Astaxanthin- How Much is Enough?

Astaxanthin- How Much is Enough?

Astaxanthin is nature’s most powerful antioxidant. The compound was developed 700M years ago by single celled animals to protect themselves from the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by mitochondria as well as ROS generated by exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) light.

The genetic capability for making astaxanthin migrated into multi-celled animals including crustaceans such as copepods, krill and shrimp.  Higher order animals including humans dropped their ability to make astaxanthin simply eating other animals that did.

So ... how much astaxanthin should we be taking?

The answer is nobody exactly knows. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved natural astaxanthin as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) at 12 mg of astaxanthin per dose.  This “dose” was set using natural astaxanthin extracted using the Super Critical Carbon Dioxide method. We observed in thousands of fish, that 99% of this material ends up in their feces. The material is simply too big to be digestible so if true, then if you take a 12mg dose of natural astaxanthin processed this way you are getting .12 mg into your body. 

Note.  Adjuvia Astaxanthin processed by our patented method using non GMO algae’s to make nano-emulsions that deliver 99% of the astaxanthin consumed into the cell and mitochondrial membranes.  A dose of 12mg delivers 11.88 mg of the right form of astaxanthin to the right place.

Is that enough? Enough for what?

Astaxanthin has three unique functions.

Mitochondrial Targeted Antioxidant (MTA)

The average human has 30 trillion cells with each cell having mitochondria that generate about 20 grams of ROS per human per day.  This ROS “Load” if left unmitigated will damage the mitochondria’s DNA, reducing its ability to efficiently process glucose and oxygen into energy land and reducing its ability to replicate. 

ROS damage accumulates over time, ultimately causing chronic diseases and aging.  Taking in enough antioxidants to mitigate this ROS load seems like a good idea.  Astaxanthin is nature’s most powerful antioxidant far more powerful than other antioxidants including vitamin C, CQ10, Vitamin E and lower order carotenoids such as zeaxanthin.  One end of di-esterified 3S, 3’S astaxanthin hangs out in the cytoplasm grabbing any ROS it can find.  Once hooked, the ROS is passed along the backbone to the other end which hangs out in the bloodstream.   The ROS will oxidize blood soluble antioxidants (Vitamin C) which in turn gets removed by the kidney.

About 60% of Adjuvia Astaxanthin ends up in the mitochondria plasma membrane and with the remaining 40% embedding into the cell plasma membrane.   We estimate that 11.88 mg X 60% = 7.1 mg of our astaxanthin functions as a mitochondria targeted antioxidant attacking ROS at its source. 

The human ROS load can vary significantly.  Diabetics with high blood sugar levels induce mitochondrial dysfunction. As glucose levels rise, the mitochondria no longer operate at peak efficiency, elevating ROS levels. If ROS damages the DNA of the mitochondria, it loses its ability to replicate. Falling mitochondria counts are responsible for processing the same about of glucose, again elevating ROS levels.  Diabetes patients frequently report feeling “low energy” which is attributed to mitochondrial damage.

UV Induced ROS

If 60% of Adjuvia Astaxanthin ends up embedded into mitochondria cell plasma membrane, that leaves 40% for everything else.

We have about 30 trillion cells in our body and 16% of those are skin cells.

As anybody who has gotten sunburned during a cloudy day can attest, the Ultra Violet (UV) light shining down from above can do real damage.  UV induces ROS through a process called photo-oxidation.  The ROS load from UV induced ROS is highly dependent on lifestyle, dress and location.   We don’t yet understand how much astaxanthin is enough but users of Adjuvia Astaxanthin report improved skin health and fewer sunburns.

Virus & Bacteria Protection

We believe single cell organisms created astaxanthin to protect against ROS damage but there is another reason that contributed to its development.

Viruses and bacteria have been around for billions of years, well before multi-cellular lifeforms evolved with advanced immune systems to protect themselves from bad actors.

Viruses and bacteria are surrounded by “sacks” of carbohydrates and amino acid that hold RNA or DNA inside. Penetrating a healthy human cell that is full of astaxanthin is virtually impossible.  Astaxanthin that comes into contact with a virus or bacteria will start donating electrons that will break the sacks wide open.

Human Evolutionary Diets

It is never a good idea to mess with mother nature.  Humans evolved over 2 million years.  If we study how much astaxanthin our fore-bearers ate we may infer how much astaxanthin we expect to receive in our diets.

The primary source of astaxanthin for early humans were wild fish, shellfish, eggs and offal meat.  Bird eggs had 5 mg of astaxanthin, a quarter pound serving of shell fish had 4 mg. If a human bagged one egg or a few oysters, a small fish,  they would get 4-5 mg of astaxanthin per day.  This looks like a minimum daily dose rate. 

We doubled the astaxanthin content to 12 mg in our latest formulation of Adjuvia Astaxanthin.  The right compound delivered to the right place with a bit more tossed in for good measure.