Uses

Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family of plant pigments, occurring in nature primarily in ocean plant life. Astaxanthin is also commercially synthesized for use in fish farming.1 , 2 Like other carotenoids, astaxanthin has strong antoxidant activity, and test tube and animal research has suggested potential anti-inflammatory, immune-regulating, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.3 , 4
What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
2 Stars
Anti-Aging
4 to 12 mg daily
Astaxanthin might support skin health by reducing fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin elasticity.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family that has antioxidant and other properties that might support skin health. In a controlled trial in women, 4 mg astaxanthin per day reduced fine lines and wrinkles and improved skin elasticity, but did not significantly affect skin moisture. In a double-blind trial in men, 6 mg astaxanthin per day improved skin elasticity, as well as two out of six measures of wrinkle severity and one out of three measures of skin moisture, but did not affect skin oil production.
2 Stars
Athletic Performance
4 mg per day
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family with strong antioxidant properties that might protect against the oxidative stress of exercise.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family with strong antioxidant properties that might protect against the oxidative stress of exercise. Animal studies also suggest a potential effect of astaxanthin on energy metabolism. In a double-blind trial, elite soccer players who took 4 mg per day of astaxanthin for three months had lower blood measures of muscle damage and oxidative stress after a two-hour training session. However, in another double-blind trial in weight-training men, 4 mg astaxanthin per day for three weeks did not reduce either muscle soreness, muscle weakness, or blood measures of muscle damage following a bout of intense weight-lifting. A double-blind trial of endurance athletes found that 4 mg per day astaxanthin for four weeks shortened the time required to complete a distance cycling trial. However, in another double-blind trial, endurance performance was not improved by taking 20 mg astaxanthin per day for four weeks.
2 Stars
Gastritis
4 to 12 mg per day
The carotenoid astaxanthin may inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori and reduce related gastric inflammation.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family that has an inhibitory effect on the growth of Helicobacter pylori, and reduces gastric inflammation related to this organism, according to animal studies. In a double-blind trial of people with functional dyspepsia, those who were infected with H. pylori had reduced symptoms of acid reflux when they took 40 mg per day of astaxanthin, but a lower amount of 16 mg per day was not helpful, and neither amount of astaxanthin improved other symptoms of dyspepsia. In subjects who were not infected with Helicobacter pylori, neither amount of astaxanthin was effective.
2 Stars
High Cholesterol
4 to 12 mg daily
Astaxanthin has antioxidant and other properties that may help improve blood cholesterol regulation and protect against lipoprotein oxidation.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family that has antioxidant and other properties that may help improve blood cholesterol regulation and protect against lipoprotein oxidation, according to test tube and animal studies. One double-blind trial in normal weight people with high blood triglycerides found astaxanthin, taken in amounts of either 6 mg or 12 mg per day, raised HDL cholesterol, but had no effect on total or LDL cholesterol. However, another double-blind trial in overweight people, using 20 mg per day of astaxanthin, found no significant change in blood lipids compared to a placebo.
2 Stars
High Triglycerides
4 to 12 mg daily
Astaxanthin has antioxidant and other properties that might support proper regulation of blood lipids.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family that has antioxidant and other properties that might support proper regulation of blood lipids. One double-blind trial in normal weight people with high blood triglycerides found astaxanthin, taken in amounts of either 12 mg or 18 mg per day, lowered blood triglycerides. However, in another double-blind trial in overweight people with normal triglycerides, 20 mg per day of astaxanthin had no significant effect on blood triglycerides.
2 Stars
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
4 to 12 mg per day
The carotenoid astaxanthin may inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori and reduce related gastric inflammation.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family that has an inhibitory effect on the growth of Helicobacter pylori, and reduces gastric inflammation related to this organism, according to animal studies. In a double-blind trial of people with functional dyspepsia, those who were infected with H. pylori had reduced symptoms of acid reflux when they took 40 mg per day of astaxanthin, but a lower amount of 16 mg per day was not helpful, and neither amount of astaxanthin improved other symptoms of dyspepsia. In subjects who were not infected with Helicobacter pylori, neither amount of astaxanthin was effective.
1 Star
Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Refer to label instructions
Some, though not all, research has found astaxanthin might protect the brain from age-related oxidative damage.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family with strong antioxidant properties that might protect the brain from age-related oxidative damage. In a preliminary study, 12 mg per day of astaxanthin given to people with complaints of age-related forgetfulness for twelve weeks improved some measures of brain function, but a double-blind trial using similar amounts found no significant effects of astaxanthin on cognitive impairment compared to a placebo.

How It Works

How to Use It

Most research has used 4 to 12 mg per day.

Where to Find It

Seafood such as crustaceans (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.) and fish possessing pink flesh (salmon, trout, etc.) are the most common sources of astaxanthin in the diet.5 , 6 Astaxanthin is also available as a supplement.

Possible Deficiencies

Astaxanthin is not an essential nutrient, so deficiency is not possible. However, people who avoid eating seafood will have below average intake of astaxanthin.

Interactions

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Side Effects

Astaxanthin is an approved pigment for use in feeding fish grown for human consumption,7 and animals given large amounts of astaxanthin have shown no sign of harm.8 , 9 Human clinical trials and a double-blind safety trial found no clinically important side effects in people taking supplements of astaxanthin.10 , 11 , 12

References

1. Higuera-Ciapara I, Félix-Valenzuela L, Goycoolea FM. Astaxanthin: a review of its chemistry and applications. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2006;46:185-96 [review].

2. Guerin M, Huntley ME, Olaizola M. Haematococcus astaxanthin: applications for human health and nutrition. Trends Biotechnol 2003;21:210-6 [review].

3. Higuera-Ciapara I, Félix-Valenzuela L, Goycoolea FM. Astaxanthin: a review of its chemistry and applications. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2006;46:185-96 [review].

4. Guerin M, Huntley ME, Olaizola M. Haematococcus astaxanthin: applications for human health and nutrition. Trends Biotechnol 2003;21:210-6 [review].

5. Higuera-Ciapara I, Félix-Valenzuela L, Goycoolea FM. Astaxanthin: a review of its chemistry and applications. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2006;46:185-96 [review].

6. Guerin M, Huntley ME, Olaizola M. Haematococcus astaxanthin: applications for human health and nutrition. Trends Biotechnol 2003;21:210-6 [review].

7. Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Subpart A, § 73.35. Astaxanthin[cited 2013 Aug 17]. Available from URL: www.ecfr.gov.

8. Reagan-Shaw S, Nihal M, Ahmad N. Dose translation from animal to human studies revisited. FASEB J 2008;22:659-61 [review].

9. Stewart JS, Lignell A, Pettersson A, et al. Safety assessment of astaxanthin-rich microalgae biomass: Acute and subchronic toxicity studies in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2008;46:3030-6.

10. Kidd P. Astaxanthin, cell membrane nutrient with diverse clinical benefits and anti-aging potential. Altern Med Rev 2011;16:355-64 [review].

11. Satoh A, Tsuji S, Okada Y, et al. Preliminary clinical evaluation of toxicity and efficacy of a new astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract. J Clin Biochem Nutr 2009;44:280-4.

12. Spiller GA, Dewell A. Safety of an astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis algal extract: a randomized clinical trial. J Med Food 2003;6:51-6.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Astaxanthin