Are you sun savvy and how do you protect yourself from the harmful UVA rays? Sunburn is a type of inflammation and if there is already inflammation in the body it is more likely to burn. So it makes sense to eat a naturally occurring low-inflammation diet and to take one of nature's strongest antioxidants and most powerful sun screen protection.
My go-to summer supplement is Astaxanthin - a potent naturally occurring carotenoid found in food like salmon and krill. It works as an internal sunscreen since it reduces inflammation and helps reduce UVA damage to skin cells.
I have been taking Astaxanthin for a few years now and it is great for my fair skin and prevents me from burning or getting freckles.
It is one of the most powerful and most studied carotenoids and is produced when a certain type of algae dries up and then creates Astaxanthin as a protection from the heat and sun. It does this in an attempt to save itself and to stay alive when it loses its water/nutrient supply. The pigment works as a sunscreen that protects the algae from the sun. How incredible is nature? In the same way Astaxanthin works as an internal sunscreen for humans and will give skin a natural and very subtle red/brown pigment.
If that's not enough, it is considered;
- 6,000 times as potent as Vitamin C
- 550 times the antioxidant strength of Vitamin E
- 800 times that of CoQ10
- 200 times that of polyphenols
- 150 times that of anthocyanins
- 75 times that of alpha lipoic acid
It has the ability to reduce inflammation and free radicals and has several unique properties that make it especially beneficial;
- It is able to cross the blood/brain barrier and the blood/retina barrier so that it can benefit the brain and the eyes. (Many antioxidants do not have this ability).
- Astaxanthin is now used by many athletes, especially endurance athletes.
- It reduces free radicals to speed up recovery time.
- Reduces production and storage of Lactic Acid. This reduces muscle soreness and fat storage - too much lactic acid in the body creates fat storage.
Astaxanthin can be found in algae and in the fish that consume it, including salmon and krill (hence the carotenoid that gives salmon its bright red colour). And it apparently gives the fish the endurance they need to swim upstream. An obvious cue as to why it would work well for athletes too.
Not that long ago we would have been able to eat salmon, shrimp, lobster, and other fish containing Astaxanthin on a daily basis without any health worries. Sadly, today that is not possible with farmed fish and the potential threat of mercury and other heavy metals! When you think you are getting a natural dietary source of it, you might not be. If you see it in the supermarket as red, it is often because of added colouring. Farm raised fish are fed pellets containing the synthetic version, in order to give their flesh that red appearance when it reaches your kitchen table.
So the next best thing is to supplement with Astaxanthin. The trusted astaxanthin supplement brands all derive it naturally from H. pluvialis, the same green algae that fish and seafood get it from. Please understand that it's a fat-soluble substance. So do not take it with just a glass of water or your morning coffee. In order for your body to absorb it, it's best to take with meals or snacks, preferably those which contain at least 10 - 15% fats. 4mg is the daily recommended dose.