This article shows how astaxanthin:
- Provides pain relief
- Helps fight fatigue
- Supports eye health
- Cleans up cells in our body
- Protects skin
- Provides Anti-Cancer properties
Astaxanthin (pronounced “asta-ZAN-thin”), which is cited with references throughout this article, you’ll discover the latest findings on its multi-functional ability to target risk factors for various degenerative diseases. You will also learn of the drug industry’s predictably corrupt efforts to develop patented synthetic forms of astaxanthin to treat heart disease—and reap windfall profits.
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in algae, shrimp, lobster, crab, and salmon. Beta carotene, for example, is orange. Astaxanthin is dubbed the “king of the carotenoids”, and is responsible for turning salmon, crab, lobster and shrimp flesh pink.
In the animal kingdom, astaxanthin is found in the highest concentration in the muscles of salmon. Scientists theorize astaxanthin helps provide the endurance these remarkable animals need to swim upstream.
For humans, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with wide-ranging health benefits, and unlike other antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, C, D and selenium, astaxanthin never becomes pro-oxidant in the body. [23, 24, 25, 26]
Astaxanthin has been discussed by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Joe Mercola and recommended by many health experts. Krill supplements contain trace amounts of astaxanthin, not nearly what you need to achieve the therapeutic benefits discussed today.
Astaxanthin helps to relieve pain and inflammation
Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, blocking different chemicals in your body that make you feel pain. More than that, astaxanthin reduces the inflammatory compounds that drive many chronic diseases.
Even though it’s 100 percent natural, astaxanthin works like some prescription pain medications, but without the risk of addiction, GI bleeds or heartburn.
More specifically, astaxanthin blocks COX 2 enzymes just like the prescription medication Celebrex, the blockbuster drug prescribed for osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, acute pain, and monthly painful menstruation. 
Natural astaxanthin not only affects the COX 2 pathway that blocks pain, it also suppresses serum levels of nitric oxide, interleukin 1B, prostaglandin E2, C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha), all signs of pain and inflammation. 
Natural astaxanthin was shown to reduce CRP by more than 20 percent in only eight weeks; there is not a prescription drug that does that.  Even the American Heart Association claims CRP is a key indicator of heart disease. 
Astaxanthin Helps Fight Fatigue
Astaxanthin provides excellent recovery from exercise.  Just like salmon making the heroic upstream swim, astaxanthin can help athletes do their best. Pure natural astaxanthin is indicated for recovery of muscles, better endurance, enhanced strength and improved energy levels. [18, 19, 20]
Astaxanthin Supports Eye Health
Loss of vision is a terrifying reality for millions of aging Americans. Three major age-associated causes of blindness are cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. All of these are associated with chronic oxidative damage, and most involve some degree of inflammation.  That makes powerful antioxidants such as astaxanthin of natural interest to prevention-oriented physicians. 
Well-designed clinical trials have shown that astaxanthin helps diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, eyestrain and fatigue and seeing in fine detail. There are also well-designed positive human clinical trials of astaxanthin supporting eye health. [4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]
Astaxanthin cleans up cells in our body
Astaxanthin unique molecular lipophilic and hydrophilic properties allow it to enter and span the entire cell, with one end of the astaxanthin molecule protecting the fat-soluble part of the cell and the other end protecting the water-soluble part of the cell.
Natural astaxanthin is exceptionally powerful in singlet-oxygen quenching, a technical term meaning in this case, that it is an active species (antioxidant) in photodynamic therapy (against free radical damage).
A 2007 study analyzed several popular antioxidants and their antioxidant power.  This study found astaxanthin was:
- 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C
- 800 times stronger than CoQ10
- 550 times stronger than green tea catechins
- 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid
Protects skin and provides sunscreen protection
Astaxanthin has been shown to protect the body’s largest organ — our skin. The studies are clear and consistent and show excellent results for helping with skin moisture levels, smoothness, elasticity, fine wrinkles, and spots or freckles. 
Astaxanthin reduces damage caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In fact, if you get a sunburn, which causes inflammation, astaxanthin penetrates the skin cells and reduces UVA damage. Think of it as an internal sunscreen.
Astaxanthin’s multiple mechanisms of action make it an ideal candidate for prevention and adjuvant treatment of many different kinds of cancer. By quenching free radical production in oxidatively stressed tissues, astaxanthin can prevent the DNA damage that is required to initiate many forms of cancer. By subduing inflammatory mediators such as COX-2 and NF-kB, astaxanthin may prevent cancer promotion, the step that allows potentially cancerous cells to blossom into full-blown tumors.
By supporting healthy intercellular communication, astaxanthin improves tissue resistance to cancers. And by impairing enzymes like matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) that cancer cells use to break down tissue barriers, astaxanthin can help prevent tumor invasion and metastatic spread.
Drug companies profiteering from Astaxanthin
The best known of these, Cardax, provides yet another example of the drug industry’s corrupt, cynical maneuvering to put profits over the public health. Cardax (disodium disuccinate astaxanthin) is simply a “pro-drug,” an inactive parent molecule that disintegrates into astaxanthin following ingestion.
In other words, drug makers hope to charge a premium for an inactive form of a natural, safe, low-cost nutrient, and then let patients’ bodies act on the drug to convert it back into that same nutrient.
Despite drug companies trying to cash in on a natural form of astaxanthin, you can easily find it online here at a very reasonable price, though finding a company that is transparent with the information about the purity of their product can be challenging.
Luckily, we searched through a myriad of products and found one that is not only tested for its safety and purity, but it has the right therapeutic dose required to be effective.
The importance of astaxanthin sources
Wild Pacific salmon, especially sockeye salmon, have one of the highest astaxanthin content. However, you’d have to eat about 6 ounces (165 grams) daily to get just 3.6 milligrams, which isn’t enough to get a therapeutic dose.
However, the chances of having traces of mercury in most store bought salmon that isn’t wild caught, you run the risk of unknowingly eating heavy metals, particularly mercury, with every bite. 
Since salmon can also be quite expensive, there is another form of astaxanthin that is a much better source — marine algae, which is a potent form of astaxanthin when exposed to light.
Astaxanthin should come from either an outside pristine source, or an indoor cultivator, and the company should provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for their product to ensure its purity.
We reached out to no less than six suppliers of astaxanthin, but only one responded to our request for a COA, and that was a company named ArticFarma, marketed under the Algalife brand.
It wasn’t easy getting a COA from this company when we requested it on their website on three different occasions, but after tracking down the CEO of the company, Andrew H.Jacobson, and sending a request to his company email, he was very gracious in providing a COA for us to display to our readers.
Below is the COA we requested for the astaxanthin that we’re recommending, not only because of the third party testing by an independent lab, which clearly states just how pure this product is, but for the transparency that this company showed by providing us a copy of the COA.
In a recent press release the company put out:
“Icelandic Astaxanthin is 100% pure and natural, cultivated directly from haematococcus pluvialis, the richest source of natural Astaxanthin. Developed in a state-of-the-art facility exclusively built for the research and development of micro-algae solutions to the world’s global nutrition needs, Icelandic Astaxanthin offers unparalleled purity.”
“After searching the globe, we chose Iceland to build our facility due to its pristine environmental conditions, free of the contaminants and pollutants commonly found in other areas deemed suitable for the cultivation of algae,” said Andrew Jacobson, CEO, ArcticFarma.
Getting the proper therapeutic dosage is key
Studies show that doses of 8-12 milligrams provide therapeutic benefits. Make sure that your particular brand has undertaken all the special precautions to harvest it properly, purify it, encapsulate it and protect its potency right up to the expiration date on the bottle.
By researching several products and the companies that sell it astaxanthin online, we found AlgaLife’s astaxanthin supplement to be something we’d recommend. Not only for the myriad of health benefits that’s been shown in study after study, but this company is one of the only one in half a dozen companies that sell this product, who is transparent and stands behind its product which, as you have seen by the COA, passes all safety protocols from a third party laboratory.
If you’d like to incorporate this powerhouse of an antioxidant into your supplement regimen, you can find it online at Amazon by clicking here.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends and family.
References (Click to open/close)
References (Click to open/close)
2. Kearney PM, Baigent C, Godwin J, Halls H, Emberson JR, Patrono C. Do selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 inhibitors and traditional non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increase the risk of atherothrombosis? Meta-analysis of randomised trials. BMJ. 2006 Jun 3;332(7553):1302-8. PubMed PMID: 16740558; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1473048.
3. Belknap SM. NSAIDs were associated with increased risk for mortality, regardless of time since first MI. Ann Intern Med. 2013 Jan 15;158(2):JC10. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-158-2-201301150-02010. PubMed PMID: 23318332.
4. Iwasaki Tsuneto, Tahara Akihiko. Effects of Astaxanthin on Eyestrain Induced by Accommodative Dysfunction. Journal of the Eye VOL.23;NO.6;829-834(2006).
5. Nagaki Y., Hayasaka S., Yamada T., Hayasaka Y., Sanada M., Uonomi T. Effects of Astaxanthin on accommodation, critical flicker fusion, and pattern visual evoked potential in visual display terminal workers. Journal of Traditional Medicines 2002: 19 (5), 170 – 173.
6. Nagaki Yasunori et al. The Effect of Astaxanthin on Retinal Capillary Blood Flow in Normal Volunteers. Journal of Clinical Therapeutics & Medicines Vol.21;No.5;537-542(2005).
7. Sun Z, Liu J, Zeng X, Huangfu J, Jiang Y, Wang M, Chen F. Protective actions of microalgae against endogenous and exogenous advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) in human retinal pigment epithelial cells. Food Funct. 2011 May;2(5):251-8. doi: 10.1039/c1fo10021a. Epub 2011 Apr 21. PubMed PMID: 21779563.
8. Ishida S. Lifestyle-related diseases and anti-aging ophthalmology: suppression of retinal and choroidal pathologies by inhibiting renin-angiotensin system and inflammation. Article in Japanese: Nihon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi. 2009 Mar;113(3):403-22; discussion 423. Review. Japanese. PubMed PMID: 19348185.
9. Liao JH, Chen CS, Maher TJ, Liu CY, Lin MH, Wu TH, Wu SH. Astaxanthin interacts with selenite and attenuates selenite-induced cataractogenesis. Chem Res Toxicol. 2009 Mar 16;22(3):518-25. doi: 10.1021/tx800378z. PubMed PMID: 19193053.
10. Nishida Y. et. al, Quenching Activities of Common Hydrophilic and Lipophilic Antioxidants against Singlet Oxygen Using Chemiluminescence Detection System. Carotenoid Science 11:16-20 (2007).
11. Iwamoto T, et al. Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin. J Atherosc Thromb 2000;7:216-22.
12. Camera E, Mastrofrancesco A, Fabbri C, Daubrawa F, Picardo M, Sies H, Stahl W. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and beta-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress- responsive enzymes. Exp Dermatol. 2009 Mar;18(3):222-31. Epub 2008 Sept.
13. Yamashita, E. Beauty From Within: A Synergistic Combination Of Astaxanthin And Tocotrienol For Beauty Supplements (2002) Cosmetic Benefit of Dietary Supplements Containing Astaxanthin and Tocotrienol on Human Skin. Food Style 21 6(6):112-17.
14. A novel micronutrient supplement in skin aging: a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology Volume 4 Page 277 – December 2005.
15. Suganuma K, Nakajima H, Ohtsuki M, Imokawa G. Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix- metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts. J Dermatol Sci. 2010 May;58(2):136-42. Epub 2010 Feb 18.
16. Arakane Kumi. Effect of Antioxidant to Inhibit UV-Induced Wrinkles. Journal of Japanese Cosmetic Science Society Vol. 27;No.4; 298-303(2003).
17. Aoi, et al, 2003. Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2003 Feb;5(1):139-44.
18. Curt L. Malmsten and Åke Lindell. Dietary Supplementation with Astaxanthin-Rich Algal Meal Improves Strength Endurance. A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study on Male Students. Carotenoid Science, Vol.13, 2008 ISSN 1880-5671.
19. Aoi W, Naito Y, Takanami Y, Ishii T, Kawai Y, Akagiri S, Kato Y, Osawa T, Yoshikawa T. Astaxanthin improves muscle lipid metabolism in exercise via inhibitory effect of oxidative CPT I modification. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Feb 22;366(4):892-7. Epub 2007 Dec 17.
20. Ikeuchi M, Koyama T, Takahashi J, Yazawa K. Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on exercise-induced fatigue in mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Oct;29(10):2106-10.
21. Gene A. Spiller, PhD, Antonella Dewell, MS, RD, Sally Chaves, RN, Zaga Rakidzich. Effect of daily use natural astaxanthin on C-reactive protein. Health Research & Studies Center, Los Altos, CA. Study Report, January, 2006.
22. Pearson, Thomas; Mensah, George, et al. Markers of inflammation and cardiovascular disease: application to clinical and public health practice: A statement for healthcare professionals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association.2003 Jan 28; 107(3) :499-511.
23. Beutner, S., Bloedorn, B., Frixel, S., Hernández Blanco, I., Hoffmann, T., Martin, H.-D., Mayer, B., Noack, P., Ruck, C., Schmidt, M., Schülke, I., Sell, S., Ernst, H., Haremza, S., Seybold, G., Sies, H., Stahl, W. and Walsh, R. (2001), Quantitative assessment of antioxidant properties of natural colorants and phytochemicals: carotenoids, flavonoids, phenols and indigoids. The role of β-carotene in antioxidant functions. J. Sci. Food Agric., 81: 559-568. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.849.
24. Spallholz JE. Free radical generation by selenium compounds and their prooxidant toxicity. Biomed Environ Sci. 1997 Sep;10(2-3):260-70. Review. PubMed PMID: 9315319.
25. Koren R, Hadari-Naor I, Zuck E, Rotem C, Liberman UA, Ravid A. Vitamin D is a prooxidant in breast cancer cells. Cancer Res. 2001 Feb 15;61(4):1439-44. PubMed PMID: 11245448.
26. Pearson P, Lewis SA, Britton J, Young IS, Fogarty A. The pro-oxidant activity of high-dose vitamin E supplements in vivo. BioDrugs. 2006;20(5):271-3. PubMed PMID: 17025373.
27. Ohia SE, Opere CA, Leday AM. Pharmacological consequences of oxidative stress in ocular tissues. Mutat Res. 2005 Nov 11;579(1-2):22-36.
28. Chitchumroonchokchai C, Bomser JA, Glamm JE, Failla ML. Xanthophylls and alpha-tocopherol decrease UVB-induced lipid peroxidation and stress signaling in human lens epithelial cells. J Nutr. 2004 Dec;134(12):3225-32.