Astaxanthin is one of nature’s most potent antioxidants. It occurs naturally in some animals, plants, and seafood. It’s most prominently found in certain algae, the flesh of salmon, and shells of other marine life.
The leading cultivator of astaxanthin for use in supplements is AstaReal®, who pioneered the category, and makes AstaReal® Astaxanthin, one of the safest and most-researched astaxanthin ingredients. Here’s what you need to know about AstaReal® Astaxanthin.
It’s a natural compound that belongs to a larger class of antioxidant-like compounds known as carotenoids. Carotenoids are fat-soluble pigments that you can find in many colorful plants.
Besides astaxanthin, other carotenoids commonly found in our diets include beta carotene (vitamin A), lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, and many others.
Astaxanthin is a red pigment you’ll find in high concentrations in algae known as Haematococcus pluvialis (H. pluvialis).
Marine animals who feed on the algae (or feed on animals eating the algae) include salmon, lobster, and shrimp. Astaxanthin is responsible for the red-orange color of the shells and flesh in these marine animals, as well as American flamingos.
Astaxanthin has powerful antioxidant properties. It can play a vital role in protecting against oxidative stress, which is linked to many health concerns associated with aging.
While some level of free radical activity is normal and necessary for human health, when the amount of free radicals is too high and outstrips your antioxidant defense system, it can cause damage to many parts of cells and break down their molecular structure.
AstaReal® Astaxanthin preferentially deposits in cell membranes that make up the powerhouses of the cell, the mitochondria. This means that natural astaxanthin is strategically poised in prime cellular real estate, where it is able to quench free radical byproducts made by mitochondria.
As an indicator of astaxanthin’s potential antioxidant and free radical scavenging potency, in lab testing astaxanthin was shown to have 6000x the singlet oxygen free radical quenching capacity of vitamin C.
AstaReal® Astaxanthin is the most studied brand of natural astaxanthin from algae, and is backed by 70 published human studies demonstrating free radical neutralizing activity, benefits for immune function, combating mental and physical fatigue, promoting eye health, beauty from within, cardiovascular health and cognitive function.
You can eat foods that contain astaxanthin, like salmon, shrimp, crab, or trout.
However, to get doses of astaxanthin found to be efficacious in scientific research, you’d have to eat large quantities of these foods.
For example, the best dietary source of natural astaxanthin is wild salmon. To get 6mg of astaxanthin daily, you’d have to consume about 5.6 oz of wild sockeye salmon daily. Very few of us can eat this much salmon daily. In fact, based on the average amount of salmon Americans eat, the typical person gets only 11mg of astaxanthin from their diet in an entire year. This is why taking a high quality astaxanthin supplement is a good idea for most individuals.
Also, be wary of farm raised salmon and seafood that use synthetic astaxanthin (often derived from petroleum products) to color the fish. Synthetic astaxanthin has not yet been shown to offer the potency and benefits of natural AstaReal® Astaxanthin.
AstaReal® was the first company in the world to commercially produce natural astaxanthin from H. pluvialis. As important, AstaReal® invested significant resources into research on astaxanthin. To date, AstaReal® Astaxanthin has been used in over 150 efficacy and safety studies including over 70 human clinical trials conducted in Japan, Sweden, the USA, and elsewhere.
AstaReal® has used this unrivaled experience to produce astaxanthin that is top notch in both potency and purity, and even as they’ve grown, they continue to reinvest in more research and product quality to stay ahead of the pack.
This culminated in the opening of a state-of-the-art AstaReal® facility in Moses Lake, Washington. Here, natural astaxanthin is cultivated and harvested using a fully enclosed, ultra-clean bioreactor system – assuring that the final astaxanthin will be below detection limits of pollutants and environmental impurities that can degrade astaxanthin.
Only filtered air and water are used. Plus, a key advantage of the AstaReal® indoor system is being able to optimize light conditions to initiate the breakdown of the green chlorophyll in algae. Once this commences, the natural transformation to the astaxanthin rich “red phase” begins, and astaxanthin accumulates. It’s important that the chlorophyll fully breakdown to maximize astaxanthin potency and ensure safety – the controlled indoor growing environment used by AstaReal® helps to ensure this happens.
The natural astaxanthin oil AstaReal® produces in Washington is 100% “Made in the USA”, has completed stringent audits with the USP Ingredient Verification Program, and is Non-GMO Project Verified.
No other natural astaxanthin is believed to have all of these quality and safety credentials.
Yes, AstaReal® offers a natural product that is respectful of the environment and working continuously to improve sustainability.
As purveyors of the remarkable nature-inspired nutrient, astaxanthin, AstaReal® aims to be stewards of the environment and to support their local community. The Moses Lake facility is powered by renewable hydroelectric energy, takes up a small land footprint, and applies responsible water use management practices.
Their colleagues at AstaReal® AB in Sweden are equally driven to adopt sustainable practices and policies, and have achieved 100% climate-neutral electricity.
AstaReal® operates a facility in Moses Lake, WA, and another one in Sweden. All AstaReal® Astaxanthin is harvested from nature’s original source, microalgae, and in particular Haematococcus pluvialis algae (H. pluvialis).
This is important for a couple of reasons:
As nature’s original “producer” of astaxanthin, microalgae, such as H. pluvialis, provide the ideal shape that offers the greatest biological activity.
AstaReal® takes care of their algae, and the algae takes care of us by making healthier, and longer-lasting natural astaxanthin. AstaReal® handpicks algal cells to prepare a fresh culture of healthy, quality cells for each batch. The cells all come from Non-GMO microalgae grown in the USA.
AstaReal® grows algae into dense, green cultures in closed indoor photobioreactors that help nurture the algae, giving them the perfect conditions to grow and mature into astaxanthin-rich cells.
The Washington facility uses advanced HEPA filtration methods for the air and triple filters water to guarantee a pure and stable product. AstaReal® can even control exposure to lighting conditions on the material in which the algae grow.
AstaReal® harvests mature algal cells with peak astaxanthin content. Stringent quality control ensures that you get the best in astaxanthin quality, purity, and stability.
The result is a high-quality dietary supplement that contains the highest grade natural astaxanthin.
The antioxidant activities of this supplement can offer many potential health benefits. Over the last 30 years, researchers have published many scientific studies validating some of these benefits. Most of this research has been conducted with AstaReal® Astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin can help build endurance during physical activity by protecting cell mitochondria – which are the energy powerhouses of cells – from free radical damage.
During physical activity, especially exercise, free radicals are formed by muscle mitochondria as a by-product of energy production. If free radicals build up during exercise, they can damage mitochondria.
This can cause a shift from using fat in the mitochondria as an energy source towards burning sugar outside the mitochondria (producing lactic acid as a by-product). This shift hurts your energy efficiency and endurance because 1g of fat can produce up to 6 times more energy than 1g of sugar.
As a powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin can help to protect the mitochondria from damage so you can optimize energy production and stay active longer.
In addition, AstaReal® Astaxanthin can continue to work after exercise, mopping up free radicals and reducing exercise induced inflammation to help you recover faster and experience less muscle soreness from being active.
Astaxanthin can help fight tired eyes by supporting the ciliary muscle (which controls the lens in your eye) making it easier to focus.
When your eyes tire and fatigue sets in, it gets harder to focus. This happens more as we age, but we now have a new complicating factor – the digital world we live in today.
Staring at digital computer screens, phones, tablets and televisions can overwork the ciliary muscles that control the lens in your eye, making it harder to focus.
Plus, the free radicals generated by these devices, and light in general, can overwhelm these muscles. In addition, as we age blood flow to the retinas can slow.
AstaReal® Astaxanthin can help on all these fronts, and help provide relief to tired eyes, reduce eye fatigue and eye strain. In addition, astaxanthin can help eyes recover from “screen time” and helps enhance retinal blood flow.
Also noteworthy, AstaReal® Astaxanthin can pass through the blood-retinal barrier (unlike many antioxidants), and selectively deposits in the ciliary body - where it’s needed.
The brain is a large generator of free radicals because it uses about 20% of our total oxygen consumption, despite representing only about 2% of our body weight. What’s more, unlike cells of other organs, the brain cells have limited ability to replicate – so protecting them from free radical damage is especially important.
Astaxanthin is very valuable to brain health because it can cross your brain’s protective blood-brain barrier (not all antioxidants can enter the brain).
Research showing how astaxanthin can support brain health and cognitive function is an exciting and emerging area.
Taking 12mg daily of natural astaxanthin may help reduce age-related forgetfulness and supports spatial reasoning (e.g. problem solving). In addition, AstaReal® Astaxanthin may help support visual reaction time and resilience against mental and physical fatigue.
Astaxanthin acts from within to protect all skin layers from free radicals that can cause skin to lose its beauty.
In addition, astaxanthin can help protect collagen, and promote blood circulation to help skin look healthy from the inside out.
This can help reduce visible signs of aging, including the appearance of wrinkles and age spots, and it can promote skin hydration, elasticity, and smoothness.
Astaxanthin can also help protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative stress caused by free radical damage.
Research indicates astaxanthin can help you maintain normal levels of triglycerides and HDL cholesterol, protect LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, and promote blood flow in the body when taking 6mg to 12mg daily.
Immune cells use free radicals for some activities (innate immunity) but too many free radicals can cause oxidative stress that is detrimental to immune function. Natural astaxanthin helps the body “manage” free radicals by maintaining a balance between antioxidant capacity and free radicals.
Natural astaxanthin also supports immune health by helping to support a healthy inflammation response, and maintain healthy levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein or CRP (2mg to 4mg daily) and TNF-α (8mg daily) after months of astaxanthin supplementation.
In addition, mitochondria power immune cells and regulate immune cell function. Natural astaxanthin is known to support mitochondrial function.
The main job of antioxidants is to neutralize free radicals before they cause damage to healthy cells and tissue in your body.
Free radicals are harmful by-products of normal body functions like breathing oxygen and digesting foods.
Your body also must contend with many external sources of free radicals. Pollution, pesticides, and food additives are just a few examples of external sources.
Your ability to neutralize excess free radicals in your body before they can cause damage is a critical factor in how well you age.
That’s where antioxidants come in, and research shows that astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature, which is why it can be extremely valuable to your health – and your desire to live a quality life.
Scientists point to astaxanthin's unique molecular structure and shape that can allow astaxanthin to neutralize many more free radicals than other antioxidants.
For example, one of most damaging free radicals is the singlet oxygen species. In lab testing astaxanthin was shown to have 110 times more singlet oxygen quenching power than vitamin E, and 6,000 times more than vitamin C.
What’s more, astaxanthin is a versatile antioxidant, meaning it can scavenge many other free radical types in addition to the singlet oxygen species. These include peroxyl radicals, hydroxyl radicals, superoxide anions, and lipid peroxide radicals.
Next, astaxanthin can quench free radicals in both the inner and outer layers of the cell membrane. Most antioxidants work in either layer, but not both. This is a key reason why astaxanthin can help so many parts of your body.
On top of this, astaxanthin has no “pro-oxidant” activity. With some antioxidants, once they neutralize a free radical and exhaust themselves, they can become a free radical.
Astaxanthin never becomes one of the “bad guys”, making it a pure antioxidant. In a nutshell, this is why some consider astaxanthin unrivaled in the antioxidant world.
The combination of: (i) sheer antioxidant power, (ii) versatility to quench many different free radical types, (iii) ability to work in all parts of the cell membrane and (iv) no pro-oxidant activity makes astaxanthin one of your most valuable allies as you confront the challenges of aging.
Most of the comprehensive studies that focus on astaxanthin's effects use doses of 3mg to 6mg daily. However, you can take up to 12mg a day. It is recommended that you consult with your health care provider to determine the ideal daily dosage for you.
Since astaxanthin is fat soluble, you may optimize absorption if you take astaxanthin with food. Lipids (fat) can help with absorption.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has also recognized astaxanthin as generally safe for human consumption, and when used as directed it has an excellent historical safety profile.
In the extensive research conducted with AstaReal® astaxanthin, the ingredient has been shown to be well tolerated with no significant reported side effects when used as directed.
It should be noted that there haven’t been any comprehensive studies on pregnant women.
AstaReal® Astaxanthin is an excellent choice for helping you confront oxidative stress and the challenges of aging. A wide range of people from young adults to seniors can benefit from AstaReal® Astaxanthin.
AstaReal® is the oldest and most reliable producer of natural astaxanthin with the most extensive scientific support and safety record.
AstaReal® is a registered trademark of Fuji Chemical Industries Co., Ltd.