Astaxanthin: The Miracle Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Nutrient

Sunday, May 24, 2009
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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Tags: astaxanthin, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) For years, I've been a strong proponent of astaxanthin, a remarkable nutrient sometimes called "King of the carotenoids!" Derived from microalgae (and also found in wild salmon), astaxanthin is on my list as one of the top three most important nutrients for human health. I take an astaxanthin supplement (BioAstin) every day.

Today, I bring you a collection of quotes from authors talking about this amazing nutrient. And yet this collection barely scratches the surface of the whole story on astaxanthin. You may wish to read my full report on this nutrient here:

You might also be interested in downloading a professionally-written summary of a fantastic book on astaxanthin. It's a free download, and you can read about how to get it here:

There are two sources I recommend for astaxanthin. Both are revealed below these quotes. For the record, I have no financial ties whatsoever to astaxanthin manufacturers or retailers.

Authors' Quotes on Astaxanthin

Below, you'll find selected quotes from noted authors on the subject of Astaxanthin. Feel free to quote these in your own work provided you give proper credit to both the original author quoted here and this NaturalNews page.

The study found that mice that were fed astaxanthin and then run on a treadmill until exhaustion suffered less heart damage than mice that were similarly exercised without astaxanthin supplementation. On examination, they found astaxanthin concentrated in the mice's hearts. They concluded that astaxanthin can decrease exercise induced damage in the heart as well as in the skeletal muscle (Aoi, et al, 2003). At the Medical College of Wisconsin, another animal study with rats showed cardio-protective attributes for astaxanthin. In this study, astaxanthin was given to rats prior to heart attacks.

- ASTAXANTHIN: Natural Astaxanthin, King of the Carotenoids by Bob Capelli

- Available on

Another nutrient that's excellent for eye protection and reduces the harm caused by excessive ultraviolet radiation is astaxanthin, now offered by a number of nutritional supplement companies. Astaxanthin also works as an internal nutritional sunscreen and actually boosts your skin's tolerance to ultraviolet radiation. It's one of my secrets for avoiding sunburn and getting a nice tan, even when I naturally have very white skin. Astaxanthin's protective benefits also extend to the eyes and the entire nervous system.

- Natural Health Solutions by Mike Adams

- Available on

The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are normally found in the eyes. Astaxanthin is not. We spoke very briefly about groundbreaking work done by Dr. Mark Tso of the University of Illinois. Dr. Tso was the first person to prove that astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers. He took laboratory rats and tested their eyes for astaxanthin. As expected, he did not find any present. Then he fed the rats astaxanthin and retested, this time finding astaxanthin present in the retina.

- ASTAXANTHIN: Natural Astaxanthin, King of the Carotenoids by Bob Capelli

- Available on

You probably never heard of astaxanthin, but it's the main carotenoid pigment found in aquatic animals and is responsible for giving salmon their pink color. The thing of it is, salmon get most of their astaxanthin from dining on crustaceans like shrimp. Why should you care? Because this red-orange pigment, closely related to other well-known carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, has stronger antioxidant activity than either of them (ten times higher than beta-carotene, in fact).

- The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.

- Available on

Astaxanthin suppresses production of prostaglandin (PGE2) 1 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg astaxanthin concentration. PROSTAGLANDIN E-2 Measurement of the anti-inflammatory action of astaxanthin in Upopoly saccharide (LPS) induced inflammation in rats, as measured by tumor necrosis factor and prostaglandin E-2. And comnared with the anti-inflammatory drugs orednisolone (Oheami. et al. 2003). Astaxanthin suppresses production of Nitric Oxide (NO) LPS 1 mg/kg, 10 mg/kg, 100mg/kg Predn.

- ASTAXANTHIN: Natural Astaxanthin, King of the Carotenoids by Bob Capelli

- Available on

You might also find antioxidant complexes with ingredients such as grapeseed extract, pine bark, blueberry extract, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin. Astaxanthin, derived from algae, is believed to be several hundred times more effective than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. Where minerals are concerned, in addition to the macrominerals (those needed in large amounts), such as calcium and magnesium, you'll also want to select a formula that has a wide range of trace minerals (those needed in small quantities), such as selenium, vanadium, chromium, boron, and iodine.

- The Detox Strategy: Vibrant Health in 5 Easy Steps by Brenda Watson and Leonard Smith

- Available on

Because organisms like many Astaxanthin-containing algae and plankton are the base of the food chain, astaxanthin can be found in many animals as well. Any sea animal that has a reddish or pinkish color contains natural astaxanthin. For example, you can find astaxanthin in salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp and crab. These animals eat krill and other organisms that ingest Astaxanthin-containing algae and plankton as a major part of their diets. And since lots of different animals such as birds, bears and even humans eat these sea animals, you can find astaxanthin in all sorts of places.

- ASTAXANTHIN: Natural Astaxanthin, King of the Carotenoids by Bob Capelli

- Available on

The antioxidant powers of fatty fish come from a substance called astaxanthin. This antioxidant hunts down and destroys free radicals that might damage cells in your body. When animals with lymphoma, a type of cancer, were given fish oil and the amino acid arginine, they lived longer and had longer periods without the disease than animals who were not treated. In addition, researchers have found that omega-3 can slow the growth of cancers, the exact opposite of what they found for omega-6, which can help cancers grow. But astaxanthin does even more.

- Eat and Heal (Foods That Can Prevent or Cure Many Common Ailments) by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing

- Available on

Wild salmon get their gorgeous pink color from eating krill and shrimp, which are high in a natural pigment called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family - in fact, it has ten times the antioxidant activity of beta-carotene. (Dr. Steve Sinatra mentioned astaxanthin as one of his reasons for including wild salmon on his top ten list). But farmed salmon don't get to eat krill and shrimp. They get their color a completely different way.

- The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.

- Available on

Recent studies, however, have shown that the carotenoids, astaxanthin, and lutein - neither of which are converted to vitamin A, can also restore lost immune function in the elderly. When taking carotenoids it is best to take a mixture that includes a number of varieties, such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, canthoxanthin, astaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and cryptoxanthin. Taking beta-carotene alone, especially the synthetic form, can actually reduce absorption of other carotenoids, such as lutein.

- Health and Nutrition Secrets by Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

- Available on

The main carotenoids found in salmon skin include astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. Salmon gain these carotenoids through their diets; wild salmon eat krill and tiny shellfish and farmed salmon get them from their feed. Astaxanthin is a natural antioxidant that is used as a coloring agent to give farm-raised salmon their namesake color, otherwise they would look somewhat gray. Salmon also contains important minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.

- 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life! by David W. Grotto, RD, LDN

- Available on

Scientists investigated the effects of an antioxidant called astaxanthin in stress-induced, immune suppression in mice. When exposed to stress, the number of natural killer (NK) and other immune cells was reduced and an increase in liver lipid peroxidation was observed. After 4 days of astaxanthin administration, immune dysfunction induced by stress improved. In this same study, cancer cells were injected and effects of tumor development and metastatic lesions were evaluated in response to induced stress.

- Disease Prevention and Treatment by The Life Extension Editorial Staff

- Available on

On the aqua farm, their rich pink hue is supplied by either synthetic astaxanthin or natural astaxanthin derived from algae or krill. Without the help of supplemental astaxanthin, the flesh of farmed salmon would look similar in color to that of halibut. While there appears to be no harm with astaxanthin, there does appear to be some risk with using the synthetic carotene canthaxanthin, as this compound was linked to retinal damage in people taking it as a sunless tanning pill.

- The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.

- Available on

It was discovered that astaxanthin, a red pigment found in crustaceans (krill, crawfish) and made synthetically, also inhibits 5alpha reductase. In a lab dish, astaxanthin inhibited 5 alpha reductase by 98% and worked synergistically with saw palmetto berry to inhibit prostate cancer cell growth. A scientific review finds that saw palmetto berry extract is comparable with the drug finasteride in the treatment of prostatitis in regard to symptoms and urinary-flow improvement and has a lower rate of sexual dysfunction.

- You Don't Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi

- Available on

The only two well researched carotenoid antioxidants that never become pro-oxidants are astaxanthin and zeaxanthin. So if you smoke, be sure to take Spirulina for its natural beta-carotene and zeaxanthin carotenoid antioxidants, take a natural astaxanthin supplement and take some Vitamin C as well.

- Spirulina: Nature's superfood by Kelly J Moorhead

- Available on

Clinical trials have shown that Astaxanthin: Helps Protect Eye Health, Helps Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases, Helps Cardiovascular Diseases, Helps Animal Health, Helps to Limit or Prevent Sun Burn, Helps Gain a Quicker and Deeper Tan, Alleviates the Effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Protects the Joints from Inflammation after Exercise, and many more. Astaxanthin, a naturally occurring carotenoid pigment, is a powerful biological antioxidant.

- You Don't Have to be Afraid of Cancer Anymore by Bill Sardi

- Available on

Zeaxanthin and astaxanthin are two carotenoids that never become pro-oxidants in any situation. These two facts about zeaxanthin are leading researchers to study zeaxanthin more and more, and as they do, they're finding out that it is a powerful antioxidant with many benefits. In the chart below, zeaxanthin beat out all other antioxidants tested except for astaxanthin in single oxygen quenching rates. It beat Vitamin E by over 400 times! (Please note that there are many different ways to measure antioxidant strength, and this is just one test).

- Spirulina: Nature's superfood by Kelly J Moorhead

- Available on

Amazingly, carotenoids express a preference for protecting a particular type of membrane. Astaxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin protect the eyes; lycopene protects the prostate; beta-cryptoxanthin protects joints; and carotenes protect DNA. Astaxanthin and lycopene are most protective against radiation from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). Following are some highlights from the scientific literature about the benefits of carotenoid supplements: Xanthophyll carotenoids, vitamins C and E can delay onset of macular degeneration and cataracts.

- The Anti-Aging Solution: 5 Simple Steps to Looking and Feeling Young by Vincent Giampapa, Ronald Pero, and Marcia Zimmerman

- Available on

My top recommended astaxanthin sources - Straight from the source! This is the website of Cyanotech, the company that grows astaxanthin on the Big Island of Hawaii. (Although my endorsement appears on their website, I have no financial relationship with this company. I am not compensated in any way for product sales.) - This online retailer of nutritional products offers the BioAstin brand as well. Check it out here:

I currently take 4mg a day on most days, with up to 8mg a day on high-stress days (or heavy workout days). Experiment with the dosage to see what works best for you, and always take a small amount at first just to make sure your body deals with it in a positive way.

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About the author: Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

In addition to being the co-star of the popular GAIAM TV series called Secrets to Health, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

In 2013, Adams created the Natural News Forensic Food Laboratory, a research lab that analyzes common foods and supplements, reporting the results to the public. He is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at

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