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PQQ, Fiber, Astaxanthin, and Blueberry

April 2016

By Life Extension


Effects of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

In this study we tried to confirm the effect of an astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function in 96 subjects by a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study. Healthy middle-aged and elderly subjects who complained of age-related forgetfulness were recruited. Ninety-six subjects were selected from the initial screen, and ingested a capsule containing astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract, or a placebo capsule for 12 weeks. Somatometry, haematology, urine screens, and CogHealth and Groton Maze Learning Test were performed before and after every 4 weeks of administration. Changes in cognitive performance and the safety of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract administration were evaluated. CogHealth battery scores improved in the high-dosage group (12 mg astaxanthin/day) after 12 weeks. Groton Maze Learning Test scores improved earlier in the low-dosage (6 mg astaxanthin/day) and high-dosage groups than in the placebo group. The sample size, however, was small to show a significant difference in cognitive function between the astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract and placebo groups. No adverse effect on the subjects was observed throughout this study. In conclusion, the results suggested that astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract improves cognitive function in the healthy aged individuals.

J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2012 Sep;51(2):102-7

Astaxanthin inhibits thrombosis in cerebral vessels of stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats.

It is known that vitamin E and some carotenoids have antioxidant activities that alleviate endothelial dysfunction and play a protective role against cardiovascular disease. The current study was designed to examine the hypothesis that astaxanthin, a red pigment carotenoid found in salmonid and crustacean aquaculture, protects stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRSP) from vascular oxidative damage, hypertension, and cerebral thrombosis. Male 6-week-old SHRSP were classified into 4 groups: a control group, 2 astaxanthin groups, and a vitamin E group. The treated animals were given either astaxanthin or vitamin E for 3 weeks. Body weights in each group were not significantly different from control group during the treatment period, but the usual increase in systolic blood pressure in SHRSP observed with age was significantly suppressed by treatment. Thrombogenesis, assessed using a helium-neon (He-Ne) laser technique in pial blood vessels, together with antioxidant activity, assessed by measuring urinary 8-OHdG levels, were significantly moderated. Urinary nitric oxide (NO) metabolites were increased after treatment. These results supported our hypothesis and strongly suggested that the antithrombotic and antihypertensive effects of astaxanthin or vitamin E may be related to an increase in bioavailable NO, possibly mediated by decreased inactivation of NO by reactive oxygen species.

Nutr Res. 2011 Oct;31(10):784-9

Astaxanthin reduces ischemic brain injury in adult rats.

Astaxanthin (ATX) is a dietary carotenoid of crustaceans and fish that contributes to their coloration. Dietary ATX is important for development and survival of salmonids and crustaceans and has been shown to reduce cardiac ischemic injury in rodents. The purpose of this study was to examine whether ATX can protect against ischemic injury in the mammalian brain. Adult rats were injected intracerebroventricularly with ATX or vehicle prior to a 60-min middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). ATX was present in the infarction area at 70-75 min after onset of MCAo. Treatment with ATX, compared to vehicle, increased locomotor activity in stroke rats and reduced cerebral infarction at 2 d after MCAo. To evaluate the protective mechanisms of ATX against stroke, brain tissues were assayed for free radical damage, apoptosis, and excitoxicity. ATX antagonized ischemia-mediated loss of aconitase activity and reduced glutamate release, lipid peroxidation, translocation of cytochrome c, and TUNEL labeling in the ischemic cortex. ATX did not alter physiological parameters, such as body temperature, brain temperature, cerebral blood flow, blood gases, blood pressure, and pH. Collectively, our data suggest that ATX can reduce ischemia-related injury in brain tissue through the inhibition of oxidative stress, reduction of glutamate release, and antiapoptosis. ATX may be clinically useful for patients vulnerable or prone to ischemic events.

FASEB J. 2009 Jun;23(6):1958-68

Astaxanthin activates nuclear factor erythroid-related factor 2 and the antioxidant responsive element (Nrf2-ARE) pathway in the brain after subarachnoid hemorrhage in rats and attenuates early brain injury.

Astaxanthin (ATX) has been proven to ameliorate early brain injury (EBI) after experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) by modulating cerebral oxidative stress. This study was performed to assess the effect of ATX on the Nrf2-ARE pathway and to explore the underlying molecular mechanisms of antioxidant properties of ATX in EBI after SAH. A total of 96 male SD rats were randomly divided into four groups. Autologous blood was injected into the prechiasmatic cistern of the rat to induce an experimental SAH model. Rats in each group were sacrificed at 24 h after SAH. Expressions of Nrf2 and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) were measured by Western blot and immunohistochemistry analysis. The mRNA levels of HO-1, NAD (P) H: quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO-1), and glutathione S-transferase-a1 (GST-a1) were determined by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). It was observed that administration of ATX post-SAH could up-regulate the cortical expression of these agents, mediated in the Nrf2-ARE pathway at both pretranscriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Meanwhile, oxidative damage was reduced. Furthermore, ATX treatment significantly attenuated brain edema, blood-brain barrier (BBB) disruption, cellular apoptosis, and neurological dysfunction in SAH models. This study demonstrated that ATX treatment alleviated EBI in SAH model, possibly through activating the Nrf2-ARE pathway by inducing antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes.

Mar Drugs. 2014 Dec 18;12(12):6125-41

Astaxanthin offers neuroprotection and reduces neuroinflammation in experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage.

BACKGROUND: Neuroinflamma-tion has been proven to play a crucial role in early brain injury pathogenesis and represents a target for treatment of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Astaxanthin (ATX), a dietary carotenoid, has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammation property in various models of tissue injury. However, the potential effects of ATX on neuroinflammation in SAH remain uninvestigated. The goal of this study was to investigate the protective effects of ATX on neuroinflammation in a rat prechiasmatic cistern SAH model. METHODS: Rats were randomly distributed into multiple groups undergoing the sham surgery or SAH procedures, and ATX (25 mg/kg or 75 mg/kg) or equal volume of vehicle was given by oral gavage at 30 min after SAH. All rats were sacrificed at 24 h after SAH. Neurologic scores, brain water content, blood-brain barrier permeability, and neuronal cell death were examined. Brain inflammation was evaluated by means of expression changes in myeloperoxidase, cytokines (interleukin-1b, tumor necrosis factor-a), adhesion molecules (intercellular adhesion molecule-1), and nuclear factor kappa B DNA-binding activity. RESULTS: Our data indicated that post-SAH treatment with high dose of ATX could significantly downregulate the increased nuclear factor kappa B activity and the expression of inflammatory cytokines and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 in both messenger RNA transcription and protein synthesis. Moreover, these beneficial effects lead to the amelioration of the secondary brain injury cascades including cerebral edema, blood-brain barrier disruption, neurological dysfunction, and neuronal degeneration. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that ATX treatment is neuroprotective against SAH, possibly through suppression of cerebral inflammation.

J Surg Res. 2014 Nov;192(1):206-13

Astaxanthin prevents and reverses diet-induced insulin resistance and steatohepatitis in mice: A comparison with vitamin E.

Hepatic insulin resistance and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) could be caused by excessive hepatic lipid accumulation and peroxidation. Vitamin E has become a standard treatment for NASH. However, astaxanthin, an antioxidant carotenoid, inhibits lipid peroxidation more potently than vitamin E. Here, we compared the effects of astaxanthin and vitamin E in NASH. We first demonstrated that astaxanthin ameliorated hepatic steatosis in both genetically (ob/ob) and high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. In a lipotoxic model of NASH: mice fed a high-cholesterol and high-fat diet, astaxanthin alleviated excessive hepatic lipid accumulation and peroxidation, increased the proportion of M1-type macrophages/Kupffer cells, and activated stellate cells to improve hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Moreover, astaxanthin caused an M2-dominant shift in macrophages/Kupffer cells and a subsequent reduction in CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell recruitment in the liver, which contributed to improved insulin resistance and hepatic inflammation. Importantly, astaxanthin reversed insulin resistance, as well as hepatic inflammation and fibrosis, in pre-existing NASH. Overall, astaxanthin was more effective at both preventing and treating NASH compared with vitamin E in mice. Furthermore, astaxanthin improved hepatic steatosis and tended to ameliorate the progression of NASH in biopsy-proven human subjects. These results suggest that astaxanthin might be a novel and promising treatment for NASH.

Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 25;5:17192