2005 Volume 51 Issue 3 Pages 135-141
Astaxanthin (Asx), one of the carotenoids, is a red pigment in fish and Crusta-ceans, and possesses stronger reduction properties than conventional carotenoids, like β-carotene. However, little is known about the biochemical properties and physiological func-tions of astaxanthin. The effects of astaxanthin and vitamin C on stressed rats were studied physiologically and biochemically. β-Carotene and three kinds of astaxanthins, which were extracted from Haematococcus and Phaffia, and synthesized chemically, were used in these experiments, These rats given astaxanthins or β-carotene had stress induced on the 12th day by immersing the rats in chest-level water at 20°C for 24h after fasting for 24h. Rats given astaxanthins or β-carotene prior to stressing were appreciably protected against the evolution of gastric ulcerations in relation to control rats. Ulcer indexes in particular were smaller with the rat group fed astaxanthin extracted from Haematococcus than the other groups. Next, the effects of Asx and/or vitamin C on the protection of evolution of gastric ulcer in stressed rats were persued by the same methods as described above. The results showed that rats given Asx or vitamin C were appreciably protected against the evolution of gastric ulcerations in relation to control rats. The effects were more intense, especially in rats simultaneously supplied Asx and vitamin C than in rats taking either Asx or vitamin C. It was suggested that the simultaneous supplementation of food substances with astaxan-thin and vitamin C would supply enough antioxidants to offset stress-related injuries.