life the intense red pigmentation results in these animals having red or pink flesh, or outer shells.

Astaxanthin is absolutely essential to the survival of these organisms. For example, astaxanthin is required by microalgae to protect itself from damage produced during photosynthesis. It is also known that young salmon die or do not develop properly without sufficient intake of astaxanthin in their diet. The astaxanthin also provides some protection for some animals by making them less visible in deep water, where the red segment of the wavelength spectrum of visible light does not penetrate. The red pigment also plays a role in mating and spawning behavior.

How is Astaxanthin Produced?

Although astaxanthin is found in salmon, herring roe, or krill oil supplements, the amounts in these sources are much lower than those provided from extracts of H. pluvialis. For example, the level of astaxanthin naturally occurring in a capsule of fish or krill oil is in the range of 100 mcg (0.1 mg). That amount is not much compared to the 4 to 12 mg per capsule found in most astaxanthin supplements derived from H. pluvialis.

To produce natural astaxanthin, the best products use large indoor tanks to grow H. pluvialis under ideal conditions that enhance astaxanthin production and prevent environmental contamination. The astaxanthin is then released from the thick cell wall of the algae and concentrated.

There are other sources of astaxanthin on the market, but these forms are produced from either chemical synthesis or produced from genetically modified yeast (Phaffia rhodozyma). These synthetic forms are often fed to salmon in fish farms to give them red flesh, but this form of astaxanthin is not quite the same as natural astaxanthin as it has been shown to be more then twenty times weaker as an antioxidant than the natural form.

How does Astaxanthin Work?

It is a bit cliché to refer to various natural compounds as antioxidants. Yes, astaxanthin has antioxidant activity and definitely help prevents the oxidative damage that contributes to conditions such as aging, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. And, yes so do many other natural antioxidants. But, astaxanthin is a bit different as an antioxidant and exerts some additional benefits to protect cells.

First, in regards to general antioxidant effects in protecting cell membranes, astaxanthin is more than 65 times stronger than vitamin C, 50 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 10 times more powerful than vitamin E. Second, one of the unique aspects of astaxanthin relates to its size and how it fits into cell membranes. It is considerably larger/longer than other popular carotenes. Its size and physical form allows it to be incorporated into cell membranes where it is able to span the entire thickness of the cell membrane. This allows astaxanthin to not only protect the inner and outer cell membrane from oxidative damage, but also to stabilize the cell membranes.

Astaxanthin also exerts some specific anti-inflammatory effects that make it quite useful in protecting brain and vascular cells from damage. Since astaxanthin effectively protects the membrane system of mitochondria (the energy compartment of cells), it can help boost cellular energy production.

What Can Astaxanthin Do?

Over 50 clinical and experimental studies have shown astaxanthin to be potentially helpful in the following conditions:

  • Cardiovascular Health. Protects vascular lining, promotes improved blood flow, and protects LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized (damaged).
  • Eye Health. Protects against eye fatigue, helps improve visual acuity and depth perception, and increases blood flow to eye tissues.
  • Brain Health. Helps protect against aging and helps improve mental function.
  • Sports Related Activities. Promotes muscle endurance and protects against muscle damage.
  • Diabetes, insulin-resistance, and the metabolic syndrome. Helps improve antioxidant status and protect against vascular damage.
  • Skin Health. Reduces fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin elasticity, protects against sun damage, and prevents age spots and hyperpigmentation.
  • Immune health. Protects against damage to immune cells.

One of the real special attributes of astaxanthin is its ability to cross the blood-brain and blood-retinal barrier to protect both the brain and eyes. This effect is quite unusual for carotenes. For example, popular carotenes like beta-carotene and lycopene do not cross either barrier. This effect of astaxanthin indicates that it may be particularly helpful in improving brain and eye health as well as protecting the brain against Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and other degenerative brain and eye disorders. Of course, it has other benefits as well, but my feelings are that this ability to cross into the brain and retina are what makes it really special.

Another interesting effect of astaxanthin is on red blood cells. Because red blood cells (RBCs) are more susceptible to being damaged by oxidative attack as we age, this can lead to impaired delivery of oxygen to our tissues. Astaxanthin’s effects on cell membranes may be especially important in RBCs. In a 2011 double-blind clinical trial, 32 healthy subjects, ages 50-69 years (n=30), were assigned to receive astaxanthin (at 6 mg/day or 12 mg/day) or a placebo for 12 weeks. Both dosage levels of astaxanthin reduced oxidative damage to RBCs with no greater effect seen with the higher dosage level. The significance of this improvement may be profound especially when combined with another 2011 that found astaxanthin (6 mg per day for a 10-day period) was able to significantly improve blood flow (rheology). The reasons these effects are profound is that improving the delivery of oxygen throughout the body may produce a myriad of positive effects.

What is the Dosage of Astaxanthin?

The dosage range for astaxanthin is 4 to 12 mg daily.

What are the Side Effects and Drug Interactions of Astaxanthin?

There are no known side effects or drug interactions at recommended dosage levels.

自然界中有超过400种不同的胡萝卜素颜料成员。从历史上看,胡萝卜素在改善人体健康方面的效力是基于其转化为维生素A的能力。例如,β-胡萝卜素,使胡萝卜成为橙色的颜料具有最高的维生素A值,并且长期以来被认为是最重要的胡萝卜素。然而,现在已知一些对人类健康最重要的胡萝卜素根本不会转化为维生素A.所有非维生素A胡萝卜素的加冠“王”是虾青素。它被赋予这个称号是因为它在促进健康和防止细胞损伤方面具有独特的益处和作用,特别是在大脑和血管系统中。

虾青素在自然界中的位置在哪里?
虾青素是一种充满活力的深红色胡萝卜素色素,主要存在于海洋生物中。一种称为雨生红球藻(Haematococcus pluvialis)的微藻是最丰富的来源。当它被鲑鱼,龙虾,虾,磷虾和其他海洋生物食用时,强烈的红色色素沉着导致这些动物具有红色或粉红色的肉或外壳。

虾青素对这些生物的存活是绝对必要的。例如,微藻需要虾青素来保护自身免受光合作用过程中产生的损害。还知道,如果没有在其饮食中充分摄入虾青素,幼鲑会死亡或不能正常发育。虾青素还通过使它们在深水中较不可见而为某些动物提供一些保护,其中可见光的波长谱的红色区段不会穿透。红色素也在交配和产卵行为中起作用。

虾青素是如何产生的?
尽管在鲑鱼,鲱鱼子或磷虾油中添加了虾青素,但这些来源中的虾的含量远远低于雨生红豆杉提取物。例如,天然存在于鱼或磷虾胶囊中的虾青素水平在100mcg(0.1mg)的范围内。与来自雨生红球藻的大多数虾青素补充剂中发现的每个胶囊4至12毫克相比,这个数量并不多。

为了生产天然虾青素,最好的产品使用大型室内水箱在理想条件下生长雨生红球藻,以增强虾青素的产生并防止环境污染。然后将虾青素从藻类的厚细胞壁释放并浓缩。

市场上还有虾青素的其他来源,但这些形式来自化学合成或由转基因酵母(Phaffia rhodozyma)产生。这些合成形式通常喂养养鱼场的鲑鱼,使其呈现红肉,但这种形式的虾青素与天然虾青素并不完全相同,因为它已被证明比天然形式的抗氧化剂弱20倍。

虾青素如何发挥作用?
将各种天然化合物称为抗氧化剂有点陈词滥调。是的,虾青素具有抗氧化活性,绝对有助于预防氧化损伤,这些损害会导致衰老,胰岛素抵抗,心血管疾病和阿尔茨海默病等神经退行性疾病。并且,是的,许多其他天然抗氧化剂也是如此。但是,虾青素作为抗氧化剂有点不同,并且在保护细胞方面发挥了一些额外的好处。

首先,关于保护细胞膜的一般抗氧化作用,虾青素比维生素C强65倍以上,比β-胡萝卜素强50倍,比维生素E强10倍。其次,其中一个独特的方面是虾青素与其大小及其如何适应细胞膜有关。它比其他流行的胡萝卜素大得多/长。它的大小和物理形式使其可以结合到细胞膜中,在细胞膜中它能够跨越细胞膜的整个厚度。这使得虾青素不仅可以保护内细胞膜和外细胞膜免受氧化损伤,还可以稳定细胞膜。

虾青素还发挥一些特定的抗炎作用,使其在保护脑和血管细胞免受损害方面非常有用。由于虾青素有效地保护了线粒体(细胞的能量区)的膜系统,因此它可以帮助促进细胞能量的产生。

虾青素能做什么?
超过50项临床和实验研究表明,虾青素在以下情况下可能有所帮助:

心血管健康。保护血管内层,促进血液流动,保护LDL胆固醇免受氧化(受损)。
眼睛健康。防止眼睛疲劳,有助于提高视敏度和深度感,并增加眼部组织的血液流动。
脑健康。有助于防止衰老,有助于改善心理功能。
体育相关活动。促进肌肉耐力并防止肌肉损伤。
糖尿病,胰岛素抵抗和代谢综合征。有助于改善蚂蚁



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