Astaxanthin is a carotenoid pigment that occurs in trout, microalgae, yeast, and shrimp, among other sea creatures. It’s most commonly found in Pacific salmon and is what gives the fish its pinkish color. An antioxidant, astaxanthin is said to have many health benefits. It’s been linked to healthier skin, heart health, and may even have a future in cancer treatment.
As you may be aware, antioxidants are good for you. Astaxanthin’s antioxidant properties provide the main source of the health claims and benefits of the supplement, particularly when used to help treat cancer.
It’s been linkedTrusted Source to improved blood flow, and lowering oxidative stress in smokers and overweight people. A comparison studyTrusted Source of astaxanthin and other carotenoids showed that it displayed the highest antioxidant activity against free radicals.
Because of its antioxidant properties, there has been a lot of research on how astaxanthin might help to treat various cancers. One studyTrusted Source found short- and long-term benefits for the treatment of breast cancer, including reduced growth of breast cancer cells.
The high cost of purified astaxanthin has limited its use in further studies and cancer treatments.
3. The skin
Astaxanthin can be used topically to promote healthy skin. A 2012 study showed that combining topical and oral doses of astaxanthin can help to smooth wrinkles, make age spots smaller, and help maintain skin moisture.
4. Heart health
Researchers are also looking into claims that astaxanthin can benefit heart health. A 2006 studyTrusted Source examined astaxanthin’s effects on rats with hypertension (high blood pressure), and results indicated that it may help to improve elastin levels and arterial wall thickness.