Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in nature primarily in marine organisms such as microalgae, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, and crustaceans. The green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis is considered the richest source of astaxanthin. Other microalgae, such as Chlorella zofingiensis, Chlorococcum spp., and Botryococcus braunii, also contain astaxanthin. It may also be found in the feathers of birds, such as quail, flamingo, and storks, as well as in propolis, the resinous substance collected by bees.
Carotenoids are well known for their therapeutic benefits in the aging process and various diseases, because of their antioxidant properties. Astaxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid like lutein, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin, which do not convert to vitamin A.
According to a review, carotenoids are of interest based on their beneficial mechanisms of action for cancers, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration, and cataract formation. Numerous studies support the use of astaxanthin as a potent antioxidant that may be beneficial in decreasing the risks of certain chronic diseases. It may also reduce oxidative stress in the nervous system, reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, astaxanthin has well-documented anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating effects.
Human trials have been conducted in disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, dyspepsia (with or without Helicobacter pylori infection), hyperlipidemia, male infertility, and skin conditions, and regarding exercise capacity, muscle soreness, and transplants. However, results have been mixed, and more research is needed in these areas before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
3,3'-Dihydroxy-4,4'-diketo-beta-carotene, 3,3'-dihydroxy-beta,beta'-caroten-4,4'-dione, 3R,3'R-astaxanthin, 3R,3'S-astaxanthin, 3S,3'S-astaxanthin, Agrobacterium aurantiacum, alpha-carotene, Antarctic krill, AST, AstaCarox®, AstaFactor® Rejuvenating Formula, AstaFactor® Sports Formula, Astavita AstaREAL®, astaxanthin diester, astaxanthin dilysinate tetrahydrochloride, astaxanthin-amino acid conjugate, astaxanthine, Astaxin®, ASX, Atlantic salmon, basidiomycete yeast, beta-carotene, Botryococcus braunii, canthaxanthin, canthoxanthin, Cardax®, carotenoid, CDX-085, Chlorella zofingiensis, Chlorococcum spp., crayfish, crustaceans, DDA, disodium disuccinate astaxanthin, E161j, Euphausia superba, fatty acids, flamingo, gamma-tocopherol, green microalgae, Haematococcus algae extract, Haematococcus pluvialis, homochiral (3S,3'S)-astaxanthin, krill, lutein, lycopene, meso-3R,3'S isomer, meso-astaxanthin, microalgae, nonesterified astaxanthin, non-provitamin A carotenoid, omega-3 fatty acids, ovoester, Phaffia rhodozyma, propolis, quail, red carotenoid, retinoid, salmon, shrimp, sockeye salmon, storks, terpenoids, tetrahydrochloride dilysine astaxanthin salt, tomato, trout, wild salmon, Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous, xanthophylls.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Evidence suggests that astaxanthin may have antioxidant activity. Additional research is needed to confirm these results.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Preliminary research suggests that astaxanthin, as part of a multi-ingredient antioxidant supplement, may reduce pain and duration associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. However, larger studies are warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
Limited evidence suggests that astaxanthin may be beneficial in dyspepsia. Additional evidence is warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
High-quality evidence supporting the use of astaxanthin to improve exercise capacity is lacking. More studies are warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
High-quality evidence supporting the use of astaxanthin for high cholesterol is lacking. More studies are warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
Preliminary research suggests that astaxanthin, as part of a multi-ingredient supplement, may benefit patients with macular degeneration. However, studies evaluating astaxanthin alone are warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
Limited evidence suggests that astaxanthin may be beneficial in male infertility. Additional evidence is warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
According to preliminary research, a combination product containing astaxanthin was found to reduce climacteric symptoms in women with menopause. Studies evaluating astaxanthin alone are needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Evidence supporting the use of astaxanthin for muscle soreness is lacking. More studies are warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
According to preliminary research, astaxanthin may be beneficial in alleviating pain and improving the ability to perform daily activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. However, larger studies are warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
According to preliminary research, astaxanthin may help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity and moisture content. More studies are warranted before a conclusion can be drawn.
There is an ongoing study being conducted assessing the effects of astaxanthin on vascular structure, oxidative stress, and inflammation in renal transplant patients. Results of this trial are pending.