To improve cardiovascular health, there are certain lifestyle habits you need to adopt. You should get regular exercise, stop smoking, and eat a streamlined diet filled with lean proteins and vegetables. But what do you when positive lifestyle choices aren’t enough? To give your heart that extra boost, you can try supplements that promote cardiovascular wellness. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties, is one of the most effective supplements on the market.
What is astaxanthin?
This carotenoid, a natural pigment with a bright red hue, is found in foods like salmon, algae, and krill. While carotenoids are primarily responsible for pigmentation, lending red, orange, and yellow shades to everything from carrots to leaves, they have other applications as well. They are also antioxidants, which means that they can protect against oxidative damage. Astaxanthin is often referred to as the “king of the carotenoids” because of its potent antioxidant properties.
What causes heart problems?
To understand why this carotenoid promotes cardiovascular wellbeing, you must first understand why heart disease occurs in the first place. Many people think cardiovascular disease is the result of clogged arteries or arterial damage—and this is true. But this arterial obstruction is closely tied to inflammation. To reduce the risk of heart-related problems, it’s essential to attack the inflammation that can exacerbate arterial problems.
Why are carotenoids and antioxidants so important?
To reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, people need antioxidant support. Antioxidants can fight off any oxidative stress and inflammation present in the body. Once these stressors are gone, the body is better equipped to heal cardiovascular problems—like arterial damage or plaque buildup. Antioxidant protection also helps to optimize the cardiovascular benefits of healthy lifestyle choices, like exercise and nutritious diets.
How does it reduce inflammation?
It reduces inflammation via the same mechanisms used by many prescription analgesics. Namely, it blocks the enzymes that lead to inflammation in the first place. Studies show that it can suppress levels of COX 2, prostaglandin E2, TNF-alpha, and C Reactive Protein. Excessive levels of C Reactive Protein, or CRP, are one of the main indicators of cardiovascular disease. This natural carotenoid can reduce the body’s supply of CRP by as much as 20%, making it an excellent choice for people who want to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.
What about oxidative stress?
Many arterial blockages are caused by damage to LDL, the protein particles involved in atherosclerosis. When LDL particles are oxidized, it can lead to the formation of plaque within the arterial walls. Because these carotenoids have antioxidant properties, however, they can protect the LDL particles from becoming oxidized in the first place. If plaques are unable to form, blood flow is optimized.
What other benefits does it have?
This carotenoid has plenty of additional benefits. It’s ability to suppress CRP, for example, doesn’t just benefit the cardiovascular system. It also boosts the lipid metabolism in muscles, especially during exercise. It can also enhance vision, improve the health of the skin, and increase cognitive function.