I must admit, the title for this article is slightly misleading. Not only does the focus of today’s column improve aging skin, it has also been shown to reduce inflammation, support eye health, improve arterial health and much more. So really, the headline ‘Help for Aging Skin’ is selling this nutritional powerhouse more than a little short.

Astaxanthin (pronounced “asta-Zan-thin”) is the naturally-occurring carotenoid found in algae, shrimp and salmon among others. Called the “king of carotenoids”, astaxanthin has significant antioxidant activity. In fact, as a free radical scavenger, it’s 65 times more powerful than vitamin C and 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene.

When it comes to skin health, numerous studies show astaxanthin improves the appearance and texture of skin. In as little as 6-8 weeks, it has been shown to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet and age spots, improve skin elasticity and enhance moisture. Interestingly, it also acts as an internal sunscreen, protecting the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays thus potentially delaying sunburn.

As if this weren’t impressive enough, the benefits of astaxanthin are beyond skin deep. In fact, because it can cross the blood-brain and blood-retinal barrier, astaxanthin can reduce the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration and dementia. It’s also been shown to help relieve pain and inflammation, reducing a variety of inflammatory markers including COX-2 and CRP.

If you decide to try a supplement, make sure it’s from algae and not synthetic (petrochemical) sources. My favorite product for organic Non-GMO Project Verified astaxanthin is New Chapter’s Perfect Hair, Skin and Nails. In addition to algae-derived astaxanthin, this comprehensive formula includes fermented biotin to build keratin for healthy hair & strong nails.

Mike Ventresca is the owner of Vital Choice Healthstore located at 9243 Sprague Road in North Royalton’s Timber Ridge Plaza. The phone number is 440-885-9505. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.