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Asta Zan 14: Super Antioxidant Recovery Supplement for Dogs

Tigger Montague

BioStar's K9 Asta Zan-14

BioStar’s K9 Asta Zan-14

Asta Zan-14 combines astaxanthin — the antioxidant powerhouse nutrient from microalgae and the Ayurvedic herb turmeric — with additional high antioxidant whole foods to provide a multifaceted supplement for working, sporting, and performance dogs as well as companion dogs, and those needing extra antioxidant support. With astaxanthin now such a powerful and proven antioxidant supplement for humans, astaxanthin for dogs makes perfect sense.

Free Radicals

Free radicals are the naturally occurring consequence of using oxygen to generate energy. Oxygen is essential for aerobic metabolism. As endurance and aerobic metabolism increases, so do oxygen free radicals. If the free radicals are left unchecked, they can attack and damage cells and DNA. Increased levels of free radicals are present in environmental pollutants, as well as from the reactions of engineered compounds in processed foods. Free radical production can also be caused by stress, as well as physical exercise.

Oxidative Stress

Oxidative Stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and reactive metabolites, known as oxidants or reactive oxygen species (ROS), and their elimination by protective mechanisms is known as anti oxidants. (1)
Proteins and fats are significant targets for oxidative attack, which can increase the risk of mutagenesis. Cancer initiation and progression have been linked to oxidative stress by increasing DNA mutations, DNA damage, genome instability, and cell proliferation. (2)

The aging process increases the accumulation of molecular damage in DNA, proteins, and lipids and is characterized by an increase in intercellular oxidative stress.

Extensive research over the past 20 years demonstrates how oxidative stress can lead to chronic inflammation. (3)

ROS

These reactive oxygen species are involved in a wide spectrum of diseases including chronic inflammation, a wide variety of cancers, as well as diabetes, inflammatory joint disease, obesity, and arthritis. (4)

Antioxidants

Antioxidants scavenge ROS, and help to prevent oxidative damage. Common antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, and various polyphenols from blueberries, pomegranates, apples, cruciferous vegetables, and acai berries.

Under normal conditions antioxidants outbalance the pro-oxidants but under oxidative conditions, pro oxidants prevail over antioxidants, which can lead to many inflammatory diseases including cancer. (5)

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid found in micro algae (Haematococcus pluralis), plankton, and krill. The micro algae and the krill are eaten by crustaceans, which in turn are eaten by salmon and trout. Astaxanthin is found in high concentrations in the muscles of salmon, which scientists theorize is what helps the salmon complete their epic yearly swim.

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants | Photograph by Ano Lobb

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants | Photograph by Ano Lobb

Although astaxanthin is a carotenoid like Beta Carotene, it is not converted into vitamin A (Retinol) like Beta Carotene.
Carotenoids are divided into 2 groups: Carotenes including Beta Carotene, Lycopene, and Alpha carotene; the second group is called Xanthophylls (pronounced Zan-tho-fils) that include Astaxanthin, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin.

Unlike beta carotene and other carotenes, Astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier to bring antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to the brain and central nervous system. Astaxanthin can cross the blood-retinal barrier and bring antioxidant and anti- inflammatory protection to the eyes.
Astaxanthin can span cell membranes, and bond with muscle tissue. (5)

Because of Astaxanthin’s long chain structure it can span the bilalteral membrane thus incrementing resilience against oxidative stress. It can quench free radicals in both water and fat zones of the membrane; in contrast to other antioxidants which work in the inner (Vitamin E, and Beta Carotene) or outer (Vitamin C) portion of the membrane.

A study published 2010, conducted at the School of Food Science, Washington State University, demonstrated that daily doses of Astaxanthin in humans decreased a DNA damage biomarker, acute phase protein, and enhanced the immune response. (6)

Other studies report Astaxanthin’s ability to block COX 2 enzymes, suppress prostaglandin E2, C Reactive Protein (CRP) and TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha). (7) TNF-alpha is a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation.

Understanding Antioxidant Measurement in Relation to Oxidative Stress

In the 1980’s an assay was developed between scientists at the NIH, and USDA to determine which foods have high antioxidant capacity.
This became known as the ORAC test, also known as Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. The ORAC assay can quantify the scavenging activity of a food, or compound including the five major free radicals produced in the body: hydroxl radical, peroxyl radical, peroxynitrite, singlet oxygen, and superoxide anion. These five free radicals play an essential and vital role in supporting the immune system; however, under conditions of oxidative stress, these free radicals are overproduced, and can harm healthy cells.

In the past few years, there have been considerable challenges to the ORAC assay, which is an in vitro test, and its results cannot automatically be assumed indicative of any in vivo benefits. New tests have been developed including Singlet Oxygen Quenching Rates, Reactive Oxygen Species, and Oxygen Free Radical Scavenging.

A good example of using multiple testing for antioxidant foods and compounds is the tomato. It has a very low ORAC score but yet in other assay tests scores high in singlet oxygen quenching.

Astaxanthin has been tested in three different assays: Singlet Oxygen, ORAC, and Oxygen Free Radical Scavenging. In the Singlet Oxygen test, Astaxanthin yielded an antioxidant strength 550 times greater than vitamin E, 200 times greater than Lutein, and 50 times greater than Beta Carotene. (8) Astaxanthin was 800 times stronger in this test than CoQ10, 75 times stronger than Alpha-lipoic acid, and 3000 times stronger than resveratrol and quercitin.

In the Oxygen Free Radical Scavening test, Astaxanthin was 14.3 times stronger than vitamin E, 17.9 times stronger than Pycnogenol, 53 times stronger than Beta Carotene, and 64.9 times stronger than Vitamin C. (9)

Astaxanthin for dogs

Astaxanthin Molecule

In the ORAC test, Astaxanthin scored 28,222, in comparison with Ginger (14,840), and Pomegranate (10,500). But if we look at other ORAC foods, Acai fruit is higher (102,700) than Astaxanthin, as well as Oregeno (175,295), and Turmeric (127,068). (10) One of the theories that question the reliance on ORAC, is that this assay does not effectively test compounds that are not water-soluble. Astaxanthin is one of those nutrients like vitamin E and vitamin A that is a fat-soluble antioxidant.

Oxidative stress and Inflammation

Inflammation is known medically as a protective mechanism employed by the body against endogenous and exogenous antigens. But chronic inflammation is a prolonged pathological condition that includes tissue destruction, fibrosis, and mononuclear immune cell infiltration. (11) Inflammation exerts it effects through excessive production of free radicals and depletion of antioxidants. (12)

Turmeric

Used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years, this spice, which is a member of the ginger family, contains the antioxidant compound curcumin. Like Astanxanthin and vitamin E, curcumin is a fat soluble antioxidant. Many studies have shown that curcumin has low bioavailability due to factors such as poor absorption, rapid metabolism, and rapid systemic elimination. (13) Recent research has shown that phospholipids combined with curcumin show improved bioavailability. (14) This supports the traditional use of turmeric in curry because it is  mixed with milk or ghee (high in fat) which then increases bioavailability.

It appears that curcumin not only acts as an antioxidant, but may also function indirectly by inhibiting the activity of inflammatory enzymes, or by enhancing the synthesis of glutathione, a critical interacellular antioxidant. (15)

Astaxanthin for dogs means better recovery from high-energy days like this.

Photograph by Sam J. Jordan

Maintaining healthy dogs

Antioxidants are essential to health and longevity. Performance dogs, and sporting dogs can have greater antioxidant needs due to aerobic energy metabolism. Increased antioxidants can help endurance, stamina, as well as recovery. Older dogs have a higher antioxidant need because of the aging process. Dogs facing health issues like arthritis, gastric inflammation, chronic diseases, diabetes, and cancer also have a greater antioxidant requirement because the inflammation and the free radicals are already in the oxidative stress cycle. Young dogs can benefit from antioxidant support to maintain protective inflammation and reduce potential chronic inflammation.

Biostar’s Asta Zan-14 Ingredients

Astaxanthin for dogs
Grown in Norway in special tanks, not harvested from the oceans, this microalgae is one of the most potent antioxidants ever discovered. Its oxygen free radical scavenging ability is greater than vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene. Because of its activity, it is fed in small (milligram) amounts. For dogs under 25lbs,  Asta Zan-14 provides 12 milligrams of Astaxanthin. For dogs over 25lbs, Asta Zan-14 provides 35 milligrams of Astaxanthin, and for dogs over 50 pounds, Asta Zan-14 provides  75 milligrams of Astaxanthin.

Organic turmeric powder
Provides naturally-occuring curcumin, plus manganese, iron, copper, zinc, chromium, B-3, B-6, and Folic Acid.

Sunflower lecithin
This phospholipid from sunflower seeds is important for Astaxanthin and the curcumin in turmeric. Both Astaxanthin and curcumin need phospholipids for bioavailability. Since most commercial phospholipids are from soy, and genetically modified, sunflower phospholipids provide an excellent alternative that is GMO free.

Organic, freeze-dried kale
Provides the antioxidants: lutein, and beta-carotene, plus the flavonoids: kaempferol and quercitin, and vitamin K, which among other actions serves as a cell-signaling nutrient that may help to prolong cell life. Kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds, that have shown anti inflammatory activity by inhibiting prostaglandin PGE-2, and the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Organic, freeze-dried blueberries
This whole food is a phytonutrient powerhouse that includes: anthocyanins, flavonols, coumaric acids, ferulic acids, and resveratrol. These phytonutrients function both as antioxidants and as anti inflammatory compounds in the body.

Menhaden dried fish meal*
Provides protein, and the BCAAs (branched chain amino acids); fat including omega 3 fatty acids. Also provides calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, selenium, zinc, and copper.

*Update: Asta Zan-14 no longer contains Menhaden fish meal. It now contains desiccated beef liver powder – see our product page for a full list of ingredients.

Asta Zan-14 is free of fillers, binders, excipients. It is safe to feed with medications, including NSAIDS and antibiotics.

Directions for Use

Dogs under 25 pounds ½ teaspoon once per day, mixed with food
Dogs 25-50 pounds 1 teaspoon once per day, mixed with food
Dogs over 50 pounds 2 teaspoons once per day, mixed with food

Please consult your veterinarian.

Footnotes

  1. S. Reuter, SC Gupta, et al; Oxidative stress inflammation and cancer: how are they linked?  Free Radical Biology and Medicine, vol 49, issue 11, Dec 2010, pages 1603-1616
  2. R. Visconti, D.Gruco: New insights on oxidative stress in cancer; Curr.Opin, Drug Discov, Dev., 12 (2009), pp 240-245
  3. S. Reuter, SC Gupta, et al; Oxidative stress inflammation and cancer: how are they linked? Free Radical Biology and Medicine, vol 49, issue 11, Dec 2010, pages 1603-1616
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid
  6. JS Park, JLT Chuyun, et al; Astaxanthin decreased oxidative stress and inflammation and enhanced immune response in humans; Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010. Mar 5; 7:18
  7. SJ Lee, SK Bai, et all; Astaxanthin inhibits nitric oxide production, and inflammatory gene expression by suppressing I (kappa) B kinase- dependent NF-kappa B activation. 2003. Mol Cells. August 31; 16 (1): 97-105
  8. B. Capelli, GR Cysweski: Astaxanthin, King of the Carotenoids, 2006, Cynotech Corporation
  9. Ibid
  10. www.oracvalues.com
  11. N. Khansari, Y. Shakiba, et al. Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress as a major cause of age-related diseases and cancer; Rec Pat Infl& Allergy Drug Discovery. 2009. Vol 3, 74-80
  12. GL Hold, ME. El-Omar. Genetic aspects of inflammation and cancer. Biochem J. 2008; 410 (2); 225-235
  13. P. Anand, AB Kunnumakkara, et al. Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises. Mol. Pharmaceutics, 2007, 4 (6), 807-818
  14. Ibid
  15. Curcumin, Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information center. LPI.oregonstate.edu

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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