According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, claiming a life every 36 seconds.
For those who do survive heart failure, oxidative stress is a major problem. While we tend to hear the term “antioxidant” so often that the word seems to fall into the background, the truth is, we need strong antioxidants. This pilot study shows that astaxanthin is one of them.
Astaxanthin is a uniquely-structured carotenoid, in the same family as beta-carotene and lutein. It is found in many sources, including yeast, salmon, trout, krill, and shrimp, although one of the richest dietary sources of astaxanthin is from Haematococcus pluvialis, a freshwater form of green microalgae.
In this clinical trial, patients with left-ventricular systolic dysfunction showed improved heart muscle contractions and exercise tolerability after just three months of astaxanthin supplementation. It also reduced markers of oxidative stress, indicating its actions in protecting the entire cardiovascular system.
Astaxanthin is a strong free radical fighter. Comparisons vary, but one statistic mentioned in this study is that astaxanthin’s antioxidant activity is 100-fold higher than alpha-tocopherol, a type of vitamin E. That ability means that is also a strong anti-inflammatory, and especially valuable to heart patients who are susceptible to inflammatory stresses.
Kato T, Kasai T, Sato A, Ishiwata S, Yatsu S, Matsumoto H, Shitara J, Murata A, Shimizu M, Suda S, Hiki M, Naito R, Daida H. Effects of 3-Month Astaxanthin Supplementation on Cardiac Function in Heart Failure Patients with Left Ventricular Systolic Dysfunction-A Pilot Study. Nutrients. 2020 Jun 26;12(6):1896.
Astaxanthin has strong antioxidant properties. We conducted a prospective pilot study on heart failure (HF) patients with left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction to investigate improvements in cardiac function and exercise tolerance in relation to suppression of oxidative stress by 3-month astaxanthin supplementation. Oxidative stress markers-serum Diacron reactive oxygen metabolite (dROM), biological antioxidant potential (BAP), and urinary 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) concentrations, LV ejection fraction (LVEF), and 6-min walk distance (6MWD) were assessed before and after 3-month astaxanthin supplementation. Finally, the data of 16 HF patients were analyzed. Following 3-month astaxanthin supplementation, dROM level decreased from 385.6 ± 82.6 U.CARR to 346.5 ± 56.9 U.CARR (p = 0.041) despite no changes in BAP and urinary 8-OHdG levels. LVEF increased from 34.1 ± 8.6% to 38.0 ± 10.0% (p = 0.031) and 6MWD increased from 393.4 ± 95.9 m to 432.8 ± 93.3 m (p = 0.023). Significant relationships were observed between percent changes in dROM level and those in LVEF. In this study, following 3-month astaxanthin supplementation, suppressed oxidative stress and improved cardiac contractility and exercise tolerance were observed in HF patients with LV systolic dysfunction. Correlation between suppression of oxidative stress and improvement of cardiac contractility suggests that suppression of oxidative stress by astaxanthin supplementation had therapeutic potential to improve cardiac functioning.
Heart Disease stat from the CDC: “Heart Disease Facts.” Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm. Accessed: April 28, 2021.
[Connect on Social Media and sign up for my E-Newsletter]
[Choose from topics below to personalize articles fed to your home page]