Sunscreen in a Pill

Closeup image of red micro algaeAstaxanthin is an antioxidant that can cross the blood-brain barrier, enter into the bloodstream, and protect all cells in the body. It is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in certain types of algae and the fish that eat the algae. Studies indicate it can help block the damage from ultraviolet (UV) light. Astaxanthin has other benefits as well, such as eye, joint, immune, and cardiovascular support.

Suntan Lotion Isn’t Always Best

Image depicting sun tan lotion with the no symbolWhen venturing outdoors, applying sunscreen isn’t always the best option. Many people have reactions to the chemicals found in popular brands. According to the EPA, you are more likely to develop problems including redness and itching or even stinging, swelling, and a rash if you use a product that contains para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) and/or benzophenones.

In addition to allergic reactions, the benzophenones may actually create free radicals when exposed to daylight. These free radicals may cause damage to cells in deeper layers of skin.

There is conflicting evidence concerning vitamin D levels and sunblock. One group of studies suggests since sunscreen actually blocks UV rays, it prevents the UVB from converting to the much needed vitamin. A recent study says this isn’t an issue. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a clear cut “winner” of the debate so I will just say there may be a potential for vitamin D deficiency when using the lotions on your skin.

Protect Yourself from Sun Damage Naturally

Back of a girl with sunburnAstaxanthin is one of the body’s most potent antioxidants. It helps to protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals (toxins that damage cells by changing their structure). Without delving into chemistry too much, a free radical is an element that has an odd number of electrons. Antioxidants donate one of their own electrons to neutralize the free radical. And don’t worry; antioxidants are stable with an even or odd number of electrons.

Sunburn is actually inflammation of the skin. It occurs when our skin is exposed to too much UV light. This solar radiation is still present even on cloudy or cool days. Additionally, snow, water, and other surfaces reflect UV rays. This reflection can be as strong as direct sunlight.

The carotenoid Astaxanthin helps prevent sunburn not by blocking UV radiation, but by protecting your skin from the ultraviolet damage of the sun. This is an important distinction since that means that vitamin D debate mentioned earlier doesn’t matter. Not only does this powerful antioxidant benefit the skin, it also protects our eyes from sun damage as well.

How Much Astaxanthin Do I Need?

A great deal of research has been done on astaxanthin and its skin protecting properties. The results indicate that 2 mg is the minimum amount required if you have darker skin or less susceptible to burning. Most people will need to consume 4 mg daily for the best protection. Taking more than 4 mg will not offer any additional benefits for your skin. Higher doses may help with the other health concerns mentioned at the beginning of this article. And it doesn’t work overnight. You will need to take it for 2 to 3 weeks before it reaches its maximum protection levels for your skin and eyes.

DR Vitamin Solutions offers a variety of preparations that contain astaxanthin. However, there are two formulations that stand out: Pure Encapsulations Astaxanthin and Life Extension Astaxanthin with Phospholipids.

If you have any questions on astaxanthin, or any other supplement or health concern, please reach out to us via phone, email, or the comment section below. DR Vitamin Solutions is here to help you make the best decisions for your health goals.

By Greg Benic, DR Vitamin Solutions