If you’re worried about UV radiation damage but you’re not willing to accept the dangers that come with sunscreen use, you might want to turn to astaxanthin supplements. A new study has confirmed that the supplement offers innate sun protection while reducing UV damage and skin aging.
The researchers in this study followed 23 healthy adults from Japan between the ages of 30 and 56 for a total of ten weeks in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study. The participants were given either 4 mg of astaxanthin per day or a placebo pill for nine weeks; an additional week of base measurements preceded the study.
The researchers analyzed UV-induced changes in the skin at the baseline and after nine weeks of treatment or a placebo, and they used a subjective visual analog scale to measure the skin’s texture and any improvement of rough skin.
They found that astaxanthin was protective against UV-induced skin deterioration and that it helped people maintain healthy skin. It’s interesting to note that astaxanthin actually enters the layers of the skin from the inside, boosting your cells’ natural power to fight UV radiation damage by dealing with reactive free radicals. They cautioned that daily intake is necessary in order to keep a sufficient level of astaxanthin in the body.
While the researchers were quick to emphasize that dietary supplements should not be seen as replacements for sunscreen blockers and avoiding sun exposure at high-risk times, astaxanthin can be used as yet another tool in a multipronged approach to protect skin.
Past studies have shown that 4 mg of astaxanthin daily can rejuvenate facial skin by reducing oxidative stress. It was also found to boost skin’s elasticity and smoothness, smooth out fine wrinkles, and increase moisture.
Astaxanthin’s benefits extend beyond skin
Although its skin protection benefits are reason enough to take astaxanthin, this fat-soluble antioxidant may also help to reduce tissue and joint inflammation, support muscle recovery, prevent UV damage to the eyes, and protect the brain from abnormal neurological functioning.
It is often used by endurance athletes; the antioxidant, which gives salmon its pink shade, is believed to be the reason that salmon have such impressive endurance when swimming upstream.
Compare this with sunscreen, which many people rely on to protect their skin from the sun. Modern sunscreens are full of unsafe ingredients that can not only harm your health, but some actually promote skin cancer. When avobenzone, for example, comes into contact with chlorinated water like that in your pool, it produces toxic chemicals that have been linked to cancer, infertility and immune system deterioration. Another common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, is a hormone disruptor that has been linked to endometriosis. Meanwhile, octinoxate encourages premature aging and has a negative impact on the thyroid gland and reproductive system.
Many sunscreens on the market also contain synthetic preservatives known as parabens, which are included to stop microbial growth in the sunscreen. Parabens have been linked to allergic reactions, hormonal disruption, and neurotoxicity. Meanwhile, the synthetic fragrances found in sunscreen are associated with headaches, asthma, nausea, and even cancer.
That’s why anything you can do to reduce your dependence on sunscreen can make a difference to your overall health. Astaxanthin is considered nature’s sunscreen, making it a popular choice for health-conscious individuals. Of course, it’s also important keep in mind that a little bit of sun exposure is actually good for you and even necessary to boost your body’s production of vitamin D, which reduces your risk of a host of health ailments. When it comes to the sun, it’s important to strike the right balance.