Astaxanthin supplement health benefit and side effects, 2 mg per pill, there is no need to take higher amounts such as 5 or 10 mg, review
February 1 2017 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid made by plants and algae, and found in marine seafood such as salmon. This carotenoid is also available as a food supplement either by itself or combined with other carotenoids. Krill oil has a high amount of astaxanthin. There are hundreds or thousands of beneficial carotenoids in the diet, and astaxanthin is only one of many that are healthy to consume. Long term research with daily supplementation is currently not available. Therefore, those who claim that people should be supplementing with this product in high doses daily for years and decades are not basing their recommendation on sound science and do not understand the complexity of the human body. The long term risks and danger of daily supplemental use are currently not known.

Benefits and research studies
Astaxanthin is likely to be beneficial in conditions where antioxidants and other carotenoids are helpful.

Astaxanthin vision and eyesight
I realize some websites are promoting astaxanthin as a vision enhancer, but as of 2016 I am not aware of any human studies that taking it provides long term visual clarity support or improvement. I am still evaluating its role in eyesight and vision enhancement but I think there is a potential for it to be beneficial for the purposes of enhanced visual acuity. In the meantime, Eyesight Rx is a formula that I have developed that improves vision rather quickly.

Eyesight Rx for Better Vision within a few hours or days
Unlike some vision products that provide nutrients and herbs for long term healthy eyesight support, and prevention of visual impairment, but don't seem to have much of an effect on visual acuity, Eyesight Rx provides a noticeable improvement within a short period of time.

You could by Astaxanthin supplement pills or a top quality
Krill Oil supplement which contains astaxanthin along with important omega 3 fatty acids WPA and DHA.

Another option is Eyesight Rx for better vision which contains astaxanthin, or Mind Power Rx brain booster.

Reports from users indicate enhanced clarity of vision, colors being brighter, better focus, and overall improvement in close and distance vision. Reading becomes easier and street signs can be viewed better.

Some of the Ingredients in this eye formula:
Vitamin C
(Ascorbic acid)
Carnosine antioxidant
Citrus bioflavonoids (hesperidin, flavonols, flavones, naringenin, flavonoids, and quercetin)
Mixed carotenoids (astaxanthin,
Lutein, carotene, cryptoxanthin, Lycopene, and Zeaxanthin)
Bilberry extract
Jujube extract
Ginkgo biloba extract
Mucuna pruriens
Wolfberry extract

Astaxanthin side effects, risk, adverse reactions, how safe is it?
Astaxanthin supplements have not been used by humans long enough to know the full benefits and side effects. As such, I suggest not taking these pills more than two or three times a week.

J Med Food. 2003. Safety of an astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis algal extract: a randomized clinical trial. Thirty-five healthy adults took three gelcaps per day, one at each meal. Nineteen participants received gelcaps with an algal extract in safflower oil, containing 2 mg of astaxanthin each (treatment); 16 participants received gelcaps containing safflower oil only (placebo). Blood pressure and blood chemistry tests, including a comprehensive metabolic panel and cell blood count, were conducted. No significant differences were detected between the treatment and the placebo groups after 8 weeks of supplementation.

Regarding the warning on long term use- what danger is there in taking astaxanthin in such a way? I'm really excited about this supplement but I don't want to overdose or hurt myself with it.
   Since there have not been long term studies with astaxanthin supplement use in humans, I don't know if there are risks to its use. I am very cautious and conservative in my approach, and I prefer to err on the side of safety and prevention. It is a good idea to take occasional breaks from use,

I bought an astaxanthin product a few weeks ago. What is the time period I can safely use?
   Each person is different in their need, so it is impossible to say how long to take it but a good option if your doctor approves is to take it every other day and take one full week off each month. This is a general guideline.

The astaxanthin most likely being referred to above as "not intended for long term use" is derived from Pfaffia rhodozyma extract, not Haematococcus pluvialis (algae) which is the source of AstaREAL astaxanthin. AstaREA astaxanthin has been evaluated in multiple studies to determine its potential for adverse effects and genotoxicity. The lack of any adverse toxicological findings from any study on astaxanthin derived from Haematococcus pluvialis is supportive of a reasonable expectation of safety from its recommended use. In addition to 2% AstaREAL Astaxanthin powder and 10% oil, Fuji Health Science offers finished non-porcine (bovine) softgels in 2mg, 4mg and 6mg types. Fuji Health Science also offers a 4mg finished vegetarian capsule (V-Cap).
   Over decades of reviewing medical studies and research papers I have learned that results in lab studies or animals are not necessarily indicative of what happens when a human being takes the herbal extract or nutrient for prolonged periods. I do not recommend the non-stop daily use of any astaxanthin product until long term human studies are published.

Antioxidant protects fatty acids from oxidation
Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on lipid peroxidation.
Int J Vitamin Nutr Res. 2007.
An investigation was done on the effect of three-month astaxanthin (Astaxin) supplementation on lipid peroxidation in healthy non-smoking Finnish men, aged 19-33 years. The intervention group received two 4-mg capsules daily. Supplementation decreased in vivo oxidation of fatty acids in healthy men.

Q. I read on a website - "BioAstin Natural Astaxanthin is nature's strongest antioxidant. The antioxidant activity in this all-natural product is 550 times stronger than Vitamin E and 800 times stronger than CoQ10." One might infer that taking BioAstin would obviate the need for further Vitamin E and CoQ10 supplements, but it's a ridiculous way of saying so. Is astaxanthin the magic bullet they appear to be claiming it to be? I've posed questions to Nutrex and have yet to get a single response from them.
   A. There are thousands of plant and nutrient substances that have antioxidant potential and I prefer getting small amounts of a wide variety rather than a high amount of just one or a few. I do not find it helpful to make the types of comparisons that you mention. Each nutrient has its own benefits.

Blood pressure, hypertension
Biol Pharm Bull. 2005. Antihypertensive and neuroprotective effects of astaxanthin in experimental animals. It can exert beneficial effects in protection against hypertension and stroke and in improving memory in vascular dementia.

Brain health, mental effects, cognition
Nutrients. 2014. Neuroprotective properties of the marine carotenoid astaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids, and perspectives for the natural combination of both in krill oil. The consumption of marine fishes and general seafood has long been recommended by several medical authorities as a long-term nutritional intervention to preserve mental health, hinder neurodegenerative processes, and sustain cognitive capacities in humans. Most of the neurological benefits provided by frequent seafood consumption comes from adequate uptake of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, n-3/n-6 PUFAs, and antioxidants. Optimal n-3/n-6 PUFAs ratios allow efficient inflammatory responses that prevent the initiation and progression of many neurological disorders. Moreover, interesting in vivo and clinical studies with the marine antioxidant carotenoid astaxanthin (present in salmon, shrimp, and lobster) have shown promising results against free radical-promoted neurodegenerative processes and cognition loss.

Q. Is safe for a person with Parkinson's taking (Sinemet) to take 5 mg. of Astaxanthin? I read on a website that it is used in aiding for Parkinson's and Alzheimers patients.
   A. I am not aware of any human studies with this combination but I suspect astaxanthin is safe, but I can't be 100 percent sure. I am unaware of studies in humans that this nutrient is helpful in these conditions.

Cancer prevention
Mar Drugs. 2015. Multiple Mechanisms of Anti-Cancer Effects Exerted by Astaxanthin. Astaxanthin (ATX) is a xanthophyll carotenoid which has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) as food colorant in animal and fish feed. It is widely found in algae and aquatic animals and has powerful anti-oxidative activity. Previous studies have revealed that ATX, with its anti-oxidative property, is beneficial as a therapeutic agent for various diseases without any side effects or toxicity. In addition, ATX also shows preclinical anti-tumor efficacy both in vivo and in vitro in various cancer models. Several researches have deciphered that ATX exerts its anti-proliferative, anti-apoptosis and anti-invasion influence via different molecules and pathways including signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ).

Diabetic nephropathy
Prevention of diabetic nephropathy by treatment with astaxanthin in diabetic db/db mice.
Biofactors. 2004.
Chronic administration reduced the oxidative stress on the kidneys and prevented renal cell damage.

Dyspepsia, indigestion, gastritis
Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without Helicobacter pylori infection: A prospective, randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled study.
Phytomedicine. 2008.
Patients with functional dyspepsia were divided into three groups with 44 individuals in each group (placebo, 16mg, or 40mg astaxanthin, respectively). No curative effect was found in functional dyspepsia patients. Significantly greater reduction of reflux symptoms were detected in patients treated with the highest dose. The response was more pronounced in H. pylori-infected patients.

Exercise, physical exertion
Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice.
Antioxid Redox Signal. 2003.

Combined conventional / antioxidant "Astaxanthin" treatment for male infertility: a double blind, randomized trial.
Asian J Androl. 2005.
30 men with infertility and female partners with no demonstrable cause of infertility received conventional treatment according to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), and either a strong antioxidant astaxanthin 16 mg/day (AstaCarox, AstaReal AB, Gustavsberg, Sweden) or placebo for 3 months. The effects of treatment on semen parameters, reactive oxygen species, serum hormones including testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Inhibin B, and spontaneous or intrauterine insemination induced pregnancies were evaluated. The results tended to improve in the astaxanthin group in contrast with the placebo group, though not reaching statistical significance.

Hardening of the arteries, atherosclerosis
Alpha-tocopherol and astaxanthin decrease macrophage infiltration, apoptosis and vulnerability in atheroma of hyperlipidaemic rabbits.
J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2004.

ORAC value, Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity score
I did a Medline search for the term " astaxanthin ORAC value " in 2016 and did not find an answer.

What do you think about this statement I read on a website: BioAstin Natural Astaxanthin is nature's strongest antioxidant. The antioxidant activity in this all-natural product is 550 times stronger than Vitamin E and 800 times stronger than CoQ10. The benefits of Astaxanthin include joint health, eye health, healthy immune system and increased energy levels? I take it and I will continue it. I donít have a heart issue so Iím going to stop taking CoQ10. I am much more into holistic health.
   As of 2011 there's little human research to determine the long term health benefits of taking astaxanthin pills. The potency of its antioxidant status that you mention appears to be quite exaggerated. Although this product may be helpful for joint health, eye health, immune system and energy, long term studies are not available to know whether the benefits are real, and whether adverse effects may occur.

Regarding a question posed on about astaxanthin and ORAC value. ORAC is a measurement of "water soluble" antioxidant potential. The carotenoid in question is an oil soluble compound. Furthermore, ORAC does not measure for "singlet oxygen" quenching, the type of active oxygen species that astaxanthin is so prolific at scavenging in the body.
   Thanks for this information. If there are other chemists who have studied this topic in detail I would appreciate your input.

Prostate cancer
A preliminary investigation of the enzymatic inhibition of 5alpha-reduction and growth of prostatic carcinoma cell line LNCap-FGC by natural astaxanthin and Saw Palmetto lipid extract in vitro.
J Herb Pharmacother. 2005. Research and Development, Triarco Industries, Wayne, NJ.
In this investigation the effect of the carotenoid astaxanthin was examined on 5alpha-reductase inhibition as well as the growth of prostatic carcinoma cells in vitro. The results show carotenoid astaxanthin inhibits 5alpha-reductase and decrease the growth of human prostatic cancer cells in vitro.

Skin health
Exp Dermatol. 2014. Astaxanthin, a xanthophyll carotenoid, inhibits ultraviolet-induced apoptosis in keratinocytes. Intra-cellular reactive nitrogen/oxygen species and apoptosis play important roles in ultraviolet (UV)-induced inflammatory responses in the skin. Astaxanthin, a xanthophyll carotenoid, exhibits diverse clinical benefits.

J Med Food. 2014. Supplementating with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression. We investigated the effects of using a combination of dietary astaxanthin and collagen hydrolysate supplementation on moderately photoaged skin in humans. A total of 44 healthy subjects were recruited and treated with astaxanthin (2 mg/day) combined with collagen hydrolysate (3 g/day) or placebos, for 12 weeks. Dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate can improve elasticity and barrier integrity in photoaged human facial skin, and such treatment is well tolerated.

Sperm health
Mar Drugs. 2015. Astaxanthin Improves Human Sperm Capacitation by Inducing Lyn Displacement and Activation.

Summary and review
There's little human research available regarding the exact health benefits of astaxanthin supplements. The ideal dosage of astaxanthin supplements for long term use is not known, nor do we know the long term risks. It does have many promising benefits that future research will clarify.

Astaxanthin Testimonials and claims
There have been various astaxanthin testimonials regarding its benefits that I have read online and been told by users:

Anti aging
Blood sugar reduction, improvement in diabetes
Cancer fighter
Carpal tunnel syndrome pain eased
Dizziness improved
Energy and endurance increase, good for athletic performance, less achiness after workouts or running, improved recovery after exercise, prevents muscle fatigue, increase in stamina, recovery and intensity in aerobic and strength training.
Hair thicker
Immune system improvement, fewer colds or flu, immunity support
Inflammation reduction, many claim it is a potent anti-inflammatory
Joint pain relief, treatment for arthritis, improvement in joint aches in shoulders, hips, knees, relief of tendonitis, improvement in neck pain, less low back pain, relief from knee joint pain, joints in fingers are less stiff
Mental clarity and sharpness, better memory, better concentration, better mood
Neuropathy cured
Pain reduction in muscle, joints, tennis elbow pain reduced, shoulder pain gone
Penile erection improvement, increased libido
Sunburn protection, preventing sun damage to skin, able to stay in sun longer
Skin health improvement and looking younger, reducing age spots, fewer wrinkles, help with rosacea, improvement in seborrheic dermatitis, skin is softer and smoother
Vision improvement or enhancement, good for diabetic retinopathy and eye health, preventing cataracts, protecting the eyes from UV radiation, good for dry eyes, easier to look at computer screen, eyes less tired, eyesight sharper and clearer and eyes do not fatigue easily, easier to be in sunlight without eye strain, eyes less sensitive to sunlight, less need for sunglasses, preventing eye strain and fatigue, improved night vision, helpful for macular degeneration, colors are brighter and contrast is sharper
Wellbeing, feeling good, feeling great

But thus far these are just individual anecdotes reported and their validity remains to be proven. Some of these reports could just be placebo effects.

Side effects mentioned have been skin rash.

Haematococcus pluvialis is the richest source of natural astaxanthin and is now cultivated at industrial scale. Astaxanthin produced by Haematococcus is a product that has become a commercial reality through novel and advanced technology. Cultivation methods have been developed to produce Haematococcus containing 1.5 to 4% astaxanthin by dry weight, with potential applications as a pigment source in aquaculture, poultry feeds and in the worldwide nutraceutical market.

Astaxanthin (3,3'-dihydroxy-β, β'-carotene-4,4'-dione) is a xanthophyll carotenoid, contained in Haematococcus pluvialis, Chlorella zofingiensis, Chlorococcum, and Phaffia rhodozyma. It accumulates up to 3.8% on the dry weight basis in H. pluvialis.

Algatechnologies has AstaPure line of astaxanthin. The company's newest product is a form of vegetarian AstaPure beadlets. This gelatin-free astaxanthin solution, which eliminates any concern regarding the use of beef derivatives, can be used in tablets or hard shell capsules. Algatechnologies' AstaPure line also includes 10% astaxanthin oleoresin extracted by supercritical CO2 extraction, gelatin and cold water dispersible beadlets, which can be used in dietary supplements, in functional foods and in cosmetics. The largest producer of natural astaxanthin for human consumption, Algatechnologies is located in Israel's Arava desert, an optimal location for algae cultivation due to the high light intensity in the area all year round.

Fuji Health Science. AstaREAL astaxanthin is extracted from haematococcus pluvialis by a solvent free supercritical CO2 extraction process. It contains esterified astaxanthin complex including other carotenoids: Lutein, canthaxanthin and -carotene. We'd like to make Dr Sahelian aware that Fuji has just published our 9th clinical study related to astaxanthin and cardiovascular benefit. In this study, 12 mg of AstaREAL was shown to increase HDL, lower blood serum triglycerides and elevate blood adiponectin levels. Joe Kuncewitch National Sales Manager Fuji Health Science, Inc., Burlington, NJ USA.

Other products sold online
Healthy Origins, Triple Strength Astaxanthin, 12 mg, 150 Softgels
Nutrex Hawaii, BioAstin, Hawaiian Astaxanthin, 12 mg, 50 Gel caps

Now Foods, Astaxanthin, 4 mg, 60 Veggie Softgels

Buy Astaxanthin supplement or Eyesight Rx
Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Softgel
  Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Zanthin Natural Astaxanthin (Haematococcus pluvialis Extract) 4 mg *
* Daily Value not established.

Suggested Use, dosage: 1 softgel a few times a week with meals since it is better absorbed when fat is present.

Buy Astaxanthin supplement antioxidant carotenoid, Source Naturals, 2 mg, 60 Softgels
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid that is closely related to beta-carotene and Lutein. Because of its unique structure, it provides a wide range of antioxidant benefits. It may play a role in the protection of cell membranes against free radical attack. It is a natural concentrate of marine algae Haematococcus pulvialis, which is cultivated in the warm waters of Hawaii. Recent studies have indicated that astaxanthin is more powerful than its carotenoid cousin, beta-carotene, at trapping singlet oxygen free radicals.
Supplement Facts:
Haematococcus pluvialis Algae Extract AstaREAL 20 mg
Yielding: Astaxanthin 2 mg