"Carotenoids have powerful antioxidant properties which defend against damaging singlet
and triplet oxygen, a by-product of ultra violet rays..."
Research on a novel antioxidant color additive
CANTHAXANTHIN is one of two major carotenoids in nature, the second being Beta Carotene.
Carotenoids are biological pigments which are the coloring of living organisms and valuable molecules needed for important metabolic reactions. They are distributed everywhere in leaves, flowers, fruits, and the roots of plants. Carotenoids are also found in many animals, and man, derived from plant sources.
Carotenoids have powerful antioxidant properties which defend against damaging singlet and triplet oxygen, a by-product of ultra violet rays and photosynthetic metabolism. These free radical scavengers prevent harmful and uncontrolled oxidation. Carotenoids also protect plants from direct ultra violet damage by absorbing high energy ultra violet photons and then safely defusing the energy along hydrocarbon chains.
Canthaxanthin itself is a natural carotenoid found in many different plants. It is the natural coloring of apples and many other fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Canthaxanthin functions as an ultra violet photon absorber, a singlet and triplet oxygen quencher and free radical deactivator.
The following excerpts regarding Canthaxanthin are from respected health researcher Durk Pearson in his best selling book, LIFE EXTENSION (Warner Books);
"The use of very high doses of beta carotene to reduce photosensitivity does have a cosmetic drawback, however. The beta carotene will color your skin yellow (which can also occur if you eat many carrots), making you look jaundiced. Of course, it isn't really jaundice (caused by liver failure), and your doctor will realize it immediately when he sees the whites of your eyes have not turned yellow. Nevertheless, you may not want to be carrot colored. There is another carotenoid, Canthaxanthin, which is very closely related to beta carotene. This is the material that makes flamingos and certain shellfish pink. We think it provides better protection from ultraviolet light and singlet oxygen than beta carotene, and it colors the skin a beautiful natural-looking golden-copper tan when taken orally." (pg. 422-423)
"In the spring of 1981, I added a carotenoid, Canthaxanthin to my formula, primarily for its ability to color human skin a golden bronze color without UV exposure, but also for the very substantial protective effects of the carotenoids. The results have been better than expected. After a winter indoors glued to a computer writing this book with Sandy, we pulled the plug and went on a micro-vacation. I spend 2 1/2 days in the Mohave high desert clothed as shown in the accompanying photos, without even getting a slight sunburn. This substantial increase in sunburn resistance over the prior summer was presumably due to the addition of Canthaxanthin to my personal experimental life extension formula. Carotenoids such as beta carotene and Canthaxanthin are excellent deactivators of highly reactive and damaging forms of excited oxygen, singlet and triplet oxygen, which they photochemically produce via ultraviolet light. In addition, they are good free radical scavengers (also ultraviolet light induced), and ultraviolet absorbers. The principal mode of activity was not UV (ultraviolet) absorption, however, because my Canthaxanthin tan darkened very noticeably due to UV-stimulated melanin production in my skin. Most of the protective effects are probably due to deactivation of excited oxygen and free radicals." (pg. 771)
"Mr. Smith* says that there was a 'really dramatic' effect on his skin's resistance to sunburn when he used Canthaxanthin, a carotenoid (chemically related to the yellow coloring matter in carrots, beta carotene). His skin is light and sensitive to sunlight, especially his nose. He began using about 120 milligrams of Canthaxanthin per day, then went to the same dose every other day. He looks as if he has a beautiful golden-bronze suntan and he says Canthaxanthin has dramatically improved his resistance to sunburn. Recently, when he forgot to use sun block on his nose, it received only minor sunburn compared to what we would expect from earlier experiences." (Pg. 743) *It has been revealed that "Mr. Smith" was in fact Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood.
Common misconceptions and questions about Canthaxanthin
Canthaxanthin stimulates melanin in the skin and is a natural "tanning pill".
This is incorrect. Canthaxanthin has nothing to do with the skin's normal tanning process from ultra violet rays and we offer it as an organic anti-oxidant color additive, not as a so-called "tanning pill". To elaborate on what Durk Pearson researched and reported; he discovered that Canthaxanthin lends color to the second (subcutaneous) layer of skin and since the top layer is transparent it can show through and "give the appearance of a tan", to paraphrase his words.
Canthaxanthin causes liver damage
Not true. Canthaxanthin is non-toxic. This confusion may come from either of the two following reasons: (1) Excessive vitamin A can cause vitamin A toxicity, which could lead to liver damage. The carotenoid beta carotene is pro vitamin A and converts on demand into vitamin A as the body needs it. Unlike beta carotene, Canthaxanthin is not pro vitamin A. (2) Liver failure can cause jaundice (a yellowing of the eyes and skin). The coloration of the skin caused by carotenoids is not the same as being jaundiced.
Canthaxanthin should always be taken with food for best results
True. Canthaxanthin is widely used and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use as a food color additive. Extensively used in commercial food products like ketchup, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, etc. 30mg per 16 ounces of food or liquid ingested is the suggested dosage. Research does show that carotenoid supplements are not as well absorbed when taken alone on an empty stomach.
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