Could astaxanthin score a goal in sports nutrition?

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sports nutrition, Oxygen, Antioxidant

Astavita's inroads into sports nutrition applications for
astaxanthin could be of interest to sports nutrition formulators
looking to branch into this market.

Astavita is a taking astaxanthin into sports nutrition thanks to a patent it has for muscle endurance and recovery, thereby expanding the potential uses for the compound which has been primarily used for eye, skin and immune disorder applications.

While branded Astareal will be a finished product, Astavita said any company that purchases this branded astaxanthin from its parent company - Japanese-based Fuji Chemical Industry Company - can obtain a license for use of its patent.

The astaxanthin market is carved up among those who hold usage patents, with Fuji holding the most; it now has five, while Fuji competitors Cyanotech and Valensa have three and one respectively.

New Jersey-based ingredients manufacturer Astavita this week signalled its intentions to further push AstaReal, for sports applications when it announced the signing of a two-year sponsorship agreement with USA Triathlon (USAT), the national governing body for triathlon and duathlon.

Fuji obtained the patent for astaxanthin for muscle recovery and endurance in 2001 and said trial results suggest athletes could enhance their competitive level and state of readiness with the ingredient.

"Due to the fact that athletes were using our astaxanthin product successfully and our studies backed the results, we have been exhibiting at sporting events and advertising in sports related publications,"​ Astavita director of marketing Dianne Holland told NutraIngredients-USA.com.

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant.

"In fact, it has an excellent ability to neutralize singlet oxygen which is the very damaging reactive oxygen species produced during strenuous exercise,"​ said Holland.

Astavita became interested in the sports nutrition area two years ago when it was GoForLife Labs.

"We first exhibited at a triathlon in Phoenix, Arizona in 2005 and this is where we met Chris Lieto, the four time IronMan champion, who became interested in our astaxanthin product,"​ said Holland. "The result was his improved performance and our eventual sponsorship with him."

Physical activity produces highly reactive and damaging free radicals. These free radicals damage cell membranes, oxidize DNA and activate an inflammation response which causes additional cell damage.

For athletes, this can be felt in the form of tiredness and muscle soreness and can affect their ability to train on days following intense workouts.

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