Beauty freak that I am, I’m constantly looking for new solutions that can (effortlessly) make me look and feel a princess – or maybe more like, oh, Beyoncé. Have you also downed the fish oil and aloe vera juice in hopes of radiant skin and a strong body? When I found out via the Daily Mail that Gwyneth Paltrow and Heidi Klum both take a supplement called astaxanthin, my antennae went up! Surely this has to be good?
I was dying to know, so I contacted Burçak Ulmer, senior nutritionist at Oriflame, and Åke Lignell, CEO and in charge of research and development at Astareal, to find out how astaxanthin works and whether I can really boost my body and my beauty just by taking a capsule along with my breakfast smoothie. Too good to be true?
The first thing I ask is what astaxanthin is and how it affects my body.
‘It’s a carotenoid, a natural pigment found in the algae Haematococcus Pluvialis’, Burçak explains. ‘Among else, it’s what makes salmon pink.’
The algae are dried, crushed to powder and put into capsules. The pigment is a powerful antioxidant that does everything from providing UV protection to fighting free radicals. It prevents soreness after exercise and is so effective that elite athletes take it so they can return to training faster.
Åke Lignell answers my question about what astaxanthin can do for my skin (currently ignoring all my attempts at radiance). He explains that the supplement will boost collagen, reduce lines and hydrate the skin so it becomes more elastic. I immediately feel much more enthusiastic!
Burçak explains that astaxanthin is fat-soluble and absorbed best if taken with food. ‘To power up the effect, you can take it with fish oil,’ she suggests.
A big salad is always nourishing and if your inspiration runs dry once you get past tomatoes and cucumbers, lots of great cookbooks feature recipes for filling salads.
Personally, I’m happy to try all the veggies and supplements out there. And the advantages of astaxanthin sound too good to ignore. That said, I’ll be adding another jar to my vitamin shelf at home – I think we are going to get along very well together!