Cyanotech’s algae farms at Keahole Point Hawaii.

Cyanotech’s algae farms at Keahole Point Hawaii. Photo: Cyanotech

Case Adams writes in Naturopath that several recent studies are suggesting that a nutrient derived from commercially farmed Astaxanthin may well be part of the solution for cognitive impairment and conditions relating to neuron damage such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Last month researchers from China’s Fujian Medical University tested Astaxanthin with nerve cells and found that the nutrient blocked the type of oxidative stress that has been identified as the primary cause of neuron damage that result in brain and nerve damage.

The researchers found that Astaxanthin blocked the MPP+ related Heme oxygenase process implicated in nerve and brain cell damage. This type of oxidative damage has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The Fujian Medical University researchers’ conclusion:

“ATX suppresses MPP+-induced oxidative stress in PC12 cells via the HO-1/NOX2 axis. ATX should be strongly considered as a potential neuroprotectant and adjuvant therapy for patients with Parkinson’s disease.”


Other research has found that Astaxanthin comes with antioxidant properties from an estimated one hundred to one thousand times the antioxidant level of vitamin E. One of the richest natural sources of Astaxanthin is the algae Haematococcus pluvialis.

Last year, researchers from the Graduate School of Medicine at Japan’s Juntendo University tested Astaxanthin using 96 elderly adult volunteers. In this randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study, the researchers gave the subjects either a capsule with Astaxanthin extract or a placebo for three months.

Before, after and every four weeks during the study, the researchers tested the subjects’ cognition, and found that those who took both dosages of Astaxanthin extract – 12 milligrams or 6 milligrams – scored significantly higher on learning and cognition testing than the placebo group.

The researchers concluded that, “…astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract improves cognitive function in the healthy aged individuals.”

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