April 14, 2021

What is Astaxanthin?

With so many natural supplements on the market, it can be difficult to know which unique ingredients are best for you and your overall health. Whether you’re confused about ashwagandha, astaxanthin or zeaxanthin, we are here to break down some of the most beneficial powerhouse ingredients for your health and well-being. To kick things off, we are first going to review astaxanthin and discuss how it can support your body from the inside out. 

Astaxanthin is an increasingly popular ingredient used for its health and wellness value, but what is astaxanthin exactly and what does it do? 

Astaxanthin is a naturally-occurring carotenoid known for its powerful antioxidant properties. It’s commonly found in wild salmon, trout, shrimp, and microalgae, including Chlorella zofingiensis and Botyryococcus braunii.1 The richest source of it comes from the microalga Haematococcus pluviali, which is where GEM sources our astaxanthin. It's harvested from the Himalayas, where the mild climate and abundance of sunlight create the ideal environment for cultivating this resource.2

The fact that astaxanthin is naturally-occurring means humans can’t produce it, making the concept of an astaxanthin vitamin type of supplement alluring for those who want to reap the benefits. Also, since it’s plant-based, it meets all diet requirements as a helpful, nutrient-rich tool to combat serious health conditions and diseases.2

Explore the impact of astaxanthin through its health benefits, safety information, and the appropriate dosage to take. We’ll show you why this ingredient is becoming increasingly recognizable and sought-after for those who seek natural solutions for their health. 

Health Benefits of Astaxanthin

There are many incredible benefits of Astaxanthin to take advantage of. If you’ve ever wondered what gives salmon its rich, pinkish-orange color, that’s due to this pigment.

To achieve the benefits of this carotenoid without solely relying on a diet of wild salmon and shellfish, having it available as a chewable makes it easier and more convenient to incorporate into your daily diet. Here are a few ways astaxanthin supplementation can help you achieve optimal health. 

Powerful Source of Antioxidants

Antioxidants is a term most people are familiar with, especially compared to saying astaxanthin. However, when referencing astaxanthin, what is it that makes it so powerful? For starters, it’s often referred to as the “king of the carotenoids” due to its rich source of antioxidants.3  Antioxidants are good for the body and are an important part in maintaining balanced nutrition and good health. Fruits and vegetables are the main natural source of antioxidants, which includes vitamins A, C, and E.4

They work to counteract oxidative stress caused by free radicals found from a variety of sources, including air pollution, cigarette smoke, certain toxins and metals, high carb diets, and sunlight. Oxidative stress triggers cell damage and may play a role in developing serious conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and eye diseases, as well as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.4 The more antioxidants you have in your diet, the more support you’ll be giving your body to defend itself against these different diseases.

Boosts Skin Care and Appearance

Additionally, astaxanthin supplementation is known to support the body from the inside out. What we consume makes a difference for both our internal health and outwardly appearance. Dietary astaxanthin aids in reducing age spots, wrinkles, and other signs of skin damage caused by UV rays from the sun and other environmental factors.3

A Kyoto University study found astaxanthin significantly suppressed photoaging effects from the sun, such as water loss and wrinkle formation, to work as a natural anti-aging property.5

Benefits Eye Health

Eye strain is a common problem for many due to the number of hours spent staring at screens each day. A 2020 study revealed the average adult spends at least three and a half hours using the Internet on their phones. Add to that the amount of time watching TV, using a desktop computer, and playing video games, and the hours only increase. 

Eye strain leads to other adverse health effects, including headaches, neck and shoulder strain, as well as blurred vision and eye pain. Those who experience the effects of eye strain, which also includes dry eyes and eye fatigue, can benefit from astaxanthin.6  Evidence provided by a joint study of Italian researchers suggests astaxanthin may help in preventing several ocular diseases, such as:

  • Macular degeneration, which is largely responsible for vision loss in older adults
  • Uveitis (inflammatory conditions of the eye)
  • Cataracts
  • Damage to the ocular surface

The beneficial activity of astaxanthin helps to reduce oxidative stress, light-induced retinal dysfunction, and chronic inflammation, while also improving retinal capillary blood flow. It can alleviate many of the symptoms associated with these diseases and conditions that affect our ability to see.7

Protects Heart Health

Due to its anti-inflammatory activity, astaxanthin has also been shown to protect a person’s health in various ways. What is astaxanthin’s value as it pertains to heart health, specifically?

Evidence presented by medical researchers in Australia shows astaxanthin decreases lipid peroxidation, thrombosis (blood clots), and plaque infiltration of the arteries. It also presents information that shows its impact in reducing fatty acids, the size of fat cells, and blood pressure. These collected clinical studies include both animal investigations and healthy adult volunteer studies to test astaxanthin’s multiple, therapeutic advantages.7 

Another study conducted by the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo found evidence that showed consumption of astaxanthin inhibited LDL oxidation and therefore, possibly contributed to the prevention of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque along the artery walls, causing severe heart conditions, including stroke, angina, and myocardial infarction.

Slows Down Joint Degradation

There’s been research that has suggested astaxanthin may reduce pain and slow down joint degradation associated with carpal tunnel syndrome and other joint conditions. 

For example, a collaborative study by researchers in Wuhan, China applied the use of astaxanthin to treat osteoarthritis. They found it alleviated extracellular matrix degradation by inhibiting NF-kB signaling and suppressing oxidative stress. NF-kB is the protein complex that induces expression of pro-inflammatory genes. Due to these findings, the study concluded astaxanthin could be effective in protecting against osteoarthritis and used as a potential therapeutic supplement for its treatment.1

Aids in Cancer Treatment

Antioxidants have long been discussed as helpful in preventing and using as part of treatment for certain cancers, which already make astaxanthin beneficial. Additionally, a study conducted in Hong Kong revealed astaxanthin to have antiproliferative activity on breast cancer and skin cancer cells. Astaxanthin extraction resulted in cell death following a six-day incubation period, and observations of inhibited growth of cancerous cells took effect after 48 hours. 

Another study conducted at the University of Minnesota presents evidence that astaxanthin may exert anti-tumor activity. Results concluded that dietary astaxanthin suppressed tumor cell growth and stimulated immunity against tumor antigen in mice that received 40 micrograms of astaxanthin daily over a three-week period

Enhances Male Fertility

Wondering how astaxanthin can be used to support male fertility? A study conducted by Ghent University Hospital in Belgium used a double-blind, randomized trial of 30 men with infertility. Study participants either received conventional treatment, a placebo, or 16 mg of astaxanthin per day for a period of three months. 

Results showed that sperm velocity increased significantly in the astaxanthin group but not the placebo group. And, the total and per cycle pregnancy rates were 54.5 percent and 23.1 percent among those who were given astaxanthin, compared with much lower rates of 10.5 percent and 3.6, respectively, in the placebo group.

Regulates Immune Responses

In addition to the ways an astaxanthin supplement aids in treatment of various conditions, it also serves to regulate the immune system. A joint study between Washington State University, Inha University in Incheon Korea, and La Haye Labs, Inc. in Redmond, WA showed dietary astaxanthin regulated immune response, inflammation, and oxidative damage among its human participants.

Particularly, this dietary supplement enhanced cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in young healthy females. Subjects were given 2-8 mg of synthetic astaxanthin daily for eight weeks in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Evidence showed the astaxanthin supplement decreased a DNA damage biomarker after the halfway point.

This is a partial list of the ailments and conditions astaxanthin has been used for. However, many individuals take this powerful antioxidant as a way to support their overall health and wellness.

Astaxanthin Safety and Dosage

Astaxanthin is an increasingly used ingredient and widely available in multiple forms, including tablets, powders, energy drinks, and oils. There are no known side effects of consuming this powerhouse antioxidant. Various studies recommend different doses depending on the conditions being treated or tested. When taking an astaxanthin supplement, always follow the recommended dosage that’s outlined on the product label. 

A general recommended dose offered by researchers from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Karnataka, India, and Dayananda Sagar Institutions in Karnataka, India is 2-4mg per day, although no adverse effects were found with the administration of 6mg per day.

Reimagine the Way You Nourish

Science has shown the value of natural astaxanthin and the ways it can help prevent and treat multiple conditions and ailments. With GEM daily supplements, it’s combined with other healthy antioxidants and ingredients, including ashwagandha and spirulina, both of which offer their own unique benefits.

 GEM is a plant-based, allergen-free way for people to get many of their daily vitamins and nutrients in one chewable food. If you’re looking to support your immune system, cardiovascular health, and cognitive function, try out GEM today.


1) https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2012-02/astaxanthin-review-literature

2) https://www.dailygem.co/blogs/news/gem-glossary-astaxanthin-update

3) https://www.healthline.com/health/health-claims-astaxanthin#antioxidant

4) https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/antioxidants-in-depth

5) https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0171178

6) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288077438_Eye_fatigue_Asthenopia_relief_by_astaxanthin

7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281326/


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