The brain needs powerful and specialized antioxidants because it is the main generator of free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals that build up as a byproduct of metabolism in the brain can cause damage to the sensitive membranes of brain neurons. Free radicals also attack red blood cell membranes, forming phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH). Increased PLOOH levels in red blood cells have been observed in cases of dementia and appear to influence the severity of this condition.
Access to the brain is restricted by a protective membrane known as the blood brain barrier. This membrane shields the brain from toxins and some antioxidants too. Remarkably, astaxanthin can cross this barrier and reach the brain where it improves the antioxidant status of red blood cells, reduces formation of PLOOH, and enhances blood flow bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Healthy adults, aged 45-65, had improved information processing, spatial reasoning and short-term memory when challenged with a cognitive test (CogHealth) after supplementing with 12mg/day astaxanthin for 12 weeks.
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