Based on Harman’s free radical theory of aging[i], accumulation of oxidative damage over time is known to lead to premature aging, first and for most affecting our skin. At young age, it is vital to try to prevent and reduce photo-oxidative and oxidative damage to assist in slowing down the premature aging process. At any age, maintaining healthy skin is more than just how we look on the outside and yet, the appearance of our skin is one of the easier ways to observe if something is working. The typical thought when it comes to taking care of the skin usually involves a cosmetic approach by applying a product on the skin. Considering that skin cells grow from the inside out, it is imperative to feed the body the proper nutrients that feed and protect healthy skin cells. The goal with any skin health regimen is to focus on protection, revitalizing and rejuvenating the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body and provides an abundance of benefits such as;
The most common problems we have with our skin all revolve around the exposure to sun irradiation, including ultraviolet (UV), High Energy Visible (HEV) or blue light and infrared (heat) from the sun as well as exposure to toxins. The days of having a tan was a good sign of good health are gone. In the last 10 years, the awareness regarding the harmful effects of sun exposure is growing. There are many causes for the damage done to the skin that contribute to aging. One of the most common is free radical damage from repeated exposure to UV and blue light from the sun and our electronics as TV screens, smartphones and computer screens. Other contributing factors are environmental toxins-smog and pesticides, cigarette smoke and medications.
When looking at the potential ingredients that would provide both nutritional and protective benefits to the skin, the one derived from Haematococcus pluvialis (HP) – astaxanthin is a great way to start. Why? This ancient microalga has been around for over billion year and has survived the harsh environmental changes including photo-radiation, drought, frigid conditions and more. The way HP survives these stressful environmental changes is through its production of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. One of the best ways to protect and maintain healthy skin is by both dietary consumption and external or topical application of astaxanthin (AstaPure®) to the skin. The same benefits that astaxanthin provides to the HP algae can be seen when used by humans for skin health and other health needs. In fact, there have been dozens of clinical studies done which demonstrate astaxanthin’s ability to revitalize the skin.
Skin Resistance to UV Radiation
Taking a look at the science we can see there is substantial evidence to back up the benefits of Astaxanthin (AstaPure®) and healthy skin. When skin is exposed to UV radiation, a Minimal Erythema Dose (MED) can be measured. Following 9 weeks of daily 4 mg AstaPure administration, the MED levels increased by more than 4-fold, which indicates better skin resilience and resistance to increased dosage of UV. Chart below
In another study, astaxanthin effectively suppresses cell damage caused by free radicals and induction of MMP-1 (collagenase) expression in skin after UV irradiation.[ii]
Improving Skin Elasticity and Moisture Helps Reducing Wrinkles
In the area of “seeing” a difference in a person’s aging skin, skin elasticity and moisture are critical points to be addressed. Skin moisture and elasticity will have an impact on the outward appearance. A great way to visualize this impact is the comparison of a grape and a raisin. A raisin is a dried-out grape. If you were to soak a raisin in water overnight, you would notice that the raisin would begin to plump up, reduce the wrinkles and begin to look like a grape again. We can achieve similar benefits with the use of astaxanthin too. Several studies using AstaPure® astaxanthin have shown improvements in reduced water loss and increased skin elasticity (44 Healthy Female Adults)[iii] on wrinkle parameters and skin moisture analysis in (39 healthy female adults)[iv]( 16 healthy female adults)[v]
Fine Line Reduction – Smoother, Flawless Skin
Both oral and topical use of astaxanthin has shown to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In one study with participants consuming 6mg of astaxanthin per day and applying a topical solution containing astaxanthin showed positive results in 8-weeks (30 Healthy Female Adults)[vi]
One study that did a comprehensive review of the use of astaxanthin on skin health, repair, and disease concluded that astaxanthin is a promising compound in the field of dermatology. This same study showed that astaxanthin’s effects are due to its inhibition of collagenases (the enzymes that break down collagen), impacting inflammatory mediators, ROS reduction and resulting in potent anti-wrinkle and antioxidant effects.[vii]
If all of this isn’t convincing enough, NASA is now evaluating the growth and use of HP in space for many potential benefits, of which the effects of radiation exposure is key[viii]. Research shows that antioxidants such as astaxanthin can provide preventive or potential therapeutic value in response to long-term conditions that may develop following exposure to ionizing radiation deriving from outer space (cosmic radiation).
Taking this to an even higher level, consider using the whole food version of astaxanthin-AstaPure® Arava Powder. AstaPure® Arava is the whole- and super- food microalgae form of astaxanthin which not only contains the health benefits of astaxanthin, but also contains naturally occurring nutrients including vitamins and minerals, polysaccharides and fibers, essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids. Dr. Gitte Jensen (NIS labs, Oregon USA), identified that the AstaPure Arava whole algae powder properties includes highly potent complexes that act synergistically with its natural astaxanthin. The study showed significant results affecting activity of the innate immune system (immune cells that attack foreign cells i.e. bacteria, viruses, abnormal cells, etc.) cell regeneration and mitochondria (the energy factory of each cell) functions. The healthy fats (lipids, essential fatty acids) provide benefit through the omega-3 ALA which is well known for being essential for overall health and well-being.
Formulating for Skin Beauty and Health
Finally, when considering formulation or consuming effective skin health products, consider using AstaPure® both orally and topically. Combining AstaPure® with other skin health nutrients such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, omega-3s, vitamins, etc. will give consumers the powerful punch needed to help fight aging skin health concerns, premature skin aging and beautify skin appearance.
[i] Harman D. Aging: a theory based on free radical and radiation chemistry. J Gerontol 11: 298–300, 1956
[ii] Suganuma, K.; Nakajima, H.; Ohtsuki, M.; Imokawa, G. Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix-metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts. J. Dermatol. Sci. 2010, 58, 136–142.
[iii] Oral Astaxanthin Supplements (2mg for 12 weeks) Reduced Water Loss and Increased Skin Elasticity in 44 Healthy Female Adults
[iv] Izumi et al., 2009. Development of the Dietary Supplements, “Astalift supplement” and “Astalift drink”. FujiFilmR esearch & Development, (No 54-2009)
[v] Yamashita et al., 2002. Cosmetic benefit of dietary supplements including astaxanthin and tocotrienol on human skin. Food Style 21, 6(6), 112-117
[vi] Tominagaet al., Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects. ActaBiochimPol. 2012;59(1):43-47.
[vii] Davinelli S, Nielsen M, Scapagnini G, Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehenisve Review, Nutrients 2018 April;10(4): 522
[viii]Giardi M, Touloupakis E, Bertolotto D, Mascetti G, International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2013 Aug; 14(8): 17168–17192 doi: 10.3390/ijms140817168
AstaPure® EyeQ is a highly pure extract derived from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae. As a microencapsulated, cold water-soluble, 2% natural astaxanthin powder, it can be readily incorporated into multiple supplements . Download the eBook to learn more about AstaPure® EyeQ for eyes and brain health
It was only a matter of time until NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration U.S.A.) began to study the benefits of taking microalgae into space. Consider the resilience of microalgae combined with the many potential health benefits they can provide to the astronauts. Recently, NASA has been testing the growth of microalgae in space for its potential use during long-duration space missions as a source of nutrition, oxygen, waste removal and potentially biofuel.
Consumers are increasingly interested in getting their nutrients from food versus synthetic ingredients. Using AstaPure® Arava powder as an example, we can see that whole food nutrition is obtained from micro-algae that have survived millions of years on this planet.