Astaxanthin Snapshot Monograph


Nutrient name: Astaxanthin

Most Frequent Reported Uses: - Antioxidant/ Antiinflamamtory - Hyperlipidemia - Cardiovascular disease prevention - Immune health - Male reproductive system, including prostate health; male fertility - Neuroprotection; improved cognitive function - Ocular health - Athletic performance

Introduction: Astaxanthin, or 3-3’-dihydroxy-4,4’-diketo-beta- carotene, is a xanthophyll carotenoid. Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans, and the feathers of some birds. Wild fishes obtain this pink color from astaxanthin in krill and other crustaceans on which they feed. Farm-raised salmon and rainbow trout obtain most of it from the algae Haemococcus pluvialis , which is by far the richest source of astaxanthin and is specifically used as a commercial feed additive to provide color to the flesh of these fish.

Laboratory and limited human evidence suggests that astaxanthin is most commonly used as an antioxidant and may be beneficial in decreasing the risks of certain chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Functions/Clinical Efficacy: Antioxidant/anti-inflammatory :  Acts as a free radical scavenger and protects the body against oxidative damage (Yuan et al, 2011).  Antioxidant activity helps astaxanthin protect against retinal cell damage Nakajima et al, 2008).  Astaxanthin has been reported to have a neuroprotective effect that is dependent upon its antioxidant potential and mitochondria protection (Liu et al, 2009).  Astaxanthin may protect against diabetic neuropathy mainly due thorough ROS scavenging effect in mitochondria of mesangial cells (Manabe et al, 2008).  Astaxanthin is reported in laboratory to reduce the upregualtion of pro- inflammatory cytokines secretion, including IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α (Spreranza et al, 2012).

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