Can Algae Reduce Symptoms Associated With Diabetes?
By Kevin DiDonato MS, CSCS, CES
Diabetes affects nearly 220 million people worldwide.
Each year, it is estimated that 3.4 million people die from complications directly related to diabetes and blood sugar problems.
Healthcare costs alone, are estimated to be around 172 billion dollars with a good majority of the money directly related to medications and supplies.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 2005 and 2030, the cases of diabetes will double.
Astaxanthin, which is a non-provitamin A carotenoid, has been shown by clinical research to improve glucose control.
In fact, a low-dose of Astaxanthin (.02g) has been shown to improve glucose control in diabetic mice.
Also, it has been shown to provide antioxidant protection in diabetes.
Now, according to a new study published in the Journal of Food Science, Astaxanthin could alleviate inflammation and other risk factors associated with diabetes.
Let me explain…
Astaxanthin and Diabetes
Researchers aimed to test the anti-coagulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of Astaxanthin in diabetic rats. They separated 24 rats into 3 groups of 8.
One group was fed a meal that contained .01% Astaxanthin; the other group was fed a diet consisting of .05% Astaxanthin, and a placebo group for 12 weeks.
They noticed that the Astaxanthin fed group showed an increase in the deposits of Astaxanthin in the plasma of the mice.
Also, they noted that Astaxanthin retained levels of glutathione content.
Astaxanthin fed groups also showed lower levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production.
Reactive oxygen species, a byproduct from normal metabolism, has been shown to damage healthy cells and increase inflammation levels.
There was also a significant decrease in anti-inflammatory molecules such as IL-6, TNF-alpha, and MCP-1 in the blood and kidneys of rats in Astaxanthin fed groups.
IL-6, TNF-alpha, and MCP-1 are important cytokines released in the body that could increase inflammation in the body. Diabetes has been shown to increase the levels of these cytokines which could lead to inflammation, endothelial-dysfunction, and hypercoagulation.
MCP-1 is a chemotactic factor for activating monocytes and macrophages, and could even recruit monocytes to the site of injury. Reducing MCP-1 has been shown to improve endothelial function and reducing inflammation.
They also noted that Astaxanthin could reduce C-reactive protein, a protein marker that shows increased levels of inflammation, and von Willebrand Factor in the blood.
In the group administered .05g of Astaxanthin, the results were even greater.
They noticed that the higher dose of Astaxanthin significantly diminished plasminogen activated inhibitor-1 and VII activities.
Also, they noted that Astaxanthin enhanced the activities of antithrombin-III and protein C activities, which are important anticoagulation factors. A reduction in these factors could lead to a reduction in the risk for diabetes-related atherogenesis and thrombosis.
From their work, the researchers concluded that Astaxanthin could slow diabetes associated coagulatory, oxidative, and inflammatory stress.
Astaxanthin and your Health
Astaxanthin, which is a non-provitamin carotenoid, is found in different marine sources such as algae, crustaceans, some fish, and Krill.
Astaxanthin has been shown to improve many different aspects of health including eye health, fat loss, dementia, and now even diabetes.
Clinical research shows that Astaxanthin could possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially as they relate to diabetes.
According to this study, Astaxanthin has been shown to improve health parameters in mice suffering from diabetes.
Although this research is new and needs further verification, it could show tremendous potential for the health of people suffering from diabetes.
Including more Astaxanthin, either by supplementation or from natural food sources, could improve your health and may even improve symptoms associated with diabetes.
Chan, KC. Pen, PJ. Yin, MC. Anticoagulatory and Antiiinflammatory Effects of Astaxanthin in Diabetic Rats. Journal of Food Science. 2012. Vol. 77(2). doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02558.x.