What is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid, a plant pigment found in single-celled freshwater algae. Under stressful conditions, the unicellular green cell Haematococcus Pluvialis (the main source of astaxanthin) makes astaxanthin in lipid droplets. This turns the cells bright red and protects them from the harsh environment. This red substance goes up the food chain and is the source of almost all of the red in crustaceans, fish, and birds. In humans, astaxanthin helps with cellular survival too.

A Few Impressive Numbers

In The Kaufmann Protocol, Dr. Sandra Kaufmann explains that, “When antioxidant capacities are compared, […] astaxanthin is 10x greater than lutein and zeaxanthin, 14x greater than vitamin E, 54x greater than B-Carotene, 65x greater than Vitamin C and 100x greater in antioxidant activity than alpha tocopherol. Astaxanthin is simply more powerful than its competitors.” 

Benefits of Consuming Astaxanthin

Being a remarkable antioxidant and free-radical scavenger, astaxanthin offers many health benefits, as highlighted at draxe.com

  • Improves brain health
  • Protects your heart
  • Keeps skin glowing
  • Eases inflammation and improves immunity
  • Enhances your workout
  • Supports healthy vision
  • Improves cognitive function

In Summary

In a previous post, Eating the Rainbow: Is it Important? I had mentioned the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables of various colors. These colors are the product of different chemicals such as anthocyanins, chlorophyll, and various carotenoids that offer high antioxidant values. Astaxanthin is yet another carotenoid to include in our diet. It is found in abundance in wild-caught sockeye salmon, krill, algae, red trout, lobster, crab, shrimp, crawfish, salmon roe, and red seabream. So pick seafood that contains the “king of carotenoids” whenever you can!

Until next time!


Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, p. 533.

Kaufmann, Sandra, et al. The Kaufmann Protocol : Why We Age and How to Stop It. Kaufmann Anti-Aging Institute, 2018, pp.153-168.

Link, Rachael. “This ‘King of Carotenoids’ Is Even More Beneficial than Vitamin C.” Dr. Axe, 6 Dec. 2018, draxe.com/nutrition/astaxanthin-benefits/. Accessed 13 Sept. 2020.

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