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Astaxanthin and Krill Oil Supplements

Updated on August 14, 2012
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Astaxanthin, Antioxidant and Anti Inflammatory

What's all the buzz about astaxanthin and krill oil supplements? Astaxanthin is a cartenoid, a pigment found in foods that acts as an antioxidant. It gives krill, tiny ocean crustaceans, their pink color and also gives salmon its characteristic color. Among plant-based sources, only sea algae contains astaxanthin.

Of all the antioxidants, astaxanthin offers tremendous potential as an antioxidant. Some physicians and natural health experts such as Dr. Joseph Mercola, M.D., touts the benefits of krill oil as an anti-inflammatory and a potential memory enhancer. Not only does krill and salmon contain the potent pink antioxidant, it also offers plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids, another antioxidant that calms inflammation. It's important to note, however, that long term, rigorous studies have not yet been conducted to prove this theory.

Supplements for Astaxanthin

In order to obtain high amounts of astaxanthin, you'd have to eat a lot of salmon, and that has its pros and cons. It's tough to buy, prepare and eat enough wild-caught salmon to reap the benefits of astaxanthin. Wild salmon also has higher levels of mercury and other toxic heavy metals than in years past thanks to the build up of pollution in the oceans of the world. Farm raised salmon doesn't eat the same food as wild salmon; the pink color of farm-raised salmon often comes from dyes added to their food so that they look the same as their wild cousins. Although salmon is a healthy food, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to eat enough to reap the purported health benefits.

Krill oil supplements offer the distinct advantage of a processed, concentrated form of fish oil supplement that is also high is astaxanthin as well as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Krill are plentiful and haven't been over fished. They eat low on the food chain and consume sea plants and micro algae for food, reducing their exposure to the harmful heavy metals and toxins swirling about in the oceans.

Choose krill oil supplements free from artificial dyes, colors, and preservatives. Two piece capsules are recommended by most experts over gel caps. Gel caps need stabilizers to maintain integrity, and add unnecessary chemicals to a health supplement. Two piece capsules protect the viability of the fish oil longer as they act as a stronger barrier against oxygen. Gel caps often contain gelatin, an extract made from cows, which some cultures consider unclean. Krill oil supplements are neither vegetarian nor vegan, and thus not a good supplement for people avoiding animal products.

Warnings and Cautions

If you're allergic to seafood or shellfish, do not consume krill oil supplements for astaxanthin, as they may cause a potentially deadly reaction. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience swelling of the throat, tongue or difficulty breathing after taking a supplement.

People with thyroid conditions should check with their doctor before taking krill oil. Some seafood products may interfere with medications and tests for thyroid disease.

Only a doctor can diagnose, treat or prescribe medication. Readers of this article agree that they take full responsibility for their health. Always tell your doctor about all supplements you are taking, and do not take this or any other supplement if you have any medical conditions or are taking medication unless advise by your physician. Talk to your doctor with any questions.


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