Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, a natural pigment found in certain foods such as krill, algae, salmon, and lobster that gives them their red-orange color. Some companies make synthetic Astaxanthin, but all supplements that I’ve seen so far are using Astaxanthin derived from algae, called Haematococcus Pluvialis.
research is limited
Research is ongoing and somewhat limited. Many of the studies include small samples sizes or are animal studies. When buying supplements online, not everyone is aware of the amount of research that has been conducted. Research can take a very long time. But, many people choose to take a chance and try it out. It’s important to at least have research on its safety and toxicity levels, which this does (see below). So, please be aware that the studies I am mentioning are likely small.
RESEARCh on astaxanthin for health
In one 2016 animal study, Astaxanthin increased the formation of new brain cells and enhanced spatial memory in mice. It is believed to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which may explain its neuroprotective properties.
Numerous studies have shown its ability to lower inflammation and enhance immune function. Inflammation is a key driver and cause of accelerated aging. Lowering inflammation has numerous potential health benefits.
There are also a couple studies which relate to Astaxanthin showing it may support female hormone balance, including progesterone and estrogen levels. There was also a study where men were given Saw Palmetto and Astaxanthin and it was shown to help increase testosterone.
“AST (Astaxanthin) is a promising ophthalmic drug. Most ophthalmic diseases, such as dry eye syndrome, keratitis, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration, are associated with oxidative stress and inflammation that lead to the production of reactive intermediates and cell apoptosis.” Other important vision-related vitamins include: zinc, lutein, vitamin A and zeaxanthin.May 2022. Recent Advances and the Mechanism of Astaxanthin in OphthalmologicaL DISEASES (SOURCE)
research on astaxanthin for skin
A comprehensive review analyzed seven studies on Astaxanthin, as it relates to skin health. There are numerous studies on it for other potential health benefits. It has been shown to inhibit collagenases, which are enzymes that break down collagen, as well as MMP activity, which refers to the breakdown of proteins in the extracellular matrix. Additionally, it can help to reduce inflammation, reduce the production of reactive intermediates (oxidative damage), and protect against UV damage. According to research, it may also help to reduce wrinkles and improve overall skin tone and texture.
This isn’t the most cost-effective supplement and some companies are selling it at a very high price per gelcap. The cost varies, depending on the dosage, the amount you purchase and the company you purchase from.
I personally prefer BioAstin from Nutrex-Hawaii. I like that they specialize in this product and their main focus is on providing the best version of Astaxanthin possible. They do sell one other product, but the company’s strong focus on only a couple of products gives me more trust in what they are doing. This is a product that they manufacture from start to finish, growing the algae in Hawaii, rather than buying it from a manufacturer overseas somewhere. The other two brands that I mention in this post are other brands that I trust overall and have purchased numerous supplements from in the past. But I have been unable to locate the source of origin for Nutricost’s product. It’s normal for companies to not provide this type of information on most of their supplements. But, I noticed that this particular ingredient may not be the easiest to source and because Nutrex-Hawaii was so transparent with their product, I was hoping to have the same experience with the other brands.
source of materials
I’ve discovered the source or manufacturer of the Astaxanthin being used by two of the brands I am recommending here. BioAstin has their own huge 96-acre farm in Kona, Hawaii. You can learn more about it here. Now brand’s product is using Astaxanthin owned by Valensa International. Their microalgae are produced by their sister company, Alimtec S.A., located in Chile. You can learn more about their farm here. I am currently unable to locate the origin our manufacturer of the Nutricost Astaxanthin. I will contact the company and if I hear back, I will update this post with details. I wanted to include it as it’s one of the top seller’s on Amazon and some people may want that option as it has the best price per gelcap.
I know reviews are hard to trust online, but I did want to share a handful of repeated comments I’ve seen. Please take them with a grain of salt and do your own research as well. Numerous reviews have mentioned skin improvements: sun spots lightening, not getting sunburned as they used to, glowing skin and nail improvements. Though not skin related, I repeatedly saw comments about improvements in energy, workout recovery and eyesight improvements.
As a result of most companies only selling Astaxanthin from Algae, it is vegan.
Antioxidants have shown a positive correlation with fertility, but as with most supplements this is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding due to lack of safety studies in these areas.
An upper toxicity limit is not known. Dose amounts up to 50mg have been tolerated without a problem. According to drugs.com, “not all astaxanthin is biosynthesized by living microalgae. Synthetic astaxanthin made in laboratories from petrochemicals has not been approved for human consumption.”
No well-documented interactions have been identified apart from a potential to interact with hormone altering drugs such as a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor.
Recommended dosages range from 4mg-12mg a day. 4mg daily has been shown to have positive effects reducing inflammation. Some people choose to take higher amounts to improve antioxidant levels.
how to take it
Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid that should be with a meal containing fat for optimal absorption. These products here are my personal favorites. Please note that these are affiliate links and I receive a small commission if you purchase through them.
4 mg 120 gelcaps $25 ($0.21 cents/cap)
10 mg 60 gelcaps $20 ($0.33 cents/cap)
12 mg 120 gelcaps $27 ($0.22 cents/cap)
My Experiences with Astaxanthin
energy & skin health
I have personally noticed a bit of an improvement in the appearance of my skin which correlates with when I’ve consistently taken this supplement. I feel like my skin is a bit more plump and hydrated. I usually take 4 mg per day, though I have heard people mention that when they raise the dose, they notice more benefits for their skin or health. In addition, I’ve noticed an improvement in my energy levels when taking it. It is very hard to describe but I’ve noticed just an overall improvement in my well-being and how I feel daily, when I take it.