Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin [e.g. krill oil] on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes – Source: British Journal of Nutrition, Jan 31, 2011

[Note: Peroxidation is damage to the fatty acid-rich structures of cells such as erythrocytes (red blood cells). Phospholid hydroperoxide is the enzyme that causes peroxidation. Carotenoids are colored chemicals synthesized by plants & algae. One type of “polar” or cold-water carotenoid – astaxanthin – is rich in salmon and krill (minute shrimplike creatures that feed on algae & in turn are eaten by fish).]

Phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH) accumulate abnormally in the erythrocytes of dementia patients, and dietary xanthophylls (polar carotenoids such as astaxanthin) are hypothesized to prevent the accumulation.

In the present study, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial to assess the efficacy of 12-week astaxanthin supplementation (6 or 12 mg/d) on both astaxanthin and PLOOH levels in the erythrocytes of thirty middle-aged and senior subjects.

After 12 weeks of treatment:

• Erythrocyte astaxanthin concentrations were higher in both the 6 and 12 mg astaxanthin groups than in the placebo group.

• In contrast, erythrocyte PLOOH concentrations were lower in the astaxanthin groups than in the placebo group.

• In the plasma [yellow-colored liquid in which blood cells are suspended], somewhat lower PLOOH levels were found after astaxanthin treatment.

These results suggest that astaxanthin supplementation results in improved erythrocyte antioxidant status and decreased PLOOH levels, which may contribute to the prevention of dementia.

Source: British Journal of Nutrition, Jan 31, 2011. PMID: 21276280, by Nakagawa K, Kiko T, Miyazawa T, Carpentero Burdeos G, Kimura F, Satoh A, Miyazawa T. Food and Biodynamic Chemistry Laboratory, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan; Life Science Institute, Shizuoka, Japan. [Email –]

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