Astaxanthin

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Astaxanthin is an aquatic carotenoid like fucoxanthin, but is the red pigment in salmon and krill; the most stable of all carotenoids and touted to aid in eye health. Limited human evidence suggests that it has some positive effects on oxidative stress, but it's unclear if it's particularly effective for any health outcomes.

Astaxanthin is most often used for

What is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a red-pink pigment found in various seafoods, and also in the feathers of flamingos and quails. It is structurally similar to beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) but has some chemical differences which may make it safer.

What are Astaxanthin's benefits?

It seems to reduce markers of oxidative stress, though it's unclear how potent it is and to what extent this translates to health benefits. It could possibly reduce oxidation of LDL and DNA damage, making it potentially good for cardiovascular health and anti-aging, though much more research is needed. It also may improve photoprotection and overall skin health, but again, much more research is needed.

What are Astaxanthin's side effects and drawbacks?

It's currently unknown if it has notable side effects, though large doses of antioxidants have been known to impair some of the adaptations to exercise such as mitochondrial biogenesis. Being a potent antioxidant, it's possible that even the small doses of astaxanthin commonly taken could have this effect, but we won't know until research properly tests it.

What else is Astaxanthin known as?
Note that Astaxanthin is also known as:
  • Cardax (Disodium Disuccinate Astaxanthin)
  • 3
  • 3′-dihydroxy-b
  • b-carotene-4
  • 4′-dione
Astaxanthin should not be confused with:
  • Ashwaghanda
  • Astralagus
Dosage information

Astaxanthin appears to be recommended in the dosage range of 6-8mg daily, which is low enough that an enriched salmon oil or krill oil supplement may contain adequate levels. Doses of up to 20-50mg astaxanthin have been tolerated, although the exact toxicity and upper limit is not known.

Despite the above recommendations, the ideal dose of astaxanthin is currently not known.

Due to being a carotenoid, and related to the metabolism of Vitamin A (a fat soluble vitamin) it would be prudent to take astaxanthin alongside a meal.

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