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MicroalgaeAstaxanthin is derived from a word meaning “yellow leaves” and belongs to carotenoids; it is a lipid-soluble pigment that has a bright color, just like other carotenoids. Astaxanthin is among the most powerful antioxidants that provide health benefits in a wide range.

Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, salmon, trout and shellfish. It gives the vibrant red color of salmon meat and cooked shellfish such as shrimp. Currently, the primary natural source for Astaxanthin is microalgae, which seems to have the higher levels of natural Astaxanthin.

Research shows that Astaxanthin has potent antioxidant activity, which may be beneficial in cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. Based on an animal study in 2007, it suggested that Astaxanthin inhibits the elevation in body weight and improves cholesterol profile.

Health benefits

  1. Pain relieverPain reliever: Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory pain reliever; it blocks a broader range of inflammatory compounds. It reduces tumor necrosis factor and other pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation and pain therefore, it is very effective in reducing chronic inflammation such as arthritis.
  2. Manage diabetes and obesityManage diabetes and obesity: Astaxanthin reduces the process of glycation and decreases inflammatory responses. Protein and lipid glycation causes increased oxidative stress, high levels of chronic inflammation, and extensive tissue damage. Astaxanthin suppresses dangerous lipid peroxidation and stimulates healthy immune defenses in the body.
  3. Support eye health: The human retina naturally contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are closely related to Astaxanthin in molecules. Astaxanthin crosses the blood-retina barrier and brings anti-inflammatory protection to the eyes. Clinical studies have shown that Astaxanthin helps improve diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, and eye fatigue.
  4. Skin protectionSkin protection: Astaxanthin accumulates in the skin and protects against ultraviolet radiation and reduces the risk of skin cancer. It protects your skin from the sun and reduces the signs of aging.
  5. Anti-aging effectAnti-aging effect: Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier and protects the brain tissue, which makes Astaxanthin a “Natural Brain Food”. Studies show that beta-amyloid, a toxic protein that reduces oxygen delivery to tissues, found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, and also found on red blood cells. Supplementation with Astaxanthin helps decrease the accumulation of amyloid-beta in red blood cells.
  6. Improve physical performanceImprove physical performance: Astaxanthin has a positive effect is on mitochondria, it is a powerful agent to clean free radicals from muscle tissue and helps reduce oxidative stress.

Astaxanthin-rich food sourcesAstaxanthin-rich food sources: shellfish, trout, salmon, fish eggs, red-pigmented fruits, and vegetables such as carrots and red peppers. Wild salmon has relatively high Astaxanthin, but you have to eat about 6 ounces (165 grams) of salmon in order to get 3.6 mg of Astaxanthin, a dietary supplement may offer a sufficient amount to benefit health.

What to look for in Astaxanthin dietary supplement?

  1. Look for Astaxanthin products made from marine microalgae with no chemical solvents or preservatives added.
  2. Look for an Astaxanthin formula that contains oil or fatty acid, which will help maximize the absorption in the gestational tract, because Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid.
  3. Look for at least a 4 mg minimum serving size, currently daily dosages of Astaxanthin now range from 4-12 mg. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, it is recommended that you consult your health care provider to take a higher dose of Astaxanthin supplement.


“Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

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  1. Fassett, Robert G.; Coombes, Jeff S. (2009). “Astaxanthin, oxidative stress, inflammation and cardiovascular disease”. Future Cardiology 4 (3): 333–342. doi:10.2217/fca.09.19. PMID 19656058
  2. Mayumi Ikeuchi, Tomoyuki Koyama, Jiro Takahashi and KAZUNAGA Yazawa. Effect of Astaxanthin in Obese Mice Fed a High-fat Diet. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 71 (4), 893-899, 2007
  3. Arunkumar E, Bhuvaneswari S, Anuradha CV. An intervention study in obese mice with astaxanthin, a marine carotenoid–effects on insulin signaling and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Food Funct. 2012 Feb;3(2):120-6.
  4. Sun Z, Liu J, Zeng X, Huangfu J, Jiang Y, Wang M, Chen F. Protective actions of microalgae against endogenous and exogenous advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) in human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Food Funct. 2011 May;2(5):251-8. doi: 10.1039/c1fo10021a. Epub 2011 Apr 21. PubMed PMID: 21779563.
  5. Tominaga K, Hongo N, Karato M, Yamashita E. Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects. Acta Biochim Pol. 2012;59(1):43-7.
  6. Liu X, Osawa T. Astaxanthin protects neuronal cells against oxidative damage and is a potent candidate for brain food. Forum Nutr. 2009;61:129-35.
  7. Camera E, Mastrofrancesco A, Fabbri C, Daubrawa F, Picardo M, Sies H, Stahl W. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and beta-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress- responsive enzymes. Exp Dermatol. 2009 Mar;18(3):222-31. Epub 2008 Sep

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About the author: Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, TCM Practitioner, Energy Healer, Master Hypnotist, Reiki Master, Advanced Theta Healing Practitioner, Author and Speaker, Lucy Liu, the founder of optimalhealthsolutions.ca, has gained a good reputation in holistic health after many years of serving patients and clients as a holistic health practitioner. Lucy has developed a unique and comprehensive approach, which combines Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, and Alternative Medicine together, to help others achieve optimal health by creating harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, and maintain long-term success for healthy lifestyle changes.
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