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Astaxanthin Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, Dosage, and Warning

Astaxanthin is a pinkish-red carotenoid pigment found in microalgae, yeast, shrimp, trout and other sea animals. The salmon and the flamingo both get their color from this pigment as they eat foods high in this carotenoid.

These animals don’t turn brilliant pink on their own. They eat shrimp and blue-green algae that gives them their pink color.

Humans also transform carotenoids, like beta-carotene, into vitamin A, which is why every nutrition unit stresses that we should eat “a rainbow of foods,” from orange carrots and sweet potatoes to red peppers and green broccoli. We need them to stay alive. (20)

Healthcare professionals and fitness enthusiasts are using it as a dietary supplement, and it has been dubbed the ‘King of Carotenoids’. But what exactly is astaxanthin, and more importantly, should you be consuming it?

What is astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is what is known as a carotenoid. Carotenoids are pigments that are found naturally in various organisms.  It occurs naturally in organisms like salmon, crabs, shrimp, chicken, and egg, as well as trout, yeast, and microalgae, to name a few. It occurs naturally in certain algae as well.

So, the pinkish-red tinge of colour that these organisms possess, comes from the presence of this carotenoid [1].

The muscle of salmon happens to have the highest concentration of astaxanthin in the animal kingdom. It is an antioxidant as well. But that’s not all, a recent study showed that it has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties too [2].

Astaxanthin is obtained from which source

Astaxanthin is produced from H. pluvialis is a main source for human consumption. (6)

Haematococcus pluvialis (Chlorophyta) is a freshwater, unicellular algae with a rather complex life cycle. Its ovoid vegetative cells are motile by way of two flagella and during growth, nonmotile cells (cysts) also occur. (7)

For dietary supplement in humans and animals, astaxanthin is obtained from seafood or extracted from H. pluvialis.

Astaxanthin Uses and benefits

So we now know that astaxanthin is a carotenoid, but what exactly are its uses and benefits? Read on

1. Works as a great antioxidant

organic astaxanthin antioxidant benefits
organic astaxanthin antioxidant benefits

An antioxidant can protect your body from the negative effects of free radicals, which are harmful to you. Antioxidants can accept or donate electrons, without getting destroyed, thereby balancing the effects of the free radicals.

Additionally, antioxidants also protect the body from cell damage. It works as a great antioxidant. In fact, among all the carotenoids, astaxanthin happens to have the highest antioxidant properties.

As an antioxidant, it helps lower oxidative stress that is caused due to being overweight and smoking of tobacco as well [3].

Oxidative stress takes place when there is an imbalance between the free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which will increase the risk of free radicals. When there is an increase in free radicals, you are bound to experience inflammation.

A good intake of antioxidants like astaxanthin can help reverse this issue by neutralizing the effect of free radicals. [4]

2. Helps in reducing pain and inflammation

hawaiian astaxanthin benefits for pain reduction
Helps in reducing pain and inflammation

It can help relieve pain, especially pain and inflammation related to arthritis. It also helps with joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Both rheumatoid arthritis as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, are the leading causal factors of joint pain.

However, there is insufficient evidence to back the effects of astaxanthin on carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, it has shown positive results in preventing inflammation caused by the H. pylori bacteria as well. [5]

3. Treatment of cancer

Antioxidants can play a significant role in the treatment of cancer, as it helps protect damaged cells. The high antioxidant properties of astaxanthin are beneficial for the protection from cancer-causing cells.

One study concluded that it has both long term and short term benefits in the treatment of breast cancer, where it leads to the death of breast cancer cells. [6]

4. Great for your eyes

astaxanthin dosage for eyes
Great for your eyes

Antioxidants can help protect the retina of the eye from oxidative damage. It has superior antioxidant activity, that is great for your retina, as well as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and eye strain and fatigue.

Since it is found mainly in fish, the consumption of it includes omega-3 fatty acids, which again, is great for your eyes. [7]

5. Works wonders for your skin

astaxanthin skin whitening Works wonders for your skin
Works wonders for your skin

It has several cosmetic benefits as well. It can help delay ageing, remove dark spots, reduce wrinkles and provide several other cosmetic benefits.

Both the tropical and oral consumption of astaxanthin has shown to be beneficial for your skin. It also helps maintain the level of moisture in your skin.

It does not really have SPF, but still, it has great UV-blocking properties as well, which protects your skin from damage related to sun exposure. [8]

6. Increases male fertility

Infertility can be frustrating. While there are several causal factors of infertility like obesity, hormonal issues, testicular trauma, and genetic issues, there is another cause as well – oxidative stress.

Sperm oxidative stress and infertility can be strongly linked. Astaxanthin’s antioxidant properties can help deal with this. A study in 2005 says that It can help with male fertility as well [9]. According to the study, the research that was conducted on a group of men, saw positive results, which included better quality of sperm like motility and count, and overall improvement of fertility.

Yet another study claimed that It can help with sperm capacitation as well [10]

However, since this particular research was conducted on a small group of people, it is insufficient evidence. More research will be necessary to support this claim.

7. Great for your heart

It is believed that it can help lower cholesterol and prevent heart diseases. In a recent study, research was conducted on rats, and the results were promising. Astaxanthin showed to have a positive impact on hypertension, as well as an improvement on the thickness of the arterial wall and elastin levels [11). So that makes astaxanthin a potential anti-hypertention drug as well!

An imbalance between peroxynitrite and nitric oxide is one of the leading causes of problems in the blood vessels, the lining of the arteries, and the endothelium. It has shown to restore any impalace between peroxynitrite and nitric oxide, which is beneficial for the heart. [12]

8. Relieves symptoms of menopause

Menopause is the natural decline of the menstrual cycle in a woman. This period can be particularly stressful for most women. Women who are menopausal, will experience various symptoms like anxiety, hot flushes, stress, and sometimes even depression. [13]

Stress hormones like cortisol and oxidative stress trigger hot flushes. As mentioned above, It can help reverse the effects of oxidative stress. The intake of astaxanthin has shown signs of reduction of menopausal symptoms as well. [14]

9. Regulation of cholesterol

Most people have a misconception that cholesterol is bad. However, the fact is that the liver naturally produces cholesterol. This, in turn, is sent out to the blood, and then used for the cell and for making hormones.

But, the problems start when there is an abnormal increase in the cholesterol levels, which settles along the blood vessels, causing a blockage. This is the perfect recipe for heart attacks and other heart-related ailments, as well as strokes.[15]

Now, here is where It comes into the picture. A regular intake of 6 to 18 mg, for around 84 days, has shown to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood. [16]

10. Can help manage diabetes

There has been a steady rise in the number of people suffering from diabetes, thanks to the choice of lifestyle we have been living. In case you didn’t know, malfunction of the pancreas and the irregular production of insulin causes diabetes. And this, in turn stems down to damage of the beta cells in the pancreas. This takes place due to inflammation or oxidative stress. [17]

It can help with oxidative stress, thanks to its antioxidant properties. It can also help with sugar toxicity in the blood. Astaxanthin has shown the ability to manage diabetes as it can help with the improvement of metabolism of sugar and lower high blood pressure as well. [18]

11. Great for your immune system

The immune system is your body’s defence force. When the immune system is weak, so are you. A good immune system protects the body from invaders like germs, bacteria, virus, and disease. However, prolonged inflammation and oxidative stress can negatively impact the immune system. [12]

It has shown to reduce inflammation and, of course, oxidative stress in the body, thereby helping you keep your immune system at optimal health. [12]

12. Astaxanthin benefits for weight loss

A study conducted on animals revealed that astaxanthin could have a positive effect on weight loss as well. It helped lower the levels of cholesterol, plasma triacylglycerol, and liver weight. (19)

13. Astaxanthin uses in female fertility

Researchers conducted a study on a group of women with endometriosis. Endometriosis is a condition that is linked to female fertility. Both endometriosis and infertility are linked to low levels of antioxidants and an increase in oxidative stress and free radicals in the body. It has superior antioxidant qualities, which can help reverse this and aid with female fertility.

Best time of day to take Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is fat-soluble and best taken along with a fatty meal. It can be taken once a day with a fatty meal to increase its absorption.

If you’re an athlete, or work out regularly, please be aware that several studies have shown that taking antioxidant supplements  before exercise may lead to decreasing insulin sensitivity. It also hampers your body’s ability to defend itself against oxidative damage. (8)

Astaxanthin Side effects and safety

We’ve discussed the benefits of astaxanthin, but are there any side effects? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers It as a safe substance.

However, too much of anything is bad, so make sure you do not over indulge in it.

Astaxanthin side effects on the gastrointestinal system

side effects on the gastrointestinal system
side effects on the gastrointestinal system

A few possible side effects include a sudden increase in bowel movements as well as discolouration of stool, as astaxanthin turns the stool into a reddish color. High doses of astaxanthin can cause sudden stomach pain as well.

Astaxanthin side effects on hormones

In some cases, astaxanthin dosage lead to hormonal imbalance is observed. It can very rarely cause additional hair growth, a rise in the levels of testosterone, and even decreased libido.

Astaxanthin side effects on pregnancy

As far as consumption during pregnancy is concerned, there is not enough knowledge. It is best to steer clear of any complications during this crucial period, so avoid the use of astaxanthin during this time. The same can be said about mothers who are breastfeeding as well. [15]

Astaxanthin Dosage

Various factors like your age and state of health come into consideration while determining astaxanthin recommended dosage. Till date, doctors agree that a dose of 4 to 40 mg on a daily basis for 12 weeks or around 12 mg on a daily basis for 6 months, has been considered safe, with no side effects.

It has also been used along with other vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids on a daily basis at 4 mg for a year as well, without any side effects per se.

Whether you are consuming natural astaxanthin or astaxanthin supplements, make sure you consult your local physician, pharmacist, or a healthcare professional, to be on the safer side. Also, follow the product label instructions and directions of consumption, if any. [16]

The dosage for skin, eyes, and for protection from the sun is slightly different. More on this below.

Astaxanthin dosage for skin

Scientists conducted a 16-week study on 65 female candidates. They gave each of them 6 mg or 12 mg of astaxanthin, to observe the effect it has on skin. The study concluded that the long-term consumption of astaxanthin supplements for skin, could help delay aging. (17)

Astaxanthin dosage for eyes

Many scientists have conducted studies to back the positive effects of astaxanthin for eyes. They concluded that it is effective in protecting the retina from ischemic damage. However, it is best to consult your doctor before the consumption of this supplement.

Astaxanthin dosage for sun protection

dosage for sun protection
dosage for sun protection

In a study, scientists gave 23 women  a dosage of 4mg  daily, to determine the effect of astaxanthin for UV rays-induced skin deterioration. The scientists concluded that astaxanthin does indeed improve the condition of the skin. For the dosage you should consume, consult your doctor, as several factors like health and medical history comes into play. (18)

Where to buy Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin might be available in select medical stores in India. It is used in food coloring. Thanks to modern-day technology, you will easily buy astaxanthin powder online from various e-commerce vendors like Amazon, Flipkart, HealthKart, and IndiaMart as well.

You will find a range of astaxanthin products like capsules, powder, and tablets.

Astaxanthin buy online

Essentially, there are three types of astaxanthin supplements that are available. They include –

  • Tablets – Astaxanthin is available in the form of tablets both online as well as at local medical stores. One example of astaxanthin tablets is Source Natural Astaxanthin Tablets. It is available on Amazon.
  • Capsules – Astaxanthin capsules are easily available online as well as at medical stores. A few good ones are Healthy Hey and Nature’s Velvet. Both are available on Amazon.
  • Powder – Though rarely used, astaxanthin powder is available as well. Akshar Chem is one such product that is available on Amazon.

In conclusion

Now we know that it is great for your body. However, the human body does not naturally produce this carotenoid. Due to this, it is imperative that we consume foods that have natural astaxanthin. In case this is not possible, the other alternative is to take dietary supplements of astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin in Hindi

तो अब हम जानते हैं कि एस्टैक्सैटिन एक कैरोटीनॉयड है, लेकिन वास्तव में इसके उपयोग और लाभ क्या हैं? पढ़ते रहिये-

  1. एक बेहतरीन एंटीऑक्सीडेंट के रूप में काम करता है
  2. दर्द और सूजन को कम करने में मदद करता है
  3. कैंसर का इलाज
  4. आपकी आँखों के लिए बहुत अच्छा है
  5. आपकी त्वचा के लिए अद्भुत काम करता है
  6. पुरुष प्रजनन क्षमता को बढ़ाता है
  7. आपके दिल के लिए बहुत अच्छा
  8. रजोनिवृत्ति के लक्षणों से राहत देता है
  9. कोलेस्ट्रॉल का नियमन
  10. मधुमेह का प्रबंधन करने में मदद कर सकता है
  11. आपकी प्रतिरक्षा प्रणाली के लिए अच्छा है
  12. Astaxanthin वजन घटाने के लिए लाभ
  13. Astaxanthin महिला प्रजनन क्षमता में उपयोग करता है

Astaxanthin meaning in Hindi

यह एक कैरोटीनॉयड है। कैरोटीनॉयड्स वर्णक हैं जो विभिन्न जीवों में स्वाभाविक रूप से पाए जाते हैं। Astaxanthin सामन, केकड़ों, झींगा, चिकन, और अंडे जैसे जीवों में पाया जाता है, साथ ही ट्राउट, खमीर, और माइक्रोएल्गे। इन जीवों के रंग का गुलाबी-लाल रंग इस कैरोटीनॉयड की उपस्थिति से आता है


  1. Astaxanthin: 19 Known Medical Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & Conditions
  5. v
  6. Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and Its Commercial Applications—A Review 6
  7. Haematococcus pluvialis (7)
  8. Friendly User’s Guide For The Timing Of Nutritional Supplements (8)
  9. How food can change the color of birds, fish, and even humans
AUTHOR Anupama Singh

I am the founder of Vitsupp and have a bachelors in engineering. My family suffers from every lifestyle disease you can think of. Heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypothyroidism . . you name it and some one in my family has it. Trying to save myself and my family from our genetic disposition, I learnt much about nutrition, exercise and lifestyle diseases. Certificate in "Diabetes – The Essential Facts" by University of Copenhagen

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