Whether you are a serious athlete or someone who works out during the weekends only, you want to have the best results. Run faster, cycle longer – basically
have better endurance and reap the health benefits from your workout as well as see improvement in your muscle strength, tone and overall fitness level.
One of the ways to achieve this is through good nutrition, and sometimes this means seeking out specific supplementary food that will provide you with a boost. Consider adding astaxanthin into your diet if this is what you want to achieve. Having been in the health radar for sometime now, this antioxidant has fast becoming popular in the fitness scene thanks to its host of health benefits.
But first, what is astaxantin (pronounced as asta-ZAN-thin)? It is a carotenoid that naturally occurs in some fish (salmon) and shellfish (lobster), the chemical that is responsible for their pink or red-hued flesh. Scientists believe that astaxanthin is what gives salmon the endurance to swim upstream.
In humans, there are numerous studies supporting astaxanthin’s many benefits. Where fitness is concerned, astaxanthin has been shown to support improved muscle recovery, endurance and strength.
Here’s how it works:
When you work your muscles doing a strenous exercise, it produces these cell-damaging substances known as free radicals. Too many free radicals will cause inflammation in your body as the body is unable to eliminate these cells quick enough. The problem with free radicals is that they can damage our DNA, tissues and cell structures, leading to diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
As an antioxidant, astaxanthin helps to prevent the formation of these free radicals as well as helps to remove them from your body. “I can take any antioxidant and still get the same benefits, right?” Not really. While all forms of antioxidants are great for you, astaxanthin is in the big leagues. Just how big of a player? Consider this: It is 550 times stronger than vitamin E and the antioxidants found in green tea, 10 times stronger than β-carotene and 6,000 times stronger than Vitamin C. That’s why it’s called the superantioxidant!
Remember salmon and the whole swimming upstream thing? If this is what astaxanthin can do for salmon, imagine what it does for you. Actually, you don’t have to imagine – because according to this study, athletes who took 4mg of natural astaxanthin every day over six months reported a 62% improvement in muscular strength, power output and endurance. It is also revealed that competitive cyclists who took the same amount per day were on average 5% quicker compared to a group taking a placebo and their overall strength increased by 15%.
You’re on the treadmill doing your thing... and then bang, you’ve hit that wall of fatigue where your legs feel super heavy. Blame it on the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. This is caused by your glycogen (carbohydrates) depleting first. But if your body has a reasonable amount of lipds (fatty acids), it uses this as an energy source, sparing your glycogen reserves so that you can have a longer, more effective workout.
How does astaxanthin help? By triggering increased lipid usage during your exercise. Research found that mice given astaxanthin for five weeks were able to swim with 10% of their bodyweight strapped to them for five minutes before reaching exhaustion. The other mice that were receiving a placebo swam for only two minutes. How this translates to human beings is that it implies you’re able to exercise longer before you become tired. In fact, there are human clinical trials that show an increase in energy after six weeks of supplementing with astaxanthin as the antioxidant allows you to tap into your lipids storage more effectively.
Also, when your body burns more fat, your body becomes leaner and you lose weight faster!
Remember those free radicals? It also causes your body to go through oxidative stress, which will result in muscle pain and weakness. This occurs as a result of an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant defence mechanism, and becomes worst with physical activity and age. Astaxanthin helps pump antioxidant in your body to level it up so that it can provide protection against this stress.
All these benefits come from natural astaxanthin, which is found in reddish seafood and algae. Unfortunately, you can’t eat salmon all day every day (you’d have to eat a lot and it would be expensive!) or munch on algae only so your next best bet is to find something that you can eat every day that contains astaxanthin as well as a host of other minerals and vitamins that are good for you.
Like OnZen Eggs, which are enriched with natural astaxanthin sourced from algae. The hens that lay these eggs are fed a natural feed that also contain the algae with astaxanthin. This is then processed into the eggs they lay, which when you consume will be transferred to you.
Can you eat an egg a day to get your daily consumption of astaxanthin? Yes, of course! Research shows that eggs do not contribute to your cholesterol level as previously wrongly believed. In fact, *Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) suggested that any healthy individual with no cholesterol problem can consume up to three (3) eggs a day! Plus, eggs are so easy to prepare, you really have no excuse not to have one a day! Try OnZen Eggs soft boiled to taste its freshness and for the astaxanthin in it to remain potent and beneficial.
To find out where you can get OnZen Eggs, go to www.onzeneggs.com. Or you can order online and have it delivered to you. Shop here.