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Do you love a good challenge? I sure do! How about figuring out how to pronounce Astaxanthin? Easy, I got your back, its asta-ZAN-thin. It sounds great and rolls off the tongue… well maybe not quite at first, but once you got it, I find it to be quite a sexy word. Ears definitely perk up when you mention it, and I’ve always been intrigued by conversations around it.
Before I continue, it’s worth mentioning that Astaxanthin is NOT made from flamingos, but rather it’s the element that’s responsible for flamingo’s iconic pink-orange color. Hense the cover photo.
At a recent dinner party, a plate of wild salmon was served and I became excited when I heard the sexy, astaxanthin being mentioned. “Did you know that we’re getting our daily dose of antioxidants from the astaxanthin in this salmon, which is also what makes it pink” a friend began. Eager to add to the conversation, I began to share bits of intriguing information I’ve accumulated over the years surrounding my sexy friend, astaxanthin.
Adding to the sexiness of our conversation, I brought up that astaxanthin belongs to a group of naturally-occurring pigments called carotenoid (not quite as sexy sounding though), the compounds in our food that give off its natural brilliant colors. There are hundreds of these carotenoids, but you’re most likely familiar with beta-carotene, which of course you can find in fresh farm produce like carrots.
*A fun fact: My daughter had a party trick when she was just 2 years old reciting the goodness found in carrots (which she would eat by the dozen) by naming and spelling these words: beta-carotene, antioxidants, carotenoid… She would stun my friends when she began to explain what each one was and their health benefits. As you can see, we like to start promoting well being at a young age here at MAHALO 🙂
We are, however, looking at a particular antioxidant today – astaxanthin, for its mega-rich antioxidant properties which is best found in marine micro algae (Haematococcus pluvialis). It is also found in other marine animals such as salmon and krill who consume this algae, in the yeast (Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous) and the syntheticly-derived astaxanthin, however you will not find anywhere near the same level of antioxidants in these latter forms. Micro algae is an amazing and fascinating sea form that has the ability to consistently grow and double in population and trumps countless other antioxidants by miles for its potent powers.
My fascination grew the more I researched and read about astaxanthin and I saw the possibilities of this sexy algae becoming a permanent fixture in my life. MAHALO knew this early on after years of research and formulation and has included this antioxidant authority in an intelligent complex of actives found in The BEAN antioxidant mask.
There are some interesting studies to be found surrounding the mention of astaxanthin in skin care, with increasing numbers of clinical research pointing towards a strong case of the positive effects on our skin. By providing high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory protection, specifically aiding with problems such as hyperpigmentation and aging skin, this little powerhouse also aids in giving back the skin’s natural elasticity. Now that’s something to get excited about! Not to mention being a strong protector against UV damage and environmental pollution, this is one antioxidant that we are definitely excited to have in the MAHALO family.
Another interesting find is that astaxanthin works to enhance the performance of other antioxidants within its range. Meaning it works with other antioxidants within its surroundings and the more there are, the more powerful they become. Confused?! I was at first too so let’s break it down with THE BEAN mask. The combination of antioxidant containing ingredients in THE BEAN mask just shoots this powerhouse skin treat straight through the roof.
Antioxidants featured in The BEAN mask are:
- Astaxanthin – the powerhouse “secret weapon” ingredient of The BEAN mask. Recent clinical study found this carotenoid to be the strongest antioxidant against singlet oxygen (a reactive oxygen species that directly damages biological lipids, proteins and DNA). Asaxanthin’s unparalleled ability to fight free radical scavengers is attributed to being 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins and 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid (from clinical research by Nishida Y./2007). This powerhouse ingredient provides new dimension in skin treatment technology, effectively working to revitalize dull, tired, prematurely-aging and environmentally stressed skin.
- Cacao – this antioxidant-rich raw superfood is bursting with vitamins, minerals, raw enzymes and omega fatty acids that help in preventing free radical damage that cause premature aging and inflammation. It promotes circulation, and increase cellular healing resulting in a toned, bright and youthful complexion
- Green Coffee Bean Oil – acclaimed as one of the best free radical scavengers, it’s largely superior in antioxidant activity than that of Vitamin C (chlorogenic acid) and green tea (polyphenols), with enzyme content more potent than CoQ10. It’s prized for its age reversing, anti-inflammatory, and ability to reverse cellular damage caused by UV rays and environmental pollution
- Tomato Lycopene – accumulation of lycopene increases its potency
- Edelweiss – a plant from the beautiful and healing the Swiss Alps contains phytochemicals all high in antioxidant performance
- Carrot Seed – the antioxidants in this ingredient repair damaged skin and help to prevent further damage happening
- Watermelon extract – contains more of the antioxidant lycopene than fresh tomatoes
- Sea Buckthorn – a super-berry full of Vitamin E
- Ceylon Cinnamon – packed with protective antioxidants polyphenols, phenolic acid, and flavonoids
- Phytosterols – increases the activity of antioxidant enzymes reducing oxidative stress
- Vitamin E – an effective moisturizer which protects, firms and repairs
As you can see each ingredient above is packed with antioxidants and together they unlock and strengthen one another to their full potential, with our sassy astaxanthin ruling over their activity. This makes the statement of “the whole is bigger than the sum of it’s parts” the most relevant.
Because of this super powerhouse ingredient, MAHALO has now added it to the already extremely potent and healing The VITALITY ELIXIR multi-correctional facial serum. The formulation hasn’t changed, only the addition of astaxanthin to boosts its healing benefits by working together with the other antioxidants already working their magic. A new batch is brewing as you read this! Also note, astaxanthin in The VITALITY ELIXIR is derived from algae grown in pure water vats specifically for our chemist who produces this extract for us.
In short, the benefits of astaxanthin in skin care is quite apparent:
- Works with other antioxidants to boost their potency
- Helps to reduce moisture loss and keep skin fresh and healthy promoting a smooth complexion
- Breaks down collagen to increase skin elasticity and plump skin
- Works against age spots and wrinkles
- Boosts cell renewal working towards anti-aging
- Absorbs specific ultra-violet rays to combat free radicals towards skin cancer formation
- Helps your body to support and protect against photo aging and sun induced damage
- Acts as an inflammation pathway and balances our system
Don’t be fooled by the name though. Just because you are getting astaxanthin in your products or produce unfortunately doesn’t always mean it carries with it the beneficial properties it’s known for. As with many ingredients and products out there in the market, many are sourced and made unethically, therefore ensuring you are sourcing from a reputable supplier as MAHALO Skin Care does makes all the difference. MAHALO looks at the supplier’s extraction process to ensure it is using a toxic free extraction while applying all the highest quality standards. Responsible and sustainable practices are a must for MAHALO and working towards creating a low environmental and social impact during sourcing of any ingredients.
FUN ASTAXANTHIN FACTS
- Baby flamingos are born white and it’s not until they consume astaxanthin that they get their pink color
- Animals do not produce astaxanthin, they get it from plants they eat
- It’s a fat-soluble supplement helping to support brain function like your vision
- The most potent antioxidant offered by nature
- Handles more free radicals than any other antioxidant out there
- When other antioxidants are depleted after transferring their free radicals, astaxanthin remains active and does not break down
- Known to naturally reduce sunburn (shown with long term consumption)
- Possible to cross the blood-brain and blood-retinal barrier to offer protection to both the brain and eyes
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jp4121436
https://www.fda.gov/ Timothy J. Maher, Ph.D. Sawyer Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences Dean, Research and Sponsored Programs Professor of Pharmacology Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences