Astaxanthin is a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids. It occurs naturally in certain algae and causes the pink or red color in salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp, and other seafood.

– It’s a potent UVB absorber and reduces DNA damage

– Soluble in lipids, so it incorporates into cell membranes

– It’s a powerful natural anti-inflammatory

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant, something that slows or eliminates the process of oxidation in the human body.

Astaxanthin is far more effective than other carotenoids at “singlet oxygen quenching,” which is a particular type of oxidation. The damaging effects of sunlight and various organic materials are caused by this less-stable form of oxygen. Astaxanthin is 550 times more powerful than vitamin E and 11 times more powerful than beta-carotene at neutralizing singlet oxygen.

Astaxanthin is by far the most powerful carotenoid antioxidant when it comes to free radical scavenging: astaxanthin is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E.

Astaxanthin is a natural occurring antioxidant that is found in krill oil.

Oxidation is what causes metal to rust and fruits to turn brown. Oxidation is a natural process within living systems. We need if for existence. The problem occurs when oxidation and free-radical damage run unchecked. This is one of the key reasons we need antioxidants from our food (along with antioxidant enzymes that are produced within cells naturally). Left unchecked, the process of free-radical oxidation does damage to molecules such as our DNA, causing problems such as age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Oxidation is also one process behind aging and carcinogenesis (the process by which normal cells are converted to cancer cells).

Antioxidants such as astaxanthin have the potential to neutralize DNA-damaging free radicals. These are formed when a molecule in your cells loses an electron. This can be triggered by the presence of environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, herbicides, or smoking. Free-radical activity can even be triggered by consumption of excessive calories, such as those found in simple sugars. Free radicals are unstable and try to steal their needed electron from another compound – a method used to gain stability. The compound from which the electron is stolen becomes another free radical, which can begin a chain reaction, eventually resulting in the disruption of a living cell. Importantly, free-radical damage accumulates with age.

There have been at least eight human clinical studies on astaxanthin to assess its safety and bioavailability, as well as its effect on oxidative stress, inflammation, and the cardiovascular system. A search of the National Library of Medicine yields 139 studies under the rubric “astaxanthin and humans.”

Although lutein and zeaxanthin are promoted more frequently as eye-health ingredients, an increasing number of studies indicate that astaxanthin is more effective than other antioxidants in its class (carotenoids), such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, in protecting the eye from UV light-induced damage. It scavenges the free radicals associated with age-related macular degeneration, crossing the blood-brain barrier and concentrating in the central cones of the retinal macula.

Scientists are also speculating that there may be a synergistic relationship between the antioxidant in krill oil (astaxanthin) and the phospholipids, which may work differently and more effectively in the body than astaxanthin alone to regulate levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood, important for cardiovascular health.*


* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Mentioning of any ingredients or products is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information provided on this website should not in any way substitute for the advice of a healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute personal medical advice. Some content and information used for this article were referenced from and National Library of Medicine (

* These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Mentioning of any ingredients or products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.