Astaxanthin: This Super-Antioxidant Improves Mitochondrial Function in Dogs Young and Old
February 06, 2013
By Dr. Becker
A study conducted at Washington State University and published recently in the Journal of Animal Science1 indicates that supplementation with astaxanthin improves mitochondrial function in dogs. Specifically, the researchers concluded that:
“Dietary astaxanthin improved mitochondrial function in blood leukocytes, most likely by alleviating oxidative damage to cellular DNA and protein.”
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are colorful plant pigments and astaxanthin is actually responsible for the bright red color of krill oil and the pink flesh of wild caught salmon. Carotenoids have powerful antioxidant properties, and research indicates they are also anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory agents.
Mitochondria are present in almost all the cells of the body, and their job is to produce energy. They are sometimes referred to as “tiny power plants.”
Mitochondrial dysfunction or disease means there’s an energy generation problem, with the result that certain functions in the body don’t work properly. In humans, diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction include autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Astaxanthin Study with Beagles
The WSU study involved both young and geriatric healthy female Beagles. The dogs were fed 20 mgs of astaxanthin daily for 16 weeks. Fasting blood samples were taken at the start of the study, again at 8 weeks, and again at completion of the trial.
Mitochondrial function improved in both the young and elderly Beagles. In the older dogs, astaxanthin supplementation increased ATP production, mitochondria mass, and cytochrome c oxidoreductase activity. In the young dogs, astaxanthin increased the reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione ratio. It decreased nitric oxide in all the dogs.
This Study is More Evidence of the Benefits of My Favorite Whole Food Supplement for Pets
Astaxanthin is known as the “king of the carotenoid family.” It’s a naturally occurring, non-toxic source of vitamin A that is hundreds of times more potent than vitamin E, ten times more potent than beta-carotene, and about five times more potent than lutein as a functional antioxidant.
Astaxanthin fights oxidative stress and free radical damage. It has very strong free radical scavenging abilities and helps protect cells, organs and tissues from oxidative damage.
Astaxanthin provides antioxidants to parts of the body that don’t normally receive a lot of antioxidant benefit. It can cross the blood-brain barrier and the blood-retina barrier. This means it can help reduce the potential for diseases of the central nervous system, the spinal cord, and the eye. Astaxanthin also supports immune function thanks to its high levels of beta-carotene.
Studies also show astaxanthin supports joint and muscle recovery after exercise, and cardiovascular health in dogs and cats.