Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid. It is found microalgae and yeast. Because of its presence in microalgae, it is also found in fish and crustaceans. It is found in its highest natural concentration in wild Pacific sockeye salmon. It is also found in krill, algae, red trout, shrimp, crab, and lobster. In salmon, for example, it is responsible for its red color. It can also be produced synthetically. Although it is a carotenoid, astaxanthin does not convert to vitamin A in the human body.
Functionality in food and supplements
Astaxanthin is used as a coloring agent. It is also a potent antioxidant. It is believed to be 10 to 100 times more powerful than other carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene.
Astaxanthin is thought to have the following health benefits:
- Joint health: it has natural anti-inflammatory properties
- Skin health: it blocks UV rays, improves skin moisture and protects against wrinkles
- Fatigue: it provides energy and aids in muscle recovery after exercise
- Heart health
- Cancer treatment,due to its high antioxidant properties
- Eye health: the structure of astaxanthin is similar to lutein and zeaxanthin
- Brain health
- Male fertility
Many of these claims are not proven substantially yet.
Astaxanthin is used as a coloring agent in feeds. It is also used in human supplements because of it many health benefits.
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