Have you ever heard about astaxanthin for dogs?

Asta- what?

Astaxanthin… try saying that 2 times fast. It’s a weird word, that’s for sure.

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that occurs naturally in certain algae, specifically red algae. It is actually what gives salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp, and other seafood their pink color. And it’s also why flamingos are pink – because they eat the food that eats the astaxanthin! Pretty cool, right?

It belongs to a group of compounds called carotenoids. These are pigments that are found in plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. They’re what cause the bright yellow, red, and orange colors in things like carrots, peppers, oranges. There are more than 600 different types of carotenoids found in nature.

When your dog ingests astaxanthin, it makes its way into the blood and is taken up by blood leukocytes, where it is distributed to the cells throughout the body, working its magic…

But what kind of magic are we talking about?

Benefits of Astaxanthin for Dogs

There are plenty of reasons to add astaxanthin to your dog’s healthy supplement regimen.

1. Powerful Antioxidant

Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant. In fact, it’s one of the strongest. It’s 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant.

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals in your body.

Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high in your pet’s body (or your own). They’re linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. You do need some free radicals – to do things like help your immune cells fight infection – but when free radicals outnumber antioxidants, it can lead to something called oxidative stress.

So, you want to make sure you’ve giving enough to keep that balance.

Your body has its own antioxidant defenses to keep free radicals in check, but adding to the supply is always a good idea – it gives your dog a better chance of fighting those free radicals and the damage they can do.

2. Supports Joint Health

As our dogs age, many of them will suffer from some sort of joint pain. It might be as a result of an injury, or it could be something like arthritis. This pain might reduce mobility and stability, and impact your dog’s quality of like. For many pet parents, a natural supplement that supports joint health and reduces pain is high on the list.

Astaxanthin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that support pain-free joints. It suppresses certain chemicals that cause chronic pain from issues like arthritis. It can also relieve pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and slow down bone deterioration which leads to pain in the future.

3. Improves Eye Health

Ever heard that carrots will help you see in the dark? Sure, it’s not technically true, but they can improve your eye health. And it’s all because of the astaxanthin!

Eating carotenoid-rich foods can protect the healthy cells in the eye and prevent the growth of cancerous cells. It can also help decrease inflammation in the eye. It’s also incredibly useful for dry eye, a common condition caused by the inflammation of the cornea. Astaxanthin is one of the few antioxidants capable of holistically rejuvenating the affected ocular glands. 

astaxanthin for dogs

4. Fights Cancer

Earlier we mentioned free radicals and how antioxidants protect cells from free radicals. Free radicals destroy or damage cell membranes. On a cellular level, astaxanthin serves as a protective shield strong enough to protect against free radicals. It permeates the cell and forms a type of shell to prevent free radicals from spreading cellular damage.

This is significant when battling cancer and may be able to prevent cancer growth. In fact, research has found that astaxanthin helps with short-term growth inhibition and long-term cell death activity!

5. Protects Against Heart Disease

Antioxidants help lower inflammation in the body, which is associated with improving cardiovascular health. Reducing inflammation helps to protect against heart disease and prevents arterial walls from being blocked.

Numerous studies have shown it can suppress oxidative stress and improve cardiac function and to have cardiovascular protective effects. And, a study published with the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that it can be used to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by limiting the production of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body.

6. Boosts Brain Health

Because astaxanin helps protect the cells, it’s an important supplement for brain health.

But even more important than that, astaxanthin exerts a strong protective effect on the brain. Its unique chemical structure allows it to cross the blood-brain barrier. That’s why the brain is considered the most important target organ of astaxanthin. It has been found to reduce hippocampal and retinal inflammation, alleviating cognitive deficits, retinal oxidative stress, and depression.

Astaxanthin has been shown to improve brain and cognitive health, improving memory and mental focus. Studies even show it can be beneficial for preventing dementia in humans by reducing oxidative by-products in red blood cells.

So, if you think your dog could benefit from any or all of these things (and what dog wouldn’t!), consider adding astaxanthin for dogs to her diet!