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Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that is linked to healthy skin, heart health, and relief from joint pain. After a couple of successful studies, research suggests that astaxanthin can also reduce depression and stress in healthy subjects, as well as improve memory in people with mild cognitive impairment.
Brain health supplements are natural compounds or plant extracts that improve memory, attention, and alertness in healthy people. One of those ingredients that is causing a sensation in this category is astaxanthin, a carotenoid found naturally in certain plants, animals, and algae.
The powerful antioxidant comes from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. It has been studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, with a focus on eye health. It has cardioprotective properties, also offering immune system modulating and neuroprotective activity.
Double clinical study
Algae Health Sciences has funded two double-blind human clinical trials. Both have been placebo-controlled, using the Astaxanthin product, AstaZine, to test the effects on brain health.
Against depression and fatigue
The first clinical study took place in the United States and focused on psychological mood. 28 healthy, active, non-depressed adults aged 26 to 63 years (mean age = 42) were supplemented with NAX (AstaZine Natural Astaxanthin, BGG / AlgaeHealth Sciences) for 8 weeks. The control group received their corresponding placebo.
The NAX supplement contained an extract of Haematococcus pluvialis, with 12 mg of astaxanthin, which was combined with medium chain triglyceride oil and a small amount of d-alpha tocopherol (10 IU). In this way, they caused the stability of the capsule formulation.
The scientists observed significant improvements in three critical markers. Specifically, they tried to improve feelings of depression, mental fatigue, and general mood. Looking at the results, the researchers reported that depression decreased by 57%, mental fatigue decreased by 36%, and 11% reported an increase in mood.
Study details
The scientists clarified that the people who were part of the study did not show depression. They also confirmed that the results of the study were for psychological mood, which is why they were obtained through subjective questions. "They were asked about their feelings of depression, which were reduced by 57%."
On the other hand, they observed trends towards improvement in other important mental health parameters such as tension, anger and mental confusion.
Supports memory and cognitive function
The second study, conducted in Japan, examined the cognitive health of the participants, with a mean age of 54 years. The subjects in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study were healthy adults who experienced mild forgetfulness. 22 subjects took astaxanthin soft capsules (9 mg) derived from H. pluvialis; while the remaining 22 belonged to the placebo group and took safflower oil pills.
After twelve weeks taking NAX (AstaZine), the treatment group showed a statistically significant improvement compared to placebo. Mainly, improvements were perceived in two tests for cognitive function and memory, and it is that both verbal and compound memory improved significantly. The results were tested by Cognitrax, a computerized testing system used to monitor and measure brain performance.
Regarding the specific results, the composite memory increased by 22.3%, the change in reasoning increased by 48.2% and the subjective symptoms improved by 25% after 12 weeks of supplementation with astaxanthin. This last section refers to the answer to the question: "During the last week, have you had trouble remembering the names of people or things?"

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