Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, like beta-carotene from carrots and lycopene from tomatoes. It is made by brown algae in response to exposure to the sun’s UV rays. The algae responds to exposure by making a red antioxidant, astaxanthin, which neutralizes harmful free radicals and helps them survive harsh conditions. These seaweeds are rich in other carotenoids as well especially in fucoxanthin, β-carotene, violaxanthin. Astaxanthin, found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, and crustaceans is a keto-carotenoid belonging to a larger group of phytochemicals known as terpenes.
Astaxanthin is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. Singlet oxygen is a high-energy form of oxygen, linked to oxidative damage. Astaxanthin has been shown to be more effective than other antioxidant nutrients at this singlet oxygen quenching. Its ability to neutralize oxygen free radicals is 6,000 times greater than Vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 500 times more powerful than Vitamin E, 10 times stronger than beta-carotene and 4 times more effective than lutein.
The anti-inflammatory activity of astaxanthin, which is based on its antioxidant properties, has been implicated in improving lifestyle-related diseases and managing health. Astaxanthin also has anti-aging effects and protects against the formation of wrinkles, degradation of elasticity, and age spots (liver spots).