Astaxanthin – a new miracle nutrient, or “miracle hype”?

Recent communicated articles and press releases concerning a newly discovered phytonutrient, derived from a species of micro-algae has been showing up on various media and internet networks that deal in health and nutrition products. The nutrient, known as astaxanthin is being touted as being high in antioxidants (as much as10 times higher than other carotenoids) and is said to be excellent for a number of physical health problems, including prostate glands in men and pre-cancerous conditions in female breasts.

Astaxanthin is said to be derived from a micro-algae called Haematocuccus, and is red in color. The red color in this algae and phytonutrient is said to be what causes certain species of Salmon to have that appealing pink color. Astaxanthin is a concentrated anti-oxidant that is claimed to prevent damage to body cells caused by free radicals – the byproduct of energy created by oxygen reaching cells each time we breathe.

Astaxanthin Chemical MakeUpWhile astaxanthin is found naturally in smaller quantities, when synthesized into a concentrate, it is said to do wonders for improve egg production in animal species like chickens and fish – especially salmon. It is claimed that salmon which are fed food containing this phytonutrient were able leap far higher and further than those who were given the supplement. And chickens given astaxanthin are said to live longer and produce better quality eggs.

So why might there be problem with this kind of nutrient; especially after all the claims to it’s health qualities? Like many other health supplements, this product is currently being promoted on on-line marking websites and is not yet available in health food and health supplement stores. This usually adds a lot of money onto the price of the product due the way it is marketed, i.e. by direct or multi-level marketing campaigns where the price of the product is made more expensive due to many people being involved in the “pyramid” sales structure.

From a health standpoint, it must be determined that the product has been tested and certified to be acceptable by organizations such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (it has been approved by the FDA as a food coloring), especially in light of a number of health supplements and vitamins coming from countries such as China being found to be unsafe for human consumption.

There are a lot of tested and certified health supplement products currently on the market, and many of them are available at large chain stores such as GNC, and even ones like Costco and Wall Mart. If astaxanthin turns out to live up to all that is being said about it, then it should eventually be available at well known retail and discount establishments; and not just via online marketing.

Source: Natural News ; Picture by: Wikipedia

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