Most people are familiar with vitamin C and the role it plays in strengthening immune function however, few are likely aware of the similar yet more potent antioxidant astaxanthin vitamin. The health benefits of both vitamin C and astaxanthin supplementation are due to their antioxidant properties.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds which prevent oxidation and are produced naturally by our bodies but can also be found in plant-based whole foods. Antioxidants found in astaxanthin and vitamin C help neutralize free radicals which are a natural byproduct of oxidation, thereby helping maintain health skin and hair, as well as optimal organ function. Smoking, exposure to pollutants, alcohol intake, unhealthy diet, and obesity can increase oxidative stress. Premature aging, skin damage, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and cardiovascular disease are all believed to be linked to oxidative stress.
There are a vast number of naturally occurring antioxidants, but today we’re going to look at two common ones: astaxanthin and vitamin C: which one is better?
Astaxanthin Vs. Vitamin C: Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) is a powerful antioxidant helps maintain healthy skin and a strong immune system. Research has shown that vitamin C may play a critical role in decreasing risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and supporting a healthy immune system. Additionally, it helps combat the oxidative stress that UV light can cause, as well as helps in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that keeps skin bouncy and youthful.
Humans don’t naturally create vitamin C, so it’s important to get it from foods we eat, though it’s fairly easy to do: Just one red bell pepper or a glass of fortified orange juice both have enough vitamin C to meet the daily requirements.
Astaxanthin Vs. Vitamin C: Benefits of Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is a bright red carotenoid pigment found naturally in marine life such as salmon, shrimp, lobster, and algae, and it lends such animals with their distinctive pinkish coloring. The pigment was found to prevent oxidative stress damage in aquatic animals and has gained popularity as a potential neutralizer of harmful free radicals in humans as well. Natural astaxanthin can be consumed in smaller doses from seafood such as salmon and shrimp, but is even more effective if supplemented directly from the source: algae. GEM sources astaxanthin from red algae or Haematococcus pluvialis, keeping the chemical in its most natural, easily absorbed form.
Astaxanthin Vs. Vitamin C: Which Is Better?
When comparing vitamin C and astaxanthin’s antioxidant capabilities, an astaxanthin supplement is the clear winner.
Astaxanthin has been shown to be stronger than more well known antioxidants such as vitamin C, lutein, and beta-carotene. In fact, studies have shown that astaxanthin is almost 6000 times more powerful than the widely renowned vitamin C. Additionally, it’s more potent at lower concentrations, with benefits being observed at just 4 mg a day compared to 75-90 mg of vitamin C daily.
Both astaxanthin and vitamin C have shown to have photoprotective properties as antioxidants combat the oxidative stress caused by UV-light. However, astaxanthin appears to repair sun damage more efficiently. Although more research is needed to further study both astaxanthin and vitamin C’s effects on skin health, astaxanthin appears to be a more effective antioxidant for both topical and oral skin protection.
Astaxanthin also has the specialized ability to cross the blood-brain barrier making it a strong protective agent against certain neurodegenerative diseases and eye health.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, helping our body’s carry out vital processes. However, as long as you are consuming the recommended amount of vitamin C daily, astaxanthin presents a more potent dietary supplement for functions such as skin and eye health, immunity, and minimizing oxidative stress.