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Pink Pigment in Salmon May Improve Health for Overweight People

If you’re overweight and looking to improve your health, take note. Daily supplements of astaxanthin may help overweight people increase antioxidant production and reduce oxidative stress, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at Seoul National University.

The study was published in the May 2011 issue of the journal Phytotherapy Research.

Astaxanthin is the carotenoid that gives salmon its pink color. It has been linked to various health benefits due to its strong antioxidant capacity, which is reported to be 500 times the antioxidant capacity of vitamin E.

For the study, the researchers recruited 23 overweight participants in their 20's. The participants were randomly assigned to receive 5 or 20 mg a day of astaxanthin for three weeks.

Oxidative stress has been linked to a number of diseases, including atherosclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and heart failure.

At the end of the study period, the researchers observed a decrease in levels of malondialdehyde, a known marker of oxidative stress. The decrease was approximately 35% in both groups, compared to levels at the beginning of the study.

The researchers also observed a 123% increase in total antioxidant capacity of the blood.

These findings are promising and they add another layer of evidence to back astaxanthin's health benefits. In previous studies, astaxanthin has been shown to shown to improve eye, skin and joint health and boost cognitive function.

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