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Astaxanthin for Hamsters


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#1 Owned

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 10:54 PM

Hello,

I'm wondering, does anyone know of any hamster food or nutritional supplement for hamsters that contains the anti-oxidant astaxanthin?

After looking at abstracts of quite a few studies on Pubmed, I think it is something I would like to add to my Robo hamsters' diets, as it looks like it could potentially prevent and/or significantly delay diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular problems, etc., with little or no risk of side effects, and at a low cost.

I found one product for pets called "Spirugreen", supposedly comprised of Spirulina with astaxanthin, but it doesn't say how much astaxanthin is in the product, nor is it specifically recommended for hamsters.

Has anyone else looked into this?




#2 tinypixie

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 11:54 PM

Wow. I would love to hear what becomes of this.

#3 Owned

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 01:32 AM

I found out that the "Spirugreen" product has 0.2mg (200 ug) of astaxanthin per 500 mg tablet. But the people in the customer service dept. at mercola.com couldn't tell me whether or not the product, as formulated, is suitable for Hamsters. They told me to "ask [my] vet".

In any case, based on the dosages used in the various studies I've seen at Pubmed, I estimate that a dose of 10 to 20 ug (micrograms) per day would be good for my Robos.

I did a quick search and found out that Fuji Chemical Co. was just granted a patent for pet food containing astaxanthin, and they sell astaxanthin in several bulk forms, intended as ingredients for processed food products, but I'm not aware of any pet food manufacturers presently using it in their products.

Until something becomes commercially available, I'm very tempted to just buy some 2 or 4 mg astaxanthin gelcaps (from iherb.com or vitacost.com) and mix it in with their food...I just don't know yet what's the best way to do that.

#4 Owned

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Posted 25 November 2011 - 08:33 AM

Hello Tinypixiexoxo,

To keep you updated, I just ordered some "AstraReal" astaxanthin gelcaps. According to the label, each one contains 2mg of astaxanthin in olive oil.

As an experiment, what I'm thinking about doing is melting a few ounces of cheddar cheese in a double boiler (all of the "kids" love cheddar cheese), mixing in the contents of one or two gelcaps, and then putting it back in the refrigerator to harden. Hopefully the amount will be so small that it won't change the flavor of the cheese very much and they'll still like it. Also, luckily, from what I've read, astaxanthin seems to be very heat stable, so mixing it into melted cheese shouldn't cause it to break down and lose any potency.

I may come up with other ideas eventually, but I think this is what I'll try for a start.

BTW here is some info on astaxanthin by one of the companies that make it:
http://www.oryza.co.jp/html/english/pdf/Astaxanthin%20ver%201.0%20.pdf

#5 Owned

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

Just in case anyone else is interested, here's an update:

I got these astaxanthin gel caps: http://www.iherb.com/Astavita-AstaReal-Astaxanthin-60-Softgels/11882?at=0

Each capsule contains about 8 or 10 drops of a mixture of astaxanthin in olive oil.

Instead of using cheese as I originally planned, I put two drops of the astaxanthin/olive oil mixture into a jar of "Turkey With Vegetables" organic babyfood, into which I had also put a little extra turkey (from a jar of just turkey babyfood).

My hamsters really love that babyfood. They're generally so picky about food, but they love that stuff. They lick the dish clean.

I plan on giving it to them maybe two or three times a week.

#6 Owned

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:25 AM

Well I've been giving my hamsters a low dose of astaxanthin (about 3 times per week) for about two months now, and so far I haven't noticed any ill effects whatsoever...in fact they seem to be thriving on it. Some of them seem to have lost a little weight, and they appear to be more fit.

Here's a recently published study suggesting that astaxanthin might be good therapy for diabetic hamsters (and to prevent diabetes in susceptible animals in the first place).

Food Funct. 2012 Feb 3;3(2):120-6. Epub 2011 Nov 17.
An intervention study in obese mice with astaxanthin, a marine carotenoid--effects on insulin signaling and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Arunkumar E, Bhuvaneswari S, Anuradha CV.
SourceDepartment of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Tamil Nadu, India.

Abstract
Astaxanthin (ASX), a xanthophyll carotenoid from the marine algae Hematococcus pluvialis, has anti-obesity and insulin-sensitivity effects. The specific molecular mechanisms of its actions are not yet established. The present study was designed to investigate the mechanisms underlying the insulin sensitivity effects of ASX in a non-genetic insulin resistant animal model. A group of male Swiss albino mice was divided into two and fed either a starch-based control diet or a high fat-high fructose diet (HFFD). Fifteen days later, mice in each dietary group were divided into two and were treated with either ASX (6 mg kg(-1) per day) in olive oil or olive oil alone. At the end of 60 days, glucose, insulin and pro-inflammatory cytokines in plasma, lipids and oxidative stress markers in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue were assessed. Further, post-receptor insulin signaling events in skeletal muscle were analyzed. Increased body weight, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and increased plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 observed in HFFD-fed mice were significantly improved by ASX addition. ASX treatment also reduced lipid levels and oxidative stress in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. ASX improved insulin signaling by enhancing the autophosphorylation of insulin receptor-β (IR-β), IRS-1 associated PI3-kinase step, phospho-Akt/Akt ratio and GLUT-4 translocation in skeletal muscle. This study demonstrates for the first time that chronic ASX administration improves insulin sensitivity by activating the post-receptor insulin signaling and by reducing oxidative stress, lipid accumulation and proinflammatory cytokines in obese mice.

PMID: 22089895 [PubMed - in process]

I should say that before deciding to add astaxanthin to Hammy's diet, I also considered rosemary extract and black seed oil, which also have lots of documented evidence of exceptional health and anti-aging benefits, e.g., anti-inflammatory, insulin-sensitizing, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic. The main reason I settled on astaxanthin was because of its very low toxicity.

Lastly, here's a review paper on it:
http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/16/4/355.pdf

#7 Owned

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:27 AM

Well I've been giving my hamsters a low dose of astaxanthin (about 3 times per week) for about two months now, and so far I haven't noticed any ill effects whatsoever...in fact they seem to be thriving on it. Some of them seem to have lost a little weight, and they appear to be more fit.

Here's a recently published study suggesting that astaxanthin might be good therapy for diabetic hamsters (and to prevent diabetes in susceptible animals in the first place).

Food Funct. 2012 Feb 3;3(2):120-6. Epub 2011 Nov 17.
An intervention study in obese mice with astaxanthin, a marine carotenoid--effects on insulin signaling and pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Arunkumar E, Bhuvaneswari S, Anuradha CV.
SourceDepartment of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Tamil Nadu, India.

Abstract
Astaxanthin (ASX), a xanthophyll carotenoid from the marine algae Hematococcus pluvialis, has anti-obesity and insulin-sensitivity effects. The specific molecular mechanisms of its actions are not yet established. The present study was designed to investigate the mechanisms underlying the insulin sensitivity effects of ASX in a non-genetic insulin resistant animal model. A group of male Swiss albino mice was divided into two and fed either a starch-based control diet or a high fat-high fructose diet (HFFD). Fifteen days later, mice in each dietary group were divided into two and were treated with either ASX (6 mg kg(-1) per day) in olive oil or olive oil alone. At the end of 60 days, glucose, insulin and pro-inflammatory cytokines in plasma, lipids and oxidative stress markers in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue were assessed. Further, post-receptor insulin signaling events in skeletal muscle were analyzed. Increased body weight, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and increased plasma levels of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 observed in HFFD-fed mice were significantly improved by ASX addition. ASX treatment also reduced lipid levels and oxidative stress in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. ASX improved insulin signaling by enhancing the autophosphorylation of insulin receptor-β (IR-β), IRS-1 associated PI3-kinase step, phospho-Akt/Akt ratio and GLUT-4 translocation in skeletal muscle. This study demonstrates for the first time that chronic ASX administration improves insulin sensitivity by activating the post-receptor insulin signaling and by reducing oxidative stress, lipid accumulation and proinflammatory cytokines in obese mice.

PMID: 22089895 [PubMed - in process]

I should say that before deciding to add astaxanthin to Hammy's diet, I also considered rosemary extract and black seed oil, which also have lots of documented evidence of exceptional health and anti-aging benefits, e.g., anti-inflammatory, insulin-sensitizing, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic. The main reason I settled on astaxanthin was because of its very low toxicity.

Lastly, here's a review paper on it:
http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/16/4/355.pdf

#8 emilystar

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:13 AM

That's interesting :scratchchin: I've never even heard of astaxanthin. I'm glad it's working out for you :)

#9 tinypixie

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 11:35 PM

Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!! Also, Owned, thanks for your tips with helping Panda. Though I was unable to get any astaxanthin, I did get some baby food and gave it to Panda, and now she is as if she never got sick. Thanks so much!!

#10 Owned

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:36 PM

Edit: Actually I only add about 5 ml of extra virgin olive oil, and not the 10 to 15 ml that I incorrectly stated below.

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I'm very glad to hear that Panda is feeling better (You must be a good Mommy!). There's nothing more depressing than a sick hamster and the feeling of helplessness that goes with it.

Anyway, I've been experimenting a little bit adding other things to the baby food, trying to make it as nutritious as possible without overdoing it.

Here's my present formula:

(1) One 4 oz. jar of "Earth's Best" organic baby food (I usually use one of the following: "Spinach & Potatoes", "Peas & Brown Rice", "Rice & Lentil Dinner", or "Vegetable Turkey Dinner".

(2) I usually add a little extra protein by way of some extra turkey. I add about 1.25 oz. of Gerber turkey (which is 1/2 of a jar).

(3) a pinch of iodized salt.

(4) about 1/4 teaspoon of "Red Star" nutritional yeast (contains lots of B vitamins).

(5) one drop of vitamin D mixture from a 400 IU gel cap (the gel caps I bought are very commonly found generic store brand, and contain about 3 to 4 drops of the vitamin D mixture, so one drop would contain somewhere between 100 to 133 IU of vitamin D). I just puncture the gel cap with the tip of a steak knife and squeeze the gel cap enough to produce one drop.

(6) About 10 or 15 ml of extra virgin olive oil. (I also add some astaxanthin to the olive oil, but the extra virgin olive oil is an important ingredient even without the astaxanthin...see below).


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J Nutr. 2008 Aug;138(8):1411-6.
Oxidative DNA damage is prevented by extracts of olive oil, hydroxytyrosol, and other olive phenolic compounds in human blood mononuclear cells and HL60 cells.
Fabiani R, Rosignoli P, De Bartolomeo A, Fuccelli R, Servili M, Montedoro GF, Morozzi G.
SourceDipartimento di Specialità Medico-Chirurgiche e Sanità Pubblica, Sezione di Epidemiologia Molecolare ed Igiene Ambientale, Università degli Studi di Perugia, 06126 Perugia, Italy. [email protected]

Abstract
Our aim in this study was to provide further support to the hypothesis that phenolic compounds may play an important role in the anticarcinogenic properties of olive oil. We measured the effect of olive oil phenols on hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2))-induced DNA damage in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and promyelocytic leukemia cells (HL60) using single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay). Hydroxytyrosol [3,4-dyhydroxyphenyl-ethanol (3,4-DHPEA)] and a complex mixture of phenols extracted from both virgin olive oil (OO-PE) and olive mill wastewater (WW-PE) reduced the DNA damage at concentrations as low as 1 micromol/L when coincubated in the medium with H(2)O(2) (40 micromol/L). At 10 micromol/L 3,4-DHPEA, the protection was 93% in HL60 and 89% in PBMC. A similar protective activity was also shown by the dialdehydic form of elenoic acid linked to hydroxytyrosol (3,4-DHPEA-EDA) on both kinds of cells. Other purified compounds such as isomer of oleuropein aglycon (3,4-DHPEA-EA), oleuropein, tyrosol, [p-hydroxyphenyl-ethanol (p-HPEA)] the dialdehydic form of elenoic acid linked to tyrosol, caffeic acid, and verbascoside also protected the cells against H(2)O(2)-induced DNA damage although with a lower efficacy (range of protection, 25-75%). On the other hand, when tested in a model system in which the oxidative stress was induced by phorbole 12-myristate 13-acetate-activated monocytes, p-HPEA was more effective than 3,4-DHPEA in preventing the oxidative DNA damage. Overall, these results suggest that OO-PE and WW-PE may efficiently prevent the initiation step of carcinogenesis in vivo, because the concentrations effective against the oxidative DNA damage could be easily reached with normal intake of olive oil.

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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2002;42(3):209-21.
Biological properties of olive oil phytochemicals.
Visioli F, Galli C.
SourceUniversity of Milan, Department of Pharmacological Sciences, Italy. [email protected]

Abstract
Olive oil is the principal source of fat in the Mediterranean diet, which has been associated with a lower incidence of coronary heart disease and certain cancers. Extra-virgin olive oil contains a considerable amount of phenolic compounds, for example, hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, that are responsible for its peculiar taste and for its high stability. Evidence is accumulating to demonstrate that olive oil phenolics are powerful antioxidants, both in vitro and in vivo; also, they exert other potent biological activities that could partially account for the observed healthful effects of the Mediterranean diet.

PMID: 12058980 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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Rejuvenation Res. 2012 Feb;15(1):3-21. Epub 2012 Jan 9.
Phenolic Secoiridoids in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Impede Fibrogenic and Oncogenic Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition: Extra Virgin Olive Oil As a Source of Novel Antiaging Phytochemicals.
Vazquez-Martin A, Fernández-Arroyo S, Cufí S, Oliveras-Ferraros C, Lozano-Sánchez J, Vellón L, Micol V, Joven J, Segura-Carretero A, Menendez JA.
Source1 Catalan Institute of Oncology , Girona, Catalonia, Spain .

Abstract
Abstract The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) genetic program is a molecular convergence point in the life-threatening progression of organ fibrosis and cancer toward organ failure and metastasis, respectively. Here, we employed the EMT process as a functional screen for testing crude natural extracts for accelerated drug development in fibrosis and cancer. Because extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) (i.e., the juice derived from the first cold pressing of the olives without any further refining process) naturally contains high levels of phenolic compounds associated with the health benefits derived from consuming an EVOO-rich Mediterranean diet, we have tested the ability of an EVOO-derived crude phenolic extract to regulate fibrogenic and oncogenic EMT in vitro. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry assays revealed that the EVOO phenolic extract was mainly composed (∼70%) of two members of the secoiridoid family of complex polyphenols, namely oleuropein aglycone-the bitter principle of olives-and its derivative decarboxymethyl oleuropein aglycone. EVOO secoiridoids efficiently prevented loss of proteins associated with polarized epithelial phenotype (i.e., E-cadherin) as well as de novo synthesis of proteins associated with mesenchymal migratory morphology of transitioning cells (i.e., vimentin). The ability of EVOO to impede transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-induced disintegration of E-cadherin-mediated cell-cell contacts apparently occurred as a consequence of the ability of EVOO phenolics to prevent the upregulation of SMAD4-a critical mediator of TGF-β signaling-and of the SMAD transcriptional cofactor SNAIL2 (Slug)-a well-recognized epithelial repressor. Indeed, EVOO phenolics efficiently prevented crucial TGF-β-induced EMT transcriptional events, including upregulation of SNAI2, TCF4, VIM (Vimentin), FN (fibronectin), and SERPINE1 genes. While awaiting a better mechanistic understanding of how EVOO phenolics molecularly shut down the EMT differentiation process, it seems reasonable to suggest that nontoxic Oleaceae secoiridoids certainly merit to be considered for aging studies and, perhaps, for ulterior design of more pharmacologically active second-generation anti-EMT molecules.

PMID: 22229524 [PubMed - in process] PMCID: PMC3283896[Available on 2013/2/1]

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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Jun 9;247(1):60-4.
Free radical-scavenging properties of olive oil polyphenols.
Visioli F, Bellomo G, Galli C.
SourceInstitute of Pharmacological Sciences, University of Milan, Italy.

Abstract
Plants in the Mediterranean basin, such as vine and olive trees, have developed an array of antioxidant defences to protect themselves from environmental stress. Accordingly, the incidence of coronary heart disease and certain cancers is lower in the Mediterranean area, where olive oil is the dietary fat of choice. As opposed to other vegetable oils, extra virgin olive oil, which is obtained by physical pressure from a whole fruit, is rich in phenolic components that are responsible for the particular stability of the oil. We have investigated the scavenging actions of some olive oil phenolics, namely hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, with respect to superoxide anion generation, neutrophils respiratory burst, and hypochlorous acid. The low EC50S indicate that both compounds are potent scavengers of superoxide radicals and inhibitors of neutrophils respiratory burst: whenever demonstrated in vivo, these properties may partially explain the observed lower incidence of CHD and cancer associated with the Mediterranean diet.

PMID: 9636654 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Edited by Owned, 20 March 2012 - 12:27 PM.


#11 Owned

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:31 PM

Correction to the above post: Actually I only add about 5 ml of extra virgin olive oil per jar of baby food, and not the 10 to 15 ml that I incorrectly stated above.