WHAT IS AN ANTIOXIDANT?
Antioxidants are substances that neutralizes harmful free radicals such as oxygen radicals and non-radical oxygen containing molecules (ROS). Why are free radicals so bad? Think of them like vampires, but instead of blood, they need electrons to survive. One free radical will take an electron from a healthy molecule, which then turns it into a free radical. This is called oxidative stress. Scientists widely regard oxidative stress to be an underlying theme which exacerbate many health problems.
WHAT CREATES REACTIVE OXYGEN SPECIES (ROS)?
All aerobic life depends on oxygen to survive. In humans, ROS is produced by the body as a by-product of breathing and oxygen metabolism. ROS is generated at a higher rate particularly during physical activity. However, certain environmental triggers can also create an increse in ROS production such as pollution, stress, fatty foods and even sunlight.
WHERE DOES ASTAXANTHIN COME FROM?
Natural astaxantin is found all over the world, from African lakes to Arctic snowfields. The basic natural source comes from a remarkable microalgae - Haematococcus pluvialis. Predators feed on the Haematococcus and in turn predators feed on those predators. Astaxanthin accumulates further up the food chain and we see the accumulation as red to orange hues in salmon flesh, cooked lobster, shrimp and many more marine animals.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family of natural pigments closely related to beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. It is a powerful natural biological antioxidant known for its ability to better protect against singlet oxygen, the most damaging of all reactive oxygen species (ROS), than any other known antioxidant. It is also what gives the pink and orange color to salmon, shrimp and lobster. The most abundant source of natural astaxanthin can be found in the fresh water microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis .