Unlike the synthetic kind, natural astaxanthin is extracted from marine algae and often referred to as the ‘king of carotenoids’ – high levels can be found in seafood such as salmon, prawns and lobsters.
In five out of six clinical studies, the natural form has specifically been documented to increase strength and endurance. In fact, the first human study on astaxanthin and endurance showed that athletes who took 4mg of natural astaxanthin every day over 6 months reported a 62% improvement in muscular strength, power output and endurance.
We spoke with nutrition and exercise scientist Kathleen Alleaume, who shared why she believes natural astaxanthin is one of the most underrated supplements available on the market.
“The health benefits of astaxanthin have been well-studied – from enhanced energy metabolism and immunity, to feeling and looking younger during the aging process, and even improved male fertility – so it’s any wonder why it hasn’t yet become a household name,” Kathleen said.
“Because of its ability to improve muscular endurance and strength, this antioxidant powerhouse is particularly beneficial for athletes who race or compete for longer periods of time like marathon runners, long-distance swimmers or cyclists and triathletes.
“But you don’t need to be a professional athlete to reap the benefits of natural astaxanthin, just 4-6 milligrams a day can assist with improving recovery after exercise and reduce joint and muscle soreness after exercise – among many other things!”
Here, Kathleen shares some of the top benefits of Natural Astaxanthin for athletes.
1. Increased strength and endurance
A four week study revealed that competitive cyclists who took 4mg of Natural Astaxanthin per day were on average 5% quicker when compared to a group taking placebo, with their overall power also increasing by 15%. So, if you’re looking to improve your strength and endurance, you may see results from taking astaxanthin regularly.
2. Faster muscle recovery post-exercise and anti-inflammatory properties
Having such intense antioxidant powers, astaxanthin can also have a significant effect on athletes in reducing muscle damage and muscle soreness after a workout, training or race and preventing muscle fatigue. This, in turn, means a speedier recovery.
3. Improved joint and tendon mobility
Studies have shown that a daily intake of astaxanthin may alleviate pain and increase joint range of motion in athletes. For example, tennis players struck with a ‘tennis elbow’ is the result of an overuse injury – a group of athletes took natural astaxanthin over an eight-week period and their grip strength increased by a whopping 93%!
4. Decreased heart rate
There has also been some research linking the supplement to reduced heart rates of endurance athletes, for example, marathon runners. For people concerned about their heart health, a regular intake of astaxanthin may also assist in optimal cardiovascular function.
5. Anti-ageing support
Through the numerous effects this antioxidant has on the human body, it’s no surprise that it also helps us stay strong and healthy through the ageing process. Even if you’re not an athlete, astaxanthin is said to also assist in the long-term healing of scars, eye and brain health, cardiovascular support, skin improvements and UV protection.