Astaxanthin is a carotenoid which belongs to a larger class of phytochemicals known as terpenes. It is classified as a xanthophyll, which means “yellow leaves”. Like many carotenoids, it is a colorful, fat/oil-soluble pigment.

Astaxanthin, unlike some carotenoids, does not convert to Vitamin A (retinol) in the human body. Too much Vitamin A is toxic for a human, but astaxanthin is not. However, it is a powerful antioxidant 10 times more potent than other carotenoids and between 80 and 550 times more potent than vitamin E.

What it does

  1. Anti-oxidant & free radical scavenger: Protects cell membranes against free radical damage and may help prevent diseases of the nervous system due to its ability to enter the central nervous system where there is greater potential for free radical damage.
  2. Cardiovascular health: May help to maintain a healthy ratio of HDL and LDL cholesterol. Helps prevent the oxidisation of LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
  3. Prostate health: Astaxanthin can inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase, which is responsible for the formation of dihydrotestosterone and subsequent prostate enlargement.
  4. Male infertility: Free radical activity is a major factor in male infertility, affecting both sperm count and motility. Astaxanthin may improve sperm motility and improve conception rates among infertile men.
  5. Eye Health: Carotenoids appear to offer protection to the retina and macula by absorbing light energy and quenching free radicals.

Potential Uses

Age related macular degeneration Cardiovascular health Cholesterol
Male infertility Nervous system protection

Food sources of Astaxanthin: microalgae (blue green algae, spirulana, chlorella, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish.


Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using astaxanthin.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with astaxanthin.

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