Since 1994, in addition to our own internal research, we have spearheaded many basic and clinical studies with external research institutions both in Japan and the U.S.. We are proud to have led the way in research on clinical applications of natural astaxanthin for the past over 20 years. In truth, of the currently published clinical trials for natural astaxanthin, more than half have used our astaxanthin.
At AstaReal we really kicked our clinical research on astaxanthin into gear starting in 2011. At the time, we felt eyecare was the most immediate and easy to understand way to demonstrate the effectiveness of astaxanthin, so we focused our clinical research on eyestrain and focal control. In addition to pharmaceutical level toxicity screening to ensure safety, we partnered with one of the leading research institutions in ophthalmology, Hokkaido University, and piled up an unusually robust amount of evidence for a functional nutrition product. The results of that research form the core of the scientific backing for astaxanthin containing eye care supplements, which are the bestselling functional food category.
And now close to 10 years later, there have been many more cases of eye opening research into astaxanthin. The true nature of astaxanthin’s potential is becoming more and more clear. At AstaReal, because of this research and the empirical evidence that has come to light, we believe that astaxanthin may in fact be maintaining and improving the function of mitochondria. At present, we are attempting to verify this with further clinical researches. Mitochondria are an important elements within cells that produce energy, and more and more attention is being paid to them in the fields of anti-aging and geriatric and lifestyle diseases. Put simply, their function is closely related to the process of aging, and the maintenance of health. Because of that, we have set our sights on areas such as muscles, metabolism, and brain, where mitochondrial function is particularly important, and are conducting pioneering basic and clinical researches in each area. In a clinical trial conducted at the University of Washington from 2015 through 2018, we were able to demonstrate improvements in age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia), a majorly important result. Muscle loss is something everyone experiences once they pass 40 years old. What is more, our adaptability to exercise and nutrition also decreases with age, so this muscle loss is extremely difficult to curtail. Muscle loss can be tied directly to sedentary lifestyle and decreases in quality of life, and it has become a large-scale societal problem. And effective drugs and medical treatments have not been forthcoming. For that reason, the results of this clinical trial showing that regular use of astaxanthin can improve muscle function is extremely significant. Additionally we are currently proceeding with clinical research on insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, at the University of California San Diego. Going forward, we will continue to accelerate our research with the aim of carving out a new paradigm in health management, prevention and therapy via astaxanthin.