Sunday, 17 June 2007

Astaxanthin linked to improved heart health

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Astaxanthin, the nutrient that gives salmon its pink colour, may also have heart health benefits, suggests a new study from Finland. Results from the randomised, double-blind study, published in the International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research, indicated that a daily supplement of the carotenoid, alone or in combination with omega-3, reduced plasma hydroxyl fatty acids levels, indicating that astaxanthin protects sensitive fatty acids from oxidation

"We propose that astaxanthin supplementation may decrease in vivo lipid peroxidation in healthy men," wrote lead author Jouni Karppi from the University of Kuopio.

Astaxanthin, the antioxidant carotenoid most commonly linked to eye health, has been found to be a potent antioxidant, with tests suggesting that it may have a free radical fighting capacity worth 500 times that of vitamin E.

At the end of the study, Karppi and co-workers report that blood astaxanthin levels increased in the carotenoid-supplemented group to 0.032 micromoles per litre. Blood levels of 12- and 15-hydroxy fatty acids were also significantly reduced, relative to the placebo group.

"Plasma 15-hydroxy fatty acid is formed by oxidation of polyunsaturated linolenic and linoleic acids, which are the fatty acids most sensitive to oxidation," explained Karppi.

The study also supported the safety of astaxanthin as a dietary supplement, with no gastrointestinal tract distress reported, nor were there any changes in markers of inflammation or blood pressure.
This is an important study that puts yet another merit to the benefits of Astaxanthin. This could be very useful for people who wish to prevent heart disease or those who want to improve existing heart conditions, especially when combined with Omega-3 fatty acids.

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