Astaxanthin For Dogs: A Powerful Antioxidant !
Astaxanthin For Dogs: A Powerful Antioxidant !
Fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids isn’t the only thing from the ocean that can improve function in the human body. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment that occurs in trout, microalgae, yeast, and shrimp, among other sea creatures. It’s most commonly found in Pacific salmon and is what gives the fish its pinkish color.
An antioxidant, Astaxanthin is said to have many health benefits. It’s been linked to healthier skin, endurance, heart health, joint pain, and may even have a future in cancer treatment.
Astaxanthin For Dogs: Protect Against Cancer, Joint Pain And More! And a Powerful Antioxidant !
Astaxanthin belongs to a group of compounds called carotenoids. Carotenoids are pigment colors that occur in nature. Another carotenoid example would be beta carotene. It’s the orange pigment that makes foods like orange peppers, well, orange.
Astaxanthin is a red pigment and it actually turns animals that eat it pink also. Salmon, shrimp, and flamingos wouldn’t be pink without Astaxanthin in their diet.
In fact, it’s added to many goldfish foods to keep them a nice deep orange color. And flamingos are actually born with grey feathers. They don’t turn pink until they start eating their natural diet of algae and crustaceans.
But don’t worry … your dog won’t turn pink if he eats it. And there are plenty of good reasons to give your dog Astaxanthin.
How Astaxanthin Works
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are an important nutrient to fight against free radical damage.
Due to the fact that Astaxanthin has a massive surplus of free electrons, its antioxidant capacity will last a lot longer. Once it has donated the electrons to neutralize free radicals, it will eliminate the excess energy as heat.
It can handle multiple free radicals at any given time — most antioxidants can only handle one free radical at a time, but Astaxanthin can handle up to 19 free radicals at once.
It positions itself across the entire cell membrane, which is unlike any other carotenoid:
A portion will attach to the exterior of the cell (offers protection from free radicals outside of the cell).
A portion will attach to the interior (offers protection inside where there are free radicals being generated).
A portion crosses the entire lipid layer (to protect against lipid peroxidation)
Free radicals are unpaired electrons that accumulate in cells as a byproduct of metabolism. And the immune system sometimes uses them to fight viruses and bacteria.
They also form when your dog is exposed to toxins such as:
Once free radicals form in cells, their single electron makes them very unstable. So they react quickly with other compounds to capture a second electron. Once they have the second electron they become stable again.
And they often just attack the closest stable molecule and steal its electron. So the damaged molecule with the missing electron becomes another free radical … and a chain reaction is set in motion.
This process is called oxidative stress. This is what causes damage to the cells, proteins, and DNA in your dog’s body. And why free radicals are associated with common diseases including cancer, and premature aging.
Astaxanthin For Cell Protection
Astaxanthin is designed perfectly to protect all parts of the cell. And it actually positions itself across the entire cell membrane. Which means it’s able to protect the entire cell.
Astaxanthin for dogs is better than most other antioxidants such as vitamin E. Why? Well, it’s able to control multiple free radicals at a time.
And Astaxanthin forms an electron cloud around the molecule and absorbs free radicals as they pass.
Its antioxidant strength is up to 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C and 800 times stronger than CoQ10.
And unlike other antioxidants, it never becomes a pro-oxidant in the body. It’s not called the “King of carotenoids” for nothing.
So let’s look at some of the more important Astaxanthin uses – ones I use for dogs in my practice.
1. Dry Eye And Retina Health
Keratoconjuctivitis sicca (KCS) is a condition that is referred to as “dry eye” in dogs. I like to use astaxanthin to treat dry eye. It works as an anti-inflammatory. The medical term means inflammation of the cornea and surrounding tissues from dryness.
It’s a result of inadequate production of the aqueous portion of the tear film. And this film protects a dog’s eye by the lacrimal gland (a gland of the third eyelid gland).
Conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, and reactions to sulfa drugs may cause KCS. But the gland can rejuvenate with the proper holistic management. And Astaxanthin can cross the barrier to reach the retina, a barrier that few make it through.
I would also recommend Astaxanthin for retinal detachment and eyesight in general. Although it’s relatively new on the scene, it’s an important one for eye health. And it’s not hard for me to imagine that it would be very effective in preventing cataracts.
2. Joint Health
Astaxanthin is a serious anti-inflammatory. So it’s great for joint health too. Measure it against any other joint product you use for your dogs.
It actually blocks and handles several different chemicals that create pain. And it reduces inflammation in the body which always leads to chronic disease.
3. Heart Disease
Astaxanthin was found to reduce C-Reactive Protein (CRP) in the body. CRP is a key indicator of heart disease and lowering CRP can help prevent as well as treat heart problems.
I would recommend Astanxanthin before CoQ10 as it is 800 times more powerful.
Astaxanthin is also great at supporting:
But not all Astaxanthin is the same …
Natural Sources Of Astaxanthin
The primary industrial source for natural Astaxanthin is the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. It seems to accumulate the highest levels of Astaxanthin in nature..
Hemoatococcus pluvialis is a source used to make human and pet Astaxanthin supplements.
Beware Synthetic Astaxanthin
Commercial Astaxanthin for aquaculture is produced synthetically and can be found selling at over many thousand dollars a kilo.
However, synthetic production of Astaxanthin contains a mixture of stereoisomers. Stereoisomers are molecules with the same molecular formula … but are arranged differently in three-dimensional space.
Some of these stereoisomers affect digestibility and bioavailability. And why you want to avoid synthetic Astaxanthin. Your dog needs to be able to absorb it to get health benefits.
Synthetic Astaxanthin is not approved for human use …
And likely because of petrochemicals used in Astaxanthin synthesis. So why would you want to give it to your dog?
Synthetic Astaxanthin is also used in animal feeds, especially in the fish farming industry. So when you buy salmon, whether for you or your dog, make sure you always buy wild, not farmed salmon.
Food Sources Of Astaxanthin
If you want to feed Astaxanthin-rich foods, the best is wild Pacific salmon.
Like other carotenoids, astaxanthin has self-limited absorption orally. And it has low toxicity by mouth and no toxic syndrome is known. So it’s very safe for your dog.
Now, as I threatened, here’s the test: can you spell the A word? And say it really fast 10 times in a row?