Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 56 INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT JUNE 2018 T he worldwide prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, cou- pled with the proactive wellness practices increasingly adopted by consumers today, are driving de- mand for dietary supplements with proven benef ts for cardiovascular health. Astaxanthin is an extremely po- tent antioxidant, and its unique chemical properties make it an ideal ingredient for heart health supplements. T ere is a growing body of scientif c evidence sup- porting the benef ts of astaxanthin for heart health, including reduced oxidative stress and inf ammation, improved lipid prof les, and better blood f ow. Global Burden of Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have become one of the primary health concerns worldwide. Ev- ery year, disorders of the heart and blood vessels take the lives of 17.7 million people, accounting for a staggering 31% of all global deaths. 1 T is number is project- ed to reach 23.3 million by 2030 2 due to population aging and unhealthy lifestyles. CVDs are equally alarming when it comes to their f nancial burden. T e cu- mulative economic losses from CVDs in low- and middle-income countries from 2011 to 2025 is es- timated at $3.76 trillion. 3 Given these sobering statistics, it is not surprising that cardiovascu- lar health is an important topic for consumers of dietary supplements. In the past three consumer surveys measuring consumer attitudes to- wards dietary supplements con- ducted by the Council for Respon- sible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC), heart health ranked number six or higher among the reasons why Americans take supplements. 4,5,6 Astaxanthin: A Potent Antioxidant A powerful antioxidant that is at- tracting a lot of interest in the heart health category is astaxanthin, a naturally occurring carotenoid (or- ganic pigment) sourced from the mi- croalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. In nature, astaxanthin is produced by microalgae as a defense mechanism against harsh environmental condi- tions. For humans, astaxanthin is a powerful dietary supplement that can provide a superior nutritional advantage. Due to its unique chemical properties, astaxanthin is regarded as one of the most powerful natu- ral antioxidants known. It is 6,000 times more powerful than vitamin C, 100 times more powerful than vitamin E, and f ve times more Astaxanthin and Heart Health Research has shown that astaxanthin can reduce oxidative stress and infl ammation, improve lipid profi les, and promote better blood fl ow. By Tryggvi Stefánsson, PhD, Algalif ERAXION/ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

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