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HealthWatch: Pink Chemical In Salmon, Flamingos May Be Powerful Supplement

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) - The next super supplement promises to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve arthritis, as well as boost heart health and fertility.

What makes flamingos pink and wild salmon rosy is an organic phyto-chemical, a carotenoid, called astaxanthin,

The colorful pigment occurs naturally, but you find it primarily in certain nutrient dense microalgae and yeast. The animals eat it in their environment.

Scientific research shows how astaxanthin acts like an antioxidant and may help reduce inflammation as well as damage to tissues. But these studies have been done in lab and with lab animals, not humans.

Flamingos take note: you can now find astaxanthin supplements for sale. Marketers tout them as a way to treat a variety of health concerns including eye problems, high cholesterol, dementia, arthritis, even sunburn.

While the studies sound promising, more evidence is needed before the human flock can draw any substantial conclusions.

Astraxanthin is used as a feed supplement for farmed salmon to give farmed salmon the same pink color as the wild salmon. The United States FDA said this use is safe.

Before you take any dietary supplement, consult with your health provider. Some websites warn that this supplement may carry some side effects.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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