You may not know the antioxidant astaxanthin, but you are probably more than familiar with some of its natural sources. Astaxanthin is the dark red organic pigment found in algae and is responsible for the natural red color aquatic animals (and great astaxanthin food sources) such as salmon, shellfish, rainbow trout, and some birds, with wild salmon producing the highest concentration. Most astaxanthin supplements, however, are derived from the freshwater green microalgal strain Haematococcus pluvialis, as it is the richest source for the production of astaxanthin.
A British organic chemist and professor, Basil Charles Weedon, discovered astaxanthin in 1970 when he used magnetic resonance spectroscopy to map structures of the lipid soluble pigments.
Is astaxanthin safe? While astaxanthin is considered a strong coloring agent, it also has considerable health benefits as well. Research has shown that, due to astaxanthin's potent antioxidant activity, it may be beneficial in cardiovascular, immune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, most similar to beta-carotene, however all evidence indicates that it is a far more powerful biological antioxidant. Astaxanthin exhibits strong free radical scavenging activity and protects against lipid peroxidation and oxidative damage of LDL-cholesterol, cell membranes, and body tissues.
Astaxanthin has been the focus of a large and growing number of peer-reviewed scientific publications. Astaxanthin study findings include:
In addition, according to a study published in Science Links Japan, regular consumption of astaxanthin may even help athletes recover more quickly from workouts and competitions.
It is extremely powerful at even very low levels. In fact, a normal supplemental dose is just 4 mg a day. It can be found in tablet, capsule, or liquid form.