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.

Astaxanthin is taken by mouth for treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, high cholesterol, liver diseases, age-related macular degeneration (age-related vision loss), and preventing cancer. It is also used for metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is also used for improving exercise performance, decreasing muscle damage after exercise, and decreasing muscle soreness after exercise. Also, astaxanthin is taken by mouth to prevent sunburn, to improve sleep, and for carpal tunnel syndrome, dyspepsia, male infertility, symptoms of menopause, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Astaxanthin is applied directly to the skin to protect against sunburn, to reduce wrinkles, and for other cosmetic benefits.

In food, it is used as a coloring for salmon, crabs, shrimp, chicken, and egg production.

In agriculture, astaxanthin is used as a food supplement for egg-producing chickens.


Is a Form of:

Pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids

Primary Functions:

Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, stroke, high cholesterol

Also Known As:

Astaxanthine, Astaxantina, Dihydroxy-3,3’ dioxo-4,4’ bêta-carotène, Microalgae

How Does It Work?

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant. This effect might protect cells from damage. Astaxanthin might also improve the way the immune system functions.


  • Age-related vision loss (age-related macular degeneration; AMD). AMD occurs when a portion of retina becomes damaged. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and copper by mouth improves damage in the center of the retina in people with AMD. It does not improve damage in the outer areas of the retina.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. Early research shows that taking a combination product containing astaxanthin, lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E by mouth does not reduce pain in people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia). Early research shows that taking 40 mg of astaxanthin daily reduces reflux symptoms in people with indigestion. It seems to work best in people with indigestion due to H. pylori infection. A lower dose of 16 mg daily does not improve reflux symptoms. Neither dose reduces stomach pain, indigestion, or the amount of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach of people with indigestion.
  • Muscle damage caused by exercise. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin for 90 days does not reduce muscle damage caused by exercise in male soccer players.
  • Muscle soreness caused by exercise. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, lutein, and safflower oil by mouth does not reduce muscle soreness or improve muscle performance 4 days after exercise compared to taking only safflower oil.
  • Exercise performance. Research regarding the effects of astaxanthin on exercise performance is conflicting. Some early research shows that taking astaxanthin decreases the time needed to complete a cycling exercise in trained male athletes. But other research shows that using astaxanthin does not improve the time needed to complete a timed exercise.
  • Fatigue. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin and sesamin does not seem to improve overall fatigue in healthy adults.
  • High cholesterol. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin by mouth reduces blood fats called triglycerides and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. Other early research shows that taking a combination of astaxanthin, berberine, policosanol, red yeast rice, coenzyoeme Q10, and folic acid increases HDL cholesterol levels and lowers total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with abnormal cholesterol levels.
  • Male infertility. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin increases the pregnancy rates of partners of men considered to be infertile.
  • Menopausal symptoms. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, vitamin D3, lycopene, and citrus bioflavonoids daily reduces menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, joint pain, moodiness, and bladder problems.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, lutein, vitamin A, vitamin E, and safflower oil reduces pain and improves feelings of satisfaction in people with RA.
  • Sunburn. Astaxanthin might reduce skin damage caused by the sun. Taking astaxanthin by mouth for 9 weeks appears to reduce redness and loss of skin moisture caused by rays of the sun called "UV" rays.
  • Wrinkled skin. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin by mouth improves how quickly skin bounces back (elasticity) and reduces fine lines and wrinkles in middle-aged women and men. It also seems to improve the moisture content in the skin. Other research shows that taking astaxanthin by mouth, along with applying astaxanthin cream to the face twice daily, improves the appearance of skin wrinkles.

Recommended Dosing

The appropriate dose of astaxanthin depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for astaxanthin. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Astaxanthin Supplements Frequently Asked Questions

What is astaxanthin supplement good for?

Astaxanthin is taken by mouth for treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, high cholesterol, liver diseases, age-related macular degeneration (age-related vision loss), and preventing cancer. In agriculture, astaxanthin is used as a food supplement for egg-producing chickens.

When should I take astaxanthin?

Pharmacokinetic research has been conducted using 40 mg[3] or 100 mg of asta per day[4]. They specify that the best absorption of astaxanthin is in the presence of lipids. It is therefore recommended to consume it during or just after a meal[5].

What is the best source of astaxanthin?

Most of those natural sources of astaxanthin can be found at your local grocery store, including sockeye salmon, red trout, lobster, shrimp, crawfish, crab, salmon roe, and red sea bream.

Does astaxanthin make you gain weight?

Natural astaxanthin has been shown to inhibit weight-gain and other markers linked with a high fat diet. However, a program that combines sensible food intake levels, exercise routine with natural astaxanthin makes such goal a realistic one.

Can you take astaxanthin everyday?

Astaxanthin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a supplement. Astaxanthin has been used safely by itself in doses of 4 to 40 mg daily for up to 12 weeks, or 12 mg daily for 6 months. It has been used safely in combination with other carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals at 4 mg daily for up to 12 months.

How long does it take to see results from astaxanthin?

As with any supplement, the degree to which you'd notice an effect really depends on the nutrient status of the individual at the time. However, research on astaxanthin suggests that positive effects are seen and felt within about four weeks.

Should I take astaxanthin in the morning or at night?

Reminder: it is recommended to take chlorella in the morning on an empty stomach, spirulina in the evening before the meal. Astaxanthin is best taken during or after a meal because it is best assimilated in the presence of lipids.

Is astaxanthin safe for kidneys?

One of the most common complications associated with DM is nephropathy or kidney damage. Even though the previous studies demonstrated that astaxanthin could suppress ROS and reduce nephropathy, the mechanism remained unclear to how astaxanthin could reduce renal damage until now.

Does astaxanthin help hair growth?

Astaxanthin reduces inflammation on the scalp

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant and red carotenoid pigment found in algae, salmon, lobster and shrimp, giving them their pink hue. Astaxanthin's anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation chemicals on the scalp which may be inhibiting hair growth.

Is astaxanthin good for your liver?

In a 2016 study, Jui-Tung Chen and his team at the Jichi Medical University in Japan found that astaxanthin use can help protect the liver function and prevent fatty liver disease, cancerous disease, and cardiovascular disease.

Is astaxanthin safe to take?

Astaxanthin is LIKELY SAFE when it is consumed in amounts found in food. Astaxanthin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a supplement. Astaxanthin has been used safely by itself in doses of 4 to 40 mg daily for up to 12 weeks, or 12 mg daily for 6 months. High doses of astaxanthin may cause stomach pain.

Where can I get astaxanthin naturally?

The natural sources of astaxanthin are algae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp and crayfish.  The commercial astaxanthin is mainly from Phaffia yeast, Haematococcus and through chemical synthesis.

What are the side effects of taking astaxanthin?

Side effects of astaxanthin may include increased bowel movements and red stool color. High doses of astaxanthin may cause stomach pain.

Does astaxanthin darken skin?

Astaxanthin protects the skin against oxidation, not only preventing the aging process, but also potentially reversing external signs of aging. Astaxanthin also helps lighten dark spots. It is a potent protection against ultraviolet radiation, assisting the skin in protecting itself against damage by the sun.

Does astaxanthin give you a tan?

Turns out, it can have the same effect on your body. Fournier says, As studies suggest, it has been my experience that astaxanthin acts as a natural internal sunscreen protecting you from further UV damage and helping to diminish skin pigmentation.

Does astaxanthin really work?

The anti-inflammatory properties of astaxanthin are owed to is antioxidant tendencies. In a study published in the Journal of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, researchers found that astaxanthin is effective against oxidative stress caused by nitric oxide.

Will astaxanthin turn you pink?

When you consume astaxanthin, you become more resistant to turning pink – from the sun. It's like an inside-out sunscreen, especially if you're prone to sunburns. Astaxanthin accumulates in every layer of the skin to protect your skin from burns and sun damage.

How much astaxanthin should I take a day?

Astaxanthin Dosage

For that reason, there is currently no set recommended daily intake for astaxanthin. Clinical trials so far have used astaxanthin doses ranging from 1 mg per day to 40 mg per day. But the majority of trials have used a dose of astaxanthin between 6 mg per day and 12 mg per day.

Does astaxanthin boost immune system?

Natural astaxanthin seems to improve the immune response by increasing the number of antibody producing cells. Natural astaxanthin enhances antibody production, and may also protect immune cells against oxidative stress and membrane damage.

Is astaxanthin better than CoQ10?

Astaxanthin outperforms CoQ10 800 times over in fighting free radicals. In the realm of cognitive function, astaxanthin can provide powerful benefits due to its effectiveness in reducing oxidative stress.

Does astaxanthin increase testosterone?

One small study showed astaxanthin combined with saw palmetto actually increased testosterone, which could help libido. More research is needed to better understand astaxanthin's effects on hormones. Astaxanthin may also lower blood pressure and calcium levels.

Does astaxanthin give you energy?

And astaxanthin is an antioxidant powerhouse, delivering benefits across the entire human body, including your skin, cardiovascular system and brain, while also providing much needed energy support. Much of its strength derives from the fact that its ability to fight free radicals is 6,000-times higher than vitamin C.

Clinical Studies