Dr. William Sears, MD

Dr. William Sears, MD

HAWAIIAN ASTAXANTHIN – MY CHOICE FOR VALENTINE AND HEART-HEALTH MONTH

February 2024

My favorite Valentine from my dear wife Martha Vivian began: “To my wonderful, weird William Walentine.” 

I responded: “Thank you, my virtuous Vivian Valentine.”

As you readers know, antioxidants are one of my favorite nutrients to teach patients about in my medical practice.  So, I wondered, “What is the reddest antioxidant?”  You guessed it: Hawaiian Astaxanthin.

I’ll never forget visiting the heart-red ponds in Hawaii where astaxanthin is grown and harvested.

Nutrex Hawaii's Hawaiian Astaxanthin microalgae ponds in Kona, HI

I pondered if such a deep red antioxidant could help the reddest organ in our body – the heart – and blood vessels.  This is what research reveals:

Astaxanthin helps the “pump” last longer.  A simple and scientific way to imagine heart health is to picture your big red “pump” beating 24/7 and pumping health-giving blood into your miles of blood vessels throughout your body. 

My next thought: If you want the pump to last longer, naturally the more relaxed are the blood vessels the less pressure the heart has to pump against.  Two ways to lower the pressure in the blood vessels are: 1) reduce the “sticky stuff” on the lining of the blood vessels so they are more elastic and can stretch more easily; and 2) decrease the “sticky stuff” within the blood to help the blood flow more easily.  (In chemistry-speak, “sticky stuff” is oxidative stress and oxidized nutrients, mainly fats and sugars, within the blood.)

Ah-ha!  That’s what I want for heart health: smooth and stretchy blood vessels, not stiff and sticky blood vessels. 

As a show-me-the-science doctor, I was heart-happy to find out that there is science supporting that astaxanthin promotes heart health; sort of like widening a highway and lessening traffic congestion during rush-hour results in smoother traffic flow. 

Researchers have found that astaxanthin-eaters tend to have less sticky blood fats, especially triglycerides and cholesterol, and less sticky blood sugars – like!  Nearly every day we doctors advise our patients that heart health begins with having non-sticky fats and non-sticky sugars in your blood. 

In a nutshell, researchers showed that astaxanthin helped lessen high blood pressure, leading to what we doctors often teach: “Lessen your high blood pressure, lengthen your heartspan” (how long you live with a healthy heart.)

My “William Walentine’s” wish for you readers is that you make February heart-health month.  The following references will help motivate you to let Hawaiian Astaxanthin be your nutritional partner in heart health:

References:

  1. Natural Astaxanthin, Hawaii’s Supernutrient by William Sears, 2015.
  2. Choi, H., et al., (2011). “Positive effects of astaxathin on lipid profiles and oxidative stress,” Plant Foods and Human Nutrition; 66:363-9.
  3. Life Extension Magazine. “Astaxanthin promotes heart health,” February 2021.
  4. Miyawaki, H., et al. (2008). “Effects of astaxanthin on human blood rheology,” Journal of Clinical Biochemistry Nutrition, 43, No. 2, pp. 9-74.