Astaxanthin is a red-orange carotenoid mainly produced by microalgae (haematococcus pluvialis) and accumulated in many marine organisms. Astaxanthins unique molecular structure gives it unique features such as high antioxidant activity. Previous research suggests that astaxanthin has health-promoting benefits for various conditions such as chronic inflammatory diseases metabolic syndrome diabetes cardiovascular disease neurodegenerative diseases and exercise-induced fatigue.
New research published last month demonstrated that astaxanthin supplementation helps to mitigate muscle damage improve sIgA response and prevent inflammation caused by intense physical training.
There is increasing evidence indicating that prolonged and intensive physical exertion can decrease sIgA concentration and production. Intense exercise elevates the generation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) which may have a negative impact on immune function.
In this double-blind study forty soccer players were randomly given 4 mg of astaxanthin or a placebo supplement daily for 90 days. The results demonstrated an increase in sIgA levels after 90 days of astaxanthin supplementation which was accompanied by a decrease in oxidative stress. In addition there was an increase in neutrophil count and hs-CRP levels in the placebo group which was not seen in the astaxanthin group indicating a significant decrease in the systemic inflammatory response. The increase in sIgA levels after supplementation could indicate the effect of astaxanthin on sIgA production.
Astaxanthin supplementation also attenuated exercise-induced muscle damage evaluated by CK and LDH. It can be suggested that astaxanthin protects the cell membranes against free radicals generated during heavy exercise thus preserving the functionality of muscle cells.
Source: Baralic I Andjelkovic M Djordjevic B et al. Effect of Astaxanthin Supplementation on Salivary IgA Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in Young Soccer Players. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM. 2015;2015:783761. doi:10.1155/2015/783761.