Astaxanthin (pronounced “asta-ZAN-thin”) is an all natural, dark-red keto-carotenoid that is produced by algae, and this pigment can also be found in aquatic animals such as lobster, arctic shrimp, crab, crawfish, red trout, krill, and crustaceans that eat algae. Astaxanthin is often referred to as one of the most potent carotenoids due to its high antioxidant activity.
The microalga Haematococcus pluvialis grows in fresh water and it is the world’s richest source of natural astaxanthin. Humans, like crustaceans, cannot synthesize astaxanthin and we must acquire it through our diet. Astaxanthin is presently used as a dietary supplement for humans, animals, and in aquaculture applications.
Studies have shown that natural astaxanthin is 500 times stronger than vitamin E, 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than Coenzyme Q10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins, 75 times stronger than alpha-lipoic acid, and much more potent than other carotenoids, including lutein, beta-carotene, and lycopene.