7 Potential Health Benefits of Astaxanthin

7 Potential Health Benefits of Astaxanthin


Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that's been attracting a lot of attention from health enthusiasts and researchers alike. Its vibrant red pigment paints the natural world in hues of pink and red. However, the role of astaxanthin extends beyond the color palette of nature, astaxanthin also holds promise in supporting our wellness in various ways.

Here at iwi life, we're all about channeling the power of nature to foster health, and astaxanthin is an important part of this mission. We incorporate this carotenoid into our plant-based omega-3 dietary supplements, extracting it from sustainably farmed algae.

Before we get into the long list of benefits, let’s learn a little more about this fascinating natural compound. 

What Is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a part of the carotenoid family. This group of biochemicals also includes several well-known compounds, including beta-carotene, xanthophyll, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are organic pigments found in plants and some other photosynthetic organisms. They're responsible for the vibrant yellows, oranges, red, and purples that you see in many fruits and vegetables. 

While astaxanthin is indeed a carotenoid, it's not just any carotenoid. What sets Astaxanthin apart is its unique structure and the health benefits this structure enables. Unlike other carotenoids, Astaxanthin has two additional oxygenated groups at each end of its molecule — this allows it to span the entire cell membrane and provide protective effects to both the interior and exterior of cells. This is why it's often referred to as a "super antioxidant."

This super antioxidant is especially adept at supporting cells during exposure to a specific type of damaging molecule called a reactive oxygen species (ROS). These molecules can cause oxidative stress and DNA damage, which can, in turn, contribute to a host of chronic conditions.

Where Is Astaxanthin Found in Nature?

Astaxanthin is naturally synthesized by certain types of microalgae, including the green algae known as Haematococcus sp.When conditions for growth are unfavorable, microalgae ramps up the production of astaxanthin, creating a protective shield against the harsh environment. This results in a high concentration of natural astaxanthin, making microalgae one of the richest sources of this potent antioxidant.

That said, algae aren't the only ones sporting this brilliant pigment. When krill, shrimp, or other marine creatures munch on these algae, they also ingest astaxanthin. The carotenoid then accumulates in their bodies, lending them their distinctive red or pink color. It's the same reason why wild salmon have that characteristic pink flesh — a diet rich in astaxanthin-loaded crustaceans.

Fun fact: ever wondered why flamingos are pink? You guessed it — astaxanthin. Flamingos feast on astaxanthin-rich creatures like shrimp and krill, and over time, the astaxanthin they ingest gets deposited in their feathers, turning them a beautiful shade of pink.

What Are the Potential Health Benefits of Astaxanthin? 

Astaxanthin, with its potent antioxidant activity, offers a wide array of potential health benefits. Its unique ability to support cells makes it a valuable inclusion for various aspects of our health and wellness. Here are just a few examples of the potential benefits that come from astaxanthin: 

1. Joint Health

Astaxanthin may offer relief for those dealing with joint discomfort, which can significantly impact quality of life. Joint discomfort is often the result of tension within the joint tissues. Astaxanthin can help protect these tissues from tension, potentially offering relief from joint discomfort and stiffness.

2. Brain Function

Our brains are especially vulnerable to damage, which can contribute to age-related cognitive concerns. 

Astaxanthin stands out because it’s one of the few antioxidants that can cross the blood-brain barrier. By doing so, it can support cognitive function and overall brain health by directly supporting the brain during exposure to free radicals. 

3. Eye Health

Just like our brain, our eyes are also particularly susceptible to oxidative stress, which can lead to age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration. Astaxanthin's potent antioxidant activity may help support the eyes and contribute to good eye health during exposure to free radicals that can cause damage to our vision.

4. Athletic Performance

For athletes and fitness enthusiasts, astaxanthin may provide natural performance support. It can help maintain muscle health, blood flow, and proper energy metabolism. This can lead to support for endurance, recovery times, and overall athletic performance.

5. Skin Health

Astaxanthin may be a valuable addition to your skincare routine as it can promote healthy, youthful-looking skin. By supporting your cell health during exposure to free radicals and UV light, it can support skin moisture levels and elasticity while also reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

6. Immune Support

A strong immune system is crucial for our overall health. Astaxanthin may support the immune response by maintaining the healthy production of antibodies, maintaining the health of white blood cells, and protecting our cell integrity.

Are There Any Side Effects of Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin, with its antioxidant properties and wide-ranging potential health benefits, is generally considered safe for consumption. Most people who take astaxanthin in supplement form experience few, if any, side effects. This is one of the reasons why it has gained such popularity in the health and wellness world.

However, it's important to approach astaxanthin supplementation, and any other supplementation, with an informed mindset. While side effects are rare, some individuals might experience minor issues like a slight change in skin color (a pinkish hue), hormonal changes, or stomach discomfort.

It's also worth noting that the safety of astaxanthin supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding hasn't been extensively researched. So, if you're pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before starting astaxanthin supplementation.

Interactions with certain medications, like blood pressure medications, are another consideration.

At the end of the day, it's always a smart move to discuss any new supplement regimen with a healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your unique health history and current situation, helping you make the most informed decision possible.

The Bottom Line

Astaxanthin is a powerful tool for your health. Its potential benefits span from supporting brain function and joint health to promoting skin wellness and heart health. Combine these with its potent antioxidant properties, and you've got a compelling addition to any wellness routine.

Here at iwi life, the origin of our ingredients is just as important as the benefits they offer. We believe that wellness and sustainability go hand in hand, and this belief is reflected in our approach to sourcing astaxanthin for our supplements.

Our astaxanthin comes directly from nature, specifically from Haematococcus sp algae. Algae are the original producers of astaxanthin in the environment, making them the perfect source for our supplements.

Our high-quality, algae-derived omega-3 supplements are the result of careful, sustainable farming practices and a deep respect for the power of nature. When you choose iwi life, you're not just choosing a supplement — you're choosing a way of life that values health, wellness, and sustainability.


Carotenoids as Natural Functional Pigments | PMC

Astaxanthin: A Super Antioxidant From Microalgae and its Therapeutic Potential | NCBI Bookshelf

The Role of the Reactive Oxygen Species Scavenger Agent, Astaxanthin, in the Protection of Cisplatin-Treated Patients Against Hearing Loss | PMC

Microalgae Derived Astaxanthin: Research and Consumer Trends and Industrial Use as Food | PMC

Astaxanthin in Exercise Metabolism, Performance and Recovery: A Review | PMC

Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review | PMC

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