Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant from the red-pink pigment found in crabs, lobsters, salmon, shrimp and the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. It has a similar structure to beta-carotene (Pro-Vitamin A) but has some differences in chemical composition that may make it safer. We do not produce it in our bodies, which makes it essential to eat a diet rich in Astaxanthin or, if that is not possible, supplement with it.
Our Astaxanthin is harvested from pure Icelandic algae that is extracted by a solvent-free technology. It has been tested for heavy metals and has been certified to be well below the United States Food and Drug Administration’s legally acceptable limits. It is encased in animal product free veggie softgels in the United States, so it is suitable for [pescatarians] vegetarians and vegans.
Product Type: 1 Veggie Softgel
milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans
Two studies examined the effects of supplementing Astaxanthin and topical application of an Astaxanthin cream compared to taking a placebo on skin elasticity and appearance of wrinkles. They concluded that Astaxanthin significantly improved skin elasticity around the cheeks and eyes (crows feet) and reduced age spots. More research is required to determine the effect of only oral supplementation. Another study found Astaxanthin can protect the skin from oxidative damage since it is such a powerful antioxidant.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 66 patients were split into three groups: one took the placebo; the second took Astaxanthin, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E; and the third group took only Vitamin C and Vitamin E. After taking photographs of the skin, measuring wrinkle areas and wrinkle volume rates, it concluded that Astaxanthin significantly improved skin elasticity and reduced the appearance of wrinkles compared to the placebo and Vitamin C and Vitamin E groups.
Another study exposed human dermal fibroblasts (the cells that repair the skin after cuts or bleeding) to moderate doses of ultraviolet light, which damages skin, in test tubes and then were paired with one of three antioxidants: Astaxanthin, Canthaxanthin, or Beta-carotene. Of all the other antioxidants, Astaxanthin was the one that most reduced cell death, most limited oxidative damage and most increased antioxidant enzyme activities. This suggests it is likely that Astaxanthin can reduce oxidative damage to human skin.
Finally, a 2017 study on mice concluded Astaxanthin supplementation limited the appearance of wrinkles and water loss in skin in mice that were exposed to ultraviolet light.
A 2012 randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study concluded that Astaxanthin supplementation improved the performance of people who did the Groton Maze Learning Test (a test used for short term spatial memory, learning efficiency and mistake monitoring) and the CogHealth Battery Test (a series of tests on memory and thinking capability) compared to the group taking the placebo. Another study conducted on mice in 2005 concluded that Astaxanthin has protective effects for the brain, which means it may have similar effects on humans.
A 2011 study found that supplementing Astaxanthin for 12 weeks in healthy adults decreased lipid peroxidation in red blood cells, suggesting that the components of red blood cells (lipids) were protected from oxidative damage by Astaxanthin.
A 2008 study found that supplementing Astaxanthin daily for 10 days improved blood flow, compared to no change being observed in the placebo group. A 2012 study also found that taking 14mg of Astaxanthin daily for four weeks also increased blood flow to the eyes without affecting blood pressure. Astaxanthin was also found to lower blood pressure in stroke-prone mice.
The influence of Astaxanthin on cholesterol is limited and has conflicting results, but the three studies that do exist suggest a positive outcome when considered together although further research needs to be conducted. A 2011 study on 27 overweight people found that Astaxanthin lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol but it did not affect triglycerides however, a 2004 study on 15 healthy post-menopausal women concluded Astaxanthin did not alter bad cholesterol or triglycerides but did note an increase in good cholesterol. Additionally, a 2009 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 61 non-obese people found that Astaxanthin did decrease triglyceride levels and increase good cholesterol, while showing no change to bad cholesterol.
Research Score: Mixed
Several studies suggest that Astaxanthin supplementation can reduce exercise induced oxidative stress. A 2012 double-blind, placebo-controlled study on 40 soccer players concluded that Astaxanthin increased paraoxonase, an enzyme that protects against the damage caused by lipid peroxidation, while there was no change in the placebo group. Another 2011 clinical trial on professional cyclists showed Astaxanthin increased power output.
Other studies also indicate Astaxanthin can improve exercise performance. A 2008 placebo-controlled study on 40 healthy paramedic students measured strength, endurance, and speed. The students supplementing Astaxanthin showed 3 times higher strength and endurance while squatting than the placebo group did.
The benefits of Astaxanthin on humans is also supported by studies on animals. A 2003 study on mice that ran on a treadmill until exhaustion concluded that supplementation can decrease exercise-induced damage to the mice’s hearts and muscles. Another study on rats in 2014 found Astaxanthin postponed exhaustion while swimming by 29%.
Research Score: Strong
2. Antioxidant role of astaxanthin in the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis., Kobayashi M, Kakizono T, Nishio N, Nagai S et al. , Appl. Microbiol Biotechnol, 1997
3. Anti-aging and functional improvement effects for the skin by functional foods intakes: clinical effects on skin by oral ingestion of preparations containing Astaxanthin and Vitamins C and E. Suganuma K, Shiobara M , Sato Y, Nakanuma C, Maekawa T, Ohtsuki M, Yazawa K, Imokawa G, Jichi Medical University Journal, 2012
4. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and b-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress-responsive enzymes, Camera E, Mastrofrancesco A, Fabbri C, Daubrawa F, Picardo M, Sies H and Stahl W,Experimental Dermatology, 2009
5. Preventive effect of dietary astaxanthin on UVA-induced skin photoaging in hairless mice., Komatsu T, Sasaki S, Manabe Y, Hirata T, Sugawara T., PLoS One, 2017
6. Effects of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function - a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Katagiri M, Satoh A, Tsuji S and Shirasawa T., Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 2012
7. Antihypertensive and Neuroprotective Effects of Astaxanthin in Experimental Animals, Hussein G, Nakamura M, Zhao Q, Iguchi T, Goto H, Sankawa U, and Watanabe H., Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2005
10. Astaxanthin increases choroidal blood flow velocity., Saito M, Yoshida K, Saito W, Fujiya A, Ohgami K, Kitaichi N, Tsukahara H, Ishida S, Ohno S., Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2012 Feb;250(2):239-45. doi: 10.1007/s00417-011-1843-1. Epub 2011 Nov 10., available at:
(accessed 9 April 2019)
11. Antihypertensive and Neuroprotective Effects of Astaxanthin in Experimental Animals, Hussein G, Nakamura M, Zhao Q, Iguchi T, Goto H, Sankawa U, and Watanabe H., Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2005
12. Positive effects of astaxanthin on lipid profiles and oxidative stress in overweight subjects, Choi HD, Youn YK, Shin WG., Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 2011
13. The effects of Astaxanthin supplements on lipid peroxidation and antioxidant status in post-menopausal women, Kim YK, Chyun, JH., The Korean Nutrition Society, 2004
14. Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia, Yoshida H, Yanai H, Ito K, Tomono Y, Koikeda T, Tsukahara H, Tada N.,Atherosclorosis, 2009
15. Effect of astaxanthin supplementation on paraoxonase 1 activities and oxidative stress status in young soccer players., Baralic I, Djordjevic B, Dikic N, Kotur-Stevuljevic J, Spasic S, Jelic-Ivanovic Z, Radivojevic N, Andjelkovic M, Pejic S., Phytotherapy Research, 2012
16. Effect of astaxanthin on cycling time trial performance., Earnest CP, Lupo M, White KM, Church TS., International journal of sports medicine, 2011
17. Dietary Supplementation with Astaxanthin-Rich Algal Meal Improves Strength Endurance – A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study on Male Students., Malmstena CL and Lignellb A, Carotenoid Science, 2008
18. Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice, Aoi W, Naito Y, Sakuma K, Kuchide M, Tokuda H, Maoka T, Toyokuni S, Oka S, Yasuhara M, Yoshikawa T., Antioxidants & Redux Signaling, 2003
19. Astaxanthin supplementation delays physical exhaustion and prevents redox imbalances in plasma and soleus muscles of Wistar rats, Polotow TG, Vardaris CV, Mihaliuc AR, Gonçalves MS, Pereira B, Ganini D, Barros MP., Nutrients, 2014