Free-radicals, Antioxidants, & Inflammation
As nature’s most powerful antioxidant, Astaxanthin’s key role in the body is cleaning up free radicals, resulting in a reduction in inflammation. As inflammation goes down so does the severity of a long list of health concerns.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that have lost an electron, becoming positively charged and chemically reactive. These unstable molecules proceed to cause damage to cell membranes, often damaging the DNA of the cell and causing inflammation. Free radicals are caused by many elements in our environment and lifestyle which for most people is slowly deteriorating through a lack of exercise, poor diet and a toxic environment. External toxins such as air pollution, pesticides in our food, cigarettes, alcohol and many more, are all resulting in the increase of free radicals in our bodies. Normally our bodies should be able to neutralise free radicals, however with an imbalance of free radicals to antioxidants we are experiencing increased amounts of oxidative stress and inflammation.
Antioxidants are what our bodies use to counter free radicals. Obtained from our diet and produced in our body, antioxidants work to mop up free radicals by offering up an electron to stabilise the unstable molecule. Unfortunately, we do not produce enough antioxidants to protect ourselves from typical levels of free radicals which is why a diet high in colourful fruits and vegetables are extremely beneficial. There is, however, a downside to some antioxidants in high concentrations such as vitamin C and E, which after offering electrons to free radicals then become pro-oxidants themselves. Pro-oxidants induce oxidative stress and are just as harmful as free radicals. Studies have shown Astaxanthin will never become a pro-oxidant after offering elections and as an antioxidant helps neutralise multiple free radicals simultaneously, earning its name as nature’s most powerful antioxidant.
Inflammation is an imperative biological process that enables us to survive the way we do, typically presenting itself as redness, pain, swelling or warm skin. It is our body’s answer to repairing damaged tissue and fighting infection by signaling areas of concern, however, chronic inflammation can be extremely harmful.
Sunburn is an example of visual inflammation with the skin turning red, becoming sensitive and warm due to the UV damage from the sun. More often than not, when there is inflammation, there is oxidative stress that can often go unnoticed for years if it doesn’t cause any obvious pain. Most processed foods, smoking, alcohol, stress, fast food and infections are key triggers of inflammation that identify as toxic and harmful to our bodies resulting in an immune response. Being exposed to any key triggers for years with low levels of unnoticeable inflammation eventually adds up, as the damage that has been done finally arises in the form of a disease.
To combat the results of inflammation anti-inflammatory drugs are one option, but often come with long lists of potential harmful side effects. Astaxanthin and other natural anti-inflammatories can be a better alternative as they help increase your bodies level of antioxidants, or free radical fighting army, to take control of any key inflammatory triggers before they grow into a serious problem.
Astaxanthin can affect a large range of inflammation mediators but in a less concentrated manner, resulting in an overall protection throughout the body, without the negative side effects.
For more information, download our astaxanthin infographic