image001 Astaxanthin is a carotenoid from the terpenes class of phytochemicals which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Astaxanthin is naturally occurring in a variety of marine life and is generally considered to be a more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E. This is often considered ideal because this product can be synthesized while also occurring in a number of foods for easy absorption.

Sources of Astaxanthin

Foods sources of Astaxanthin include fish, shellfish, fruits and vegetables that are in red color. There are also supplements of astaxanthin on the market extracted from algae or microalgae.





Fish that contain astaxanthin often contain a red pigmentation and consume great deals of micro-algae that produces this carotenoid. Sockeye salmon, rainbow trout or red bream are examples of fish high in astaxanthin.



Crawfish, crabs, lobster or shrimp gain their red coloring from consuming micro-algae that produce astaxanthin. Wild caught shellfish tends to be higher in this antioxidant than farmed varieties.

Krill feed on the micro algae that produces astaxanthin. Kill is often processed into an oil that can be added to nutritional supplements.

Fruits and Vegetables


Carrots, red peppers, radishes and other vegetables or fruit that is distinctly red in color can contain smaller doses of astaxanthin.



Phaffia rhodozyma is an algae that is often used to create red phaffia yeast or red food colorings. You can also find this algae in supplements. Red phaffia yeast can contain as much as 5000mg of astaxanthin for every kilogram.



The microalgae scientifically called Haematococcus pluvialis is considered to have the highest natural concentration of astaxanthin. This algae is found in freshwater and accumulates astaxanthin if the water source has strong light and high salinity but doesn’t have adequate nutrients, as a means of protecting the cells from UV rays. Haematococcus pluvialis is harvested to obtain this astaxanthin content and is often sold commercially.

Uses and Dosage of Astaxanthin

The use of astaxanthin products has not been tested on animals or humans; therefore the safety or effectiveness of these remedies has not been proven. Some conditions listed can be serious and should be evaluated by your doctor rather than relying solely on home treatment.


Used For




4-8mg by mouth 2-3 times daily. Take with meals.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome




40mg by mouth daily, divided into four weeks of doses.


Exercise Capacity

8mg before and after physical activity or 4mg each morning with food.


High cholesterol

6, 12 or 18mg per day for 12 weeks.


Macular Degeneration



Male Infertility

16mg orally for three months


Menopausal Symptoms



Muscle Soreness



Rheumatoid Arthritis



Skin Conditions

2mg by mouth twice a day for six weeks. Consume with breakfast and dinner. Alternatively, 4mg each day for two weeks to prevent sunburn.



12mg, divided into 4mg doses taken three times a day.

Note: Doses listed are based on scientific publications, research, expert opinion or traditional use. Many supplements and herbs sold on the market for use in alternative medicine have not been tested for effectiveness or safety. Brands may produce these products differently, with lines even within the same brand using alternate ingredients. Doses listed may not apply to all products equally, so read the dosing information on the labels of each product and discuss the use of astaxanthin with a medical professional before beginning such therapy.

All doses are intended for adults over 18 years of age. There are no effective or safe proven doses for astaxanthin in children.

Safety Concerns of Astaxanthin

Although consuming astaxanthin is very beneficial to your overall health, there are also some safety concerns you need to pay attention to.

1. Side Effects

Taking astaxanthin may hinder 5-alpha-reductase enzyme production that can prevent testosterone from converting to DHT. The inhibition of this process can lead to erectile dysfunction, lower libido and male breast growth. In some cases astaxanthin has also been known to lower calcium levels and blood pressure.

2. Risks

Those that are sensitive to or allergic to astaxanthin should not continue with this therapy. Those that are allergic to sources of astaxanthin such as the algae that produces the astaxanthin, similar carotenoids including canthaxanthin, drugs that prevent 5-alpha-reductase such as dustasteride or finasteride should also avoid using astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin can increase immune function so it should not be taken by those that have autoimmune problems or are using medications to suppress the immune system.

This product is not recommended for those who are pregnant. Those that have hormone problems, osteoporosis, low blood pressure, low calcium or trouble with their parathyroid glands should take caution when using astaxanthin.

3. Interactions

Those that are using products that can affect their hormones or medications for high blood pressure may find that astaxanthin negatively interacts with these products. Tell your doctor about your astaxanthin use before you are issued any new medications to ensure that these combinations will not cause any negative interactions or side effects.