Astaxanthin is a reddish carotenoid pigment found in salmon, shrimp, and lobster. Astaxanthin is often produced commercially from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest source of astaxanthin.

Major Health Benefits

Astaxanthin is a carotenoids (structurally similar to beta-carotene) and has antioxidant activity like other carotenoids, such as alpha carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene. Astaxanthin has been found to protect the skin from UV damage and protect the liver by lowering levels of blood lipid, inflammatory substances (e.g., IL-6), and enzymes (e.g., ALT, AST) that indicate liver damage.1,2 It has been suggested in a clinical study that Astaxanthin may play a role in contributing to normal fertility.3 Adequate consumption of Astaxanthin may improve eye health and visual acuity by increasing blood flow in the eye while preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD).4-6


  1. Hama S, Takahashi K, Inai Y, Shiota K, et al. Protective effects of topical application of a poorly soluble antioxidant astaxanthin liposomal formulation on ultraviolet-induced skin damage. J Pharm Sci. 2012 Aug;101(8):2909-16.PMID: 22628205.
  2. Yang Y, Pham TX, Wegner CJ, Kim B, Ku CS, Park YK, Lee JY. Astaxanthin lowers plasma TAG concentrations and increases hepatic antioxidant gene expression in diet-induced obesity mice. Br J Nutr. 2014 Dec 14;112(11):1797-804. doi: 10.1017/S0007114514002554. Epub 2014 Oct 20. PubMed PMID: 25328157.
  3. Comhaire FH, El Garem Y, Mahmoud A, Eertmans F, Schoonjans F. Combined conventional/antioxidant “Astaxanthin” treatment for male infertility: a double blind, randomized trial. Asian J Androl. 2005 Sep;7(3):257-62.PMID: 16110353.
  4. Saito M, Yoshida K, Saito W, et al. Astaxanthin increases choroidal blood flow velocity. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2012 Feb;250(2):239-45.PMID: 22072378.
  5. Piermarocchi S, Saviano S, Parisi V, et al. Carotenoids in Age-related Maculopathy Italian Study (CARMIS): two-year results of a randomized study. Eur J Ophthalmol. 2012 Mar-Apr;22(2):216-25.PMID: 22009916.
  6. Parisi V, Tedeschi M, Gallinaro G, Varano M, Saviano S, Piermarocchi S; CARMIS Study Group. Carotenoids and antioxidants in age-related maculopathy italian study: multifocal electroretinogram modifications after 1 year. Ophthalmology. 2008 Feb;115(2):324-333.e2. Epub 2007 Aug 22.PMID: 17716735.