Free radicals can cause damage to your organs, including your brain, and cause your cells to age faster. On his blog, Mercola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola explains what you can do to protect yourself from free radicals. He writes:
With each passing year, it becomes increasingly important to protect your vital organs, especially your brain.
What from? Free radicals and other substances that can cause oxidative damage and faster cellular aging.
The best way to get this protection is from antioxidant nutrients found in healthy foods whenever possible. However, to be effective, the nutrients must be able to cross through what are known as your blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers.
Your blood-brain barrier, or the tight junction of endothelial cells inside your brain’s capillaries, separates your brain’s blood vessels from your brain tissue. It allows oxygen and glucose to cross for proper functioning but restricts other molecules to protect your brain cells.
Similarly, your blood-retinal barrier safeguards the tissue of your eye’s retina.
These important barriers defend your brain, central nervous system and eyes against unwanted substances, like toxins and pathogens, that may be in your blood. They also help maintain constant levels of nutrients, hormones and water.
However, only certain nutrients can pass through your blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers. Many important antioxidants that provide protection against free radicals and other damaging oxygen molecules can’t slip through easily.
Right before the turn of the 21st century, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University confirmed an important trait of what may be the most significant antioxidant ever discovered – astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin was indeed able to cross both the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers to enter the brain and eye tissue – a rare ability for any antioxidant.
How This Little-Known Carotenoid Offers Exceptional Support
What else makes astaxanthin stand out among other antioxidants besides its unique ability to cross your blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers?
Astaxanthin is related to beta-carotene, lutein and canthaxanthin – all very powerful carotenoid antioxidants on their own. However, because of its unique molecular structure, astaxanthin is even more potent and versatile in its actions, including these 7 key differences from other antioxidants
- It has far more electrons to donate to neutralize free radicals than most other antioxidants, allowing it to remain active and intact longer.*
- It can handle multiple free radicals, sometimes more than 19 at one time, unlike most other antioxidants that can typically deal with only one at a time.*
- It can protect both water- and fat-soluble parts of your cells, including your cells’ mitochondria.*
- It cannot act as a pro-oxidant, or cause oxidation, like many antioxidants, even at higher doses.*
- It acts on at least five different inflammation pathways, supporting your body’s already healthy normal inflammatory response.*
- Because it is lipid-soluble and larger and longer than other carotenoids, it can become part of your cell membrane and span its entire thickness to help stabilize and protect both the inner and outer cell membrane from oxidative damage.*
Astaxanthin also protects your mitochondria from free radical damage. Your mitochondria are the energy factories in every cell in your body – the factories that produce energy, giving life to your cells. They also need protection from those free radicals.*
Plus, when compared to other nutrients and antioxidants that scavenge free radicals and neutralize potentially damaging singlet oxygen in your cells and tissues, astaxanthin really excels.
Read more here.