The carotenoid Astaxanthin reduces cellular inflammation and improves immune system function in this group of young-healthy women
Carotenoids are a widely distributed group of naturally occurring pigments, usually red, orange or yellow in color. They are associated with reduced risk of several chronic health disorders including some forms of cancer, heart disease and eye degeneration.
Astaxanthin is a powerful carotenoid antioxidant. It is the carotenoid that makes salmon pink. Astaxanthin has been the focus of a large and growing number of peer-reviewed scientific publications. In this new study researchers at Washington State University split young women into three groups. They supplemented the young women with either 2mg or 8mg Astaxanthin per day or placebo (sham treatment) for eight-weeks.
At the end of the study period the level of 8-OHdG dropped 32% in the 2mg group and dropped 43% in the 8mg group compared with placebo. This is an important finding because the level of 8-OHdg corresponds to the amount of free radical oxidation occurring in your DNA and having unhealthy DNA shortens your life whereas protecting DNA can lengthen how long you live and stay healthy. The level of C-reactive protein or CRP also dropped in the Astaxanthin groups; a slight elevation in the level of CRP shows there likely is inflammation in the heart and blood vessel walls and elevations are tied to heart attack and stroke risk.
Lastly, Astaxanthin strengthened immune function. The functional activity of NK cells (natural killer cells) improved in the Astaxanthin takers. NK cells are among the first cells to detect and kill cancer cells, viruses and invading bacteria. The level of immune system disease fighting B cells and T cells increased in number. The study is published in the March 5th, 2010 issue of the journal Nutrition and Metabolism.