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Originally published June 8 2005

Product review: AstaFactor Salmon Essentials with salmon oil and astaxanthin

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

I'd like to share the news about Mera Pharmaceuticals' AstaFactor Salmon Essentials, an exciting health product that combines potent antioxidants with heart-healthy oils. Salmon Essentials contains purified salmon oil and Astaxanthin, two ingredients that are, in their own right, potent nutritional healing supplements. Together, they create a fantastic supplement that protects you from cardiovascular disease, boosts heart health, enhances function of your nervous system, and helps prevent degenerative diseases.

Now, remember, I only review products that I personally take and recommend. I get paid absolutely nothing to talk about these products, and I don't make commissions or kickbacks on anything I promote. Also, remember that everything mentioned here is my own personal opinion as an informed nutritionist and definitely not official information or health claims from Mera Pharmaceuticals.

Omega-3 rich salmon oil has been in the press quite frequently, so you've probably already read about some of its many health benefits. If you're not getting some form of omega-3 oil into your diet, you are putting yourself at unnecessary risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fatty or oily fish several times a week, as well as 2 to 4 grams of EPA or DHA oils per day to lower their total triglycerides. Since salmon oil contains both EPA and DHA oils, it does wonders for your cardiovascular health; in fact, it's no exaggeration to say that it prevents and can even help reverse cardiovascular disease.


Salmon Essential's other ingredient, astaxanthin, is an exciting antioxidant I've been calling 'Vitamin X.' As the world begins to learn more about it, I think people are going to be very excited about it, too. Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that's extracted from microalgae. It is grown and harvested in large water farms (aquaculture) in Kona, Hawaii.

I've toured this particular facility of Mera Pharmaceuticals, and have seen their Astaxanthin production and quality control. These dedicated scientists are doing tremendous good with their work, and they're involved in projects with the potential to dramatically enhance the nutritional profile of consumers in America and around the world.

This Astaxanthin product was originally created to serve the fish food market, because Astaxanthin has a bright red color. Salmon farmers liked to buy astaxanthin to color the flesh of their fish. Feeding Astaxanthin to the salmon on their farms made the fish take on a deeper, redder color throughout their flesh, which is what consumers look for when they're buying salmon. In time, fish farmers began to notice that feeding astaxanthin also enhanced the fish's immune function and longevity, creating healthier fish. This caused increasing interest in various markets, such as cattle feed.

Over time, as more farmers began to use the product, it became apparent that astaxanthin would have significant health benefits for humans as well. It is now being sold as a nutritional supplement, and is able to deliver rather astounding health benefits to human beings.

Astaxanthin does everything that antioxidants do in the human body, boosting immune system function and protecting against cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, infectious diseases, and so on. Moreover, this particular potent antioxidant can cross the blood-brain barrier, so astaxanthin also protects against eye damage due to solar radiation. If you spend a lot of time outdoors and are not protecting your eyes with UV-filtering glasses, this supplement can greatly enhance your internal protection against sunlight damage to the eyes. As a result, it can protect your vision and even help prevent macular degeneration.

Astaxanthin as internal sunscreen

Astaxanthin also functions as an internal sunscreen. Poor nutrition, not the sun, causes sunburns, by the way. In order to get sunburned, you have to be exposed to excessive ultraviolet radiation and suffer from extremely poor nutrition. But with Astaxanthin, you can have an internal sunscreen that prevents your skin from burning even when exposed to excessive ultraviolet radiation.

This is important, as sunlight is beneficial to human health. Every human being needs to be exposed to natural sunlight on a regular basis; otherwise, you will suffer from vitamin D deficiency diseases, such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, mental depression, osteoporosis, diabetes and so on. Most Americans are chronically deficient in vitamin D, and partly because they're wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun like the plague.

I experienced astaxanthin's internal benefits functions myself, when I was taking this product during my visit to Hawaii. I tend to use no sunscreen whatsoever when I'm out in the sun, because, first of all, I don't believe that sun is damaging to you, and secondly, I know that sunscreen contains a lot of dangerous toxic ingredients that do damage you. Instead of sunscreen, I use high antioxidants in my nutrition to protect me from excessive ultraviolet radiation, and since I've become a healthy individual and relied on nutrition, I've never experienced a sunburn.

When I was in Hawaii, I took this Astaxanthin product as an experiment, and then spent three hours under the intense Hawaiian sun with no shirt on. There I was in the intense Hawaiian summer sun that would have burned me to a crisp years ago, doing some boogie boarding exercises and waiting to see if I would have a burn from it. Thanks to the astaxanthin and my other nutritional habits, the only effect I experienced was simply a darkening of the tan and a temporary reddening of the skin that faded in a few hours. No sunburn.

This Salmon Essentials astaxanthin product can help you get more healthy sun exposure by giving you a potent antioxidant that acts as an internal sunscreen, but don't run out into the sun after popping a couple of these pills, thinking that you're immune to sunburn now. It can actually take some time to build up the antioxidant level in your tissues. In my experience, it takes 30 days of intense nutritional supplementation to raise the antioxidant levels in your tissues.

By the way, just to make sure you're using common sense on this, I encourage you to read Dr. Michael Holick's book, "The UV Advantage," describing how to get sensible sun exposure without overdoing it. I'm certainly not saying that any amount of sun exposure is good for you. You really don't need that much to create sufficient stores of vitamin D in your body, and it is easy to overdo it, especially if you're not following a perfectly healthy diet, or if you don't have extremely high nutrition from consuming superfoods and nutritional supplements.

The health benefits of Salmon Essentials

The Salmon Essentials nutritional supplement is actually good medicine. If it could be patented and sold as a prescription drug, it would probably be one of the most popular and exciting prescription drugs released on the market in years. The essential fatty acids in this product can lower total triglycerides, lower high cholesterol, reduce the buildup of plaque or atherosclerosis, and dramatically reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. The innate effects of its naturally-occurring oil essentially give you healthier blood and a healthier cardiovascular system. This is the kind of oil that we, as humans, are supposed to eat, so it's no surprise that it has positive medicinal effects on the human body.

Since the FDA has not approved Salmon Essentials -- or any nutritional supplement -- as a drug, the Mera company cannot make these kinds of claims on the product. On the other hand, I can tell you these things out of my own experience and opinion, and with the understanding that my review of this product has no ties whatsoever to the Mera Pharmaceuticals company. I have not been paid to review this product, and I receive no financial compensation if you purchase it. Salmon Essentials is a product that I simply believe offers outstanding health benefits, and I'm offering you my own personal opinion of what it can do for human health.

Do I take this product? Yes, absolutely I do. I've been taking it for several months, and I plan to continue taking it, but I also take a lot of other healthy oils, and a lot of other nutritional supplements. I get a good, healthy serving of antioxidants each and every day in my healthy diet, so this is not a product that I particularly need to take every single day.

But most people don't really have a super healthy diet, so they need a product like this on a daily basis. This is especially true for those currently battling vision or degenerative eye problems, or heart disease, high cholesterol, high triglycerides or other cardiovascular disorders. You can go online and order Salmon Essentials at, or you may be able to find it in health food stores. If you can't find it locally, ask your local health food store to stock it. It's an excellent product; I think it's one that should be part of your daily regimen of nutritional supplements.

Be sure to work with a qualified health practitioner before taking any supplement, by the way. One of the side effects of salmon oil is a reduction in the "stickiness" of your blood cells. That makes your blood flow more smoothly, but it also "thins" the blood at the same time. This biological effect has potentially serious consequences (good or bad, depending on your health situation) that should be reviewed by your doctor or naturopath before you start supplementing with this product (or any salmon oil, for that matter).

Personally, I think thinner blood is better. Blood platelets aren't supposed to stick together: they're supposed to flow freely. So I take all the salmon oil and astaxanthin I want, and I personally would never ask for health advice from an M.D. They're more likely to tell me, "Don't bother with that salmon oil, we have DRUGS that are better!" But then again, that's my own personal approach, and unless you're trained in nutrition, you're probably better off seeking professional advice.

Pharmaceuticals vs. nutritional supplements

You may wonder about the name, "Mera Pharmaceuticals." This is a company that could have gone either way in terms of providing medicinal substances to the market. They could have gone the pharmaceutical route and tried to get drug approval for some of these substances, but they've gone more the nutritional supplement route.

This is good news for you as a consumer, because now you can acquire these items at a fraction of the price they might have cost as pharmaceuticals. It's really the same exact substance. Whether it's sold as a drug or as a nutritional supplement, it's still astaxanthin, and you're still getting a tremendous health benefit from taking it. My advice is to keep these kinds of products available in the marketplace by supporting this company and the nutritional supplements industry. The best way you can do that is by purchasing quality supplements and consuming them on a regular basis. You'll enhance your cardiovascular health and help prevent heart disease, while supporting an industry that's literally saving or enhancing the lives of millions of people each year.


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