June 28, 2024

Astaxanthin Antioxidant And The Power of Red

Written by our expert


Avanthika Nityanand

M.Sc Human Genetics, B.Sc Plant Biology & Plant Biotechnology

Astaxanthin Antioxidant And The Power of Red
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Disclaimer: Livest Health is not associated with any of the brands mentioned in this article. The information provided in Livest articles is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or medical advice.

Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid pigment known for its potent antioxidant properties. It is found in various marine organisms, including microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, and crayfish. This vibrant red pigment not only contributes to the striking colors of these organisms but also offers a range of health benefits when consumed as a dietary supplement.

In this analysis, we will explore the importance of astaxanthin supplements for the body, discuss what consumers should know before purchasing these supplements, and provide a brief overview of the top five astaxanthin supplements available in the USA.

The Importance of Astaxanthin for Your Body

Antioxidant Powerhouse

Astaxanthin is renowned for its exceptional antioxidant capacity. It is often referred to as the "king of carotenoids" due to its ability to neutralize free radicals effectively. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress, leading to cell damage, inflammation, and various chronic diseases.

It has the highest oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), 100-500 times higher than vitamin E (⍺-tocopherol). It demonstrates ten times higher free radical inhibitory activity compared to similar antioxidants like ⍺-tocopherol, ⍺-carotene, β-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. [ref]

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Chronic inflammation is a key factor in the development of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, and neurodegenerative disorders. Astaxanthin has gained interest as a multi-target pharmacological agent due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and immune-modulating effects. This can help reduce the risk of chronic inflammatory conditions and improve overall health. It targets inflammatory biomarkers and multiple signaling pathways, including PI3K/AKT, Nrf2, NF-κB, ERK1/2, JNK, p38 MAPK, and JAK-2/STAT-3. [ref]

Skin Health

Astaxanthin has gained popularity in the skincare industry for its potential to enhance skin health. Its antioxidant properties protect the skin from UV-induced damage, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, and promote a healthy complexion. Additionally, astaxanthin can help mitigate the effects of photoaging, making it a valuable ingredient in anti-aging skincare products.

A comprehensive 2018 review observed that astaxanthin inhibits collagenases, matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) activity, inflammatory mediators, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) induction. That's a fancy way of saying that astaxanthin leads to potent antiwrinkle and antioxidant effects! [ref]

Eye Health

The eyes are particularly susceptible to oxidative stress due to their high metabolic activity and exposure to light. Astaxanthin's antioxidant properties help protect the eyes from oxidative damage and support eye health. Studies have shown that astaxanthin can improve visual acuity, reduce eye fatigue, and protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye conditions.

Cardiovascular Health

Astaxanthin's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects also contribute to cardiovascular health. It helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in blood vessels, improving endothelial function and reducing the risk of atherosclerosis. Additionally, astaxanthin has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve lipid profiles, and enhance overall cardiovascular function.

According to a 2023 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, astaxanthin supplementation led to a significant reduction in total cholesterol compared to the placebo group. [ref] More studies are needed to establish this link effectively.

Exercise Performance and Recovery

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts can benefit from astaxanthin supplementation due to its potential to enhance exercise performance and recovery. Astaxanthin's antioxidant properties help reduce muscle damage and inflammation caused by intense physical activity, leading to improved endurance, reduced muscle soreness, and faster recovery times.

What Consumers Should Know Before Buying Astaxanthin Supplements

Source and Purity

When purchasing astaxanthin supplements, it is crucial to consider the source and purity of the product. Astaxanthin can be derived from natural sources, such as microalgae (Haematococcus pluvialis), or produced synthetically. Natural astaxanthin is generally preferred due to its superior bioavailability and potency. Consumers should look for supplements that clearly indicate the source of astaxanthin and ensure that the product is free from contaminants and impurities. [ref]

Dosage and Concentration

The dosage and concentration of astaxanthin in supplements can vary widely. It is essential to choose a product that provides an effective dose based on scientific research. Most studies suggest a daily dosage of 4 to 12 mg of astaxanthin for optimal health benefits. Consumers should check the label to ensure they are getting an appropriate amount of astaxanthin per serving. [ref]


Bioavailability refers to the extent and rate at which a substance is absorbed and utilized by the body. Astaxanthin's bioavailability can be influenced by factors such as formulation and delivery method. Some supplements use advanced technologies, such as lipid-based delivery systems, to enhance the bioavailability of astaxanthin. Consumers should look for products that are formulated to maximize absorption and effectiveness. [ref]

Certification and Quality Assurance

To ensure the safety and efficacy of astaxanthin supplements, consumers should choose products that have been tested and certified by reputable third-party organizations. Certifications such as NSF International, USP (United States Pharmacopeia), and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) indicate that the product has undergone rigorous quality control and meets high standards of purity and potency.

Potential Interactions and Side Effects

While astaxanthin is generally considered safe for most people, it is important to be aware of potential interactions and side effects. Astaxanthin may interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and immunosuppressants. Additionally, high doses of astaxanthin can cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach cramps and diarrhea. Consumers with underlying health conditions or those taking medications should consult a healthcare professional before starting astaxanthin supplementation.

Top 5 Astaxanthin Supplements

1. BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin [Livest Recommends]

BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin is one of the most popular and trusted astaxanthin supplements on the market. Sourced from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, this product is known for its high potency and purity. Each softgel provides 12 mg of natural astaxanthin, and the product is free from gluten, soy, lactose, and artificial additives. BioAstin is also a Non-GMO Project Verified and certified by NSF International.

BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin

Healthy Hey Astaxanthin [for our readers from India]

The astaxanthin supplement contains a 4mg dose derived from algae, ensuring it is completely natural. It is free from artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colorings, making it a pure supplement suitable for various dietary needs, including those avoiding sugar, starch, milk, lactose, gluten, wheat, yeast, fish, and sodium. Manufactured in India, all Amazing Formulas products adhere to Good Manufacturing Practices, ensuring the highest standards of purity and potency, and are third-party tested for quality assurance.

Healthy Hey Astaxanthin

2. Nutrex Hawaii

Nutrex Hawaii Astaxanthin is another top-rated supplement sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae. Each softgel contains 12 mg of natural astaxanthin, providing a potent dose to support overall health. The product is free from gluten, soy, and lactose, and it is certified non-GMO. Nutrex Hawaii is known for its commitment to quality and sustainability, using environmentally friendly practices in its production process.

3. NOW Foods

NOW Foods Astaxanthin is a well-regarded supplement that offers a lower dosage option of 4 mg per softgel, making it suitable for those new to astaxanthin supplementation. Sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis, this product is free from GMOs, gluten, soy, and dairy. NOW Foods is a reputable brand known for its high-quality standards and third-party testing to ensure purity and potency.

NOW Foods Astaxanthin

4. Jarrow Formulas

Jarrow Formulas Astaxanthin provides 12 mg of natural astaxanthin per softgel, sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae. This product is free from gluten, soy, and dairy, making it a good choice for individuals with dietary restrictions. Jarrow Formulas is committed to producing high-quality supplements backed by scientific research and rigorous quality control.

Jarrow Formulas Astaxanthin

5. Sports Research

Sports Research Astaxanthin is a popular choice among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Each softgel contains 12 mg of natural astaxanthin sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis. The product is non-GMO, gluten-free, and free from artificial additives. Sports Research is known for its high-quality supplements and commitment to transparency, with third-party testing to ensure the purity and potency of its products.


Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with a wide range of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects, skin protection, eye health support, cardiovascular health, and improved exercise performance and recovery.

When choosing astaxanthin supplements, consumers should consider factors such as source and purity, dosage and concentration, bioavailability, certification and quality assurance, and potential interactions and side effects.

The top five astaxanthin supplements in the USA—BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin, Nutrex Hawaii Astaxanthin, NOW Foods Astaxanthin, Jarrow Formulas Astaxanthin, and Sports Research Astaxanthin—offer high-quality options for those looking to incorporate this potent antioxidant into their daily regimen.

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