Astaxanthin: What is Astaxanthin (Overview, Uses, Side Effects)

Should I take astaxanthin in the morning or at night?
Astaxanthin powder in a tray

Astaxanthin is a dark-red pigment that belongs to the form of substances called Carotenoids. It is the main carotenoid found in algae, salmon and a host of other seafoods like red sea bream, trout, lobsters, shrimps etc. It can also be sourced naturally from birds such as quail and flamingo. Numerous studies and researches have shown that it possesses an unusually high amount of antioxidants which drives its high medicinal value and therefore helps in managing so many health conditions.

What Is Astaxanthin Used For?

Astaxanthin has been found helpful in managing diseases and conditions such as cancer, renal failure, gastrointestinal disease, liver disease, diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, male infertility, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, skin disease and a host of others.

What Is The Best Source Of Astaxanthin?

Florideae–Rotalgen from Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel. Original from Library of Congress. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel.

Astaxanthin can be found in so many organisms, but the best source astaxanthin of remains the phytoplankton algae (Haematococcus pluvialis). It is found in the resting cells of the algae and its production is boosted when the cells are subjected to unfavourable environmental conditions like excessive exposure to light  and heat. The blood-red colours found in dried up pools and other similar water bodies is actually astaxanthin, which is believed to be protecting the resting cells from the effects of UV radiations.

Does Astaxanthin Really Work?

Yes, it really works and there has been a sufficient amount of scientific research to prove all of its benefits. It has been scientifically proven to greatly help in managing a long list of health conditions as well as helps in the outright cure of a number of diseases. Below is a list of some of its benefits.

Want to know the best eye drops for contacts? then read – Best Eye Drops for Contacts: [7 Top-Rated 2021 Eye Drops]

What Are The Benefits Of Taking Astaxanthin?

It has been found to be super beneficial in managing a lot of health conditions and helping some vital organs stay healthy. Here are some of its most beneficial properties.

Antioxidant properties

Studies have shown that astaxanthin has several times more antioxidants radicals than the vitamin E and b carotene. It is also known to contain 10 times more antioxidants than the rest of the carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin etc. What is great plant medicine without its abundant antioxidant contents? It has in fact been dubbed the super vitamin E.


Astaxanthin has been found to greatly reduce the incidence of cancer and inhibits the expansion of tumor cells. In a particular study by Buckley McCall et al, it was found that its use greatly inhibited breast cancer cell migration and reduced cancer proliferation rates. Increasing evidence has shown that carotenoids possess high cancer chemopreventive properties, this is asides their antioxidant activity.  Some carotenoids have shown more potent anticarcinogenic effects than the b-carotene and might be more effective in cancer prevention.


What is Astaxanthin’s role in managing diabetes mellitus? Oxidative stress (OS) plays a pivotal role in diabetes mellitus initiation, progression, and chronic complications.

Astaxanthin, being a very powerful antioxidant has been found to be super effective in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.

It helps in reducing the oxidative stress, inflammation, hyperglycemia and also acts as a protection against neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy.

Several studies conducted on type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus have shown that when orally or parenterally administered, helps to improve insulin secretion and insulin resistance, improves glucose tolerance and reduces blood glucose levels.


Carotenoids generally have an important role in nature of playing a protective function against the adverse oxidative effects of the UV radiations. The damages of the UV rays on the human skin and eyes have been well researched and documented which is where it comes in to provide its natural protective function for better eye and skin health.

Liver function

The liver is that part of the body that shoulders the most catabolic and anabolic activities. Some of its key functions include destruction of dead red blood cells, oxidation of fats and lipids, destruction of pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

In carrying out these functions, the liver loses a lot of free radicals and is susceptible to some degree of oxidative damages. This means that the liver requires some level of protection from these oxidative damages and astaxanthin has been proven to be best at this protective function.

Better than vitamin E and other alternatives. So, for those who may want to ask, Is Astaxanthin good for the liver? Here is your answer.

Heart health

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) also known as “bad cholesterol” is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis. Many studies have shown that LDL is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction, angina pectoris and brain thrombosis.

Thankfully, research has also shown that with its help, inhibition of oxidation of the bad cholesterol helps prevent the development of arteriosclerosis and some other common heart diseases. 

Eye health

Two leading causes of blindness, cataracts and macular degeneration are believed to be caused by the light related oxidative processes in the eye.

It has been found to play a super protective role to the eyes from this UV related oxidations and other forms of damages done to the free radicals in the eyes.

Improve your brain with Piracetam. Read – 20 Ways to Improve Your Brain with Piracetam

Is Astaxanthin Safe For Kidneys?

Yes! It has been found to help reduce the oxidative stresses on the heart and kidney.

Astaxanthin treatment helps to improve renal tubular injury and other forms of acute kidney injury (AKI). There is no known side effect of astaxanthin on the kidney or any other vital organ in the body.

Does Astaxanthin Cause Weight Gain?

Instead of weight gain, studies have shown that astaxanthin helps in fatty acid utilisation in the body. By doing so, it helps to reduce weight gained as a result of a high fat diet. 

Does Astaxanthin Help You Sleep?

Astaxanthin can help one get more sleep. A recent study investigated the effect of a dietary supplement containing astaxanthin on the stress and sleep level of individuals between 20 and 60 years old. The result shows that individuals who are depressed may experience improved sleep as a result of the astaxanthin contained in the supplement.

Side Effects Of Astaxanthin

Most studies have been unable to associate astaxanthin to any harmful symptom of any kind when taken in the appropriate dosage. While scientists continue in their efforts to find out what’s astaxanthin’s possible key demerits, some recent research has been able to point out certain mild effects like; change in colour of stool to red, increased bowel movement, slight change in skin colouration to orange. These may only occur when astaxanthin is taken in extremely high dosage. In the US, the FDA approves max of 7 mg of astaxanthin per day. Higher doses may be acceptable in places like Canada where it is permissible to consume as much as 12 mg per day. Anything above 12 mg per day is already considered too much and one should expect some of the adverse effects at that rate.

Should I Take Astaxanthin In The Morning Or At Night?

It doesn’t really matter what time of the day astaxanthin is taken, what matters is the dietary components of the food it is taken with. Although most astaxanthin comes in oil-based capsules, it is still advised to be taken with food, especially one rich in cholesterol. This is because astaxanthin, just like most carotenoids, is absorbed into the body like lipids (fat) and is moved through the lymphatic system into the liver. The body’s absorption of astaxanthin is dependent on the accompanying dietary components. A diet with high cholesterol will increase the rate of absorption of astaxanthin while a low cholesterol diet is likely to reduce its absorption rate.

Just like astaxanthin, you can find more uses of kratom as well as its side effects.


  1. Astaxanthin: A potential carotenoid (November 2011) – Researchgate
  2. Antioxidant – National Cancer institute
  3. The Production and Health Benefits of Astaxanthin (January 2008) – Researchgate
  4. Astaxanthin from microbial sources (September 2008) – Taylor and Francis Online
  5. Carotenogenesis in Haematococcus pluvialis(January 1955) – 
  6. Astaxanthin: A potential carotenoid (November 2011) – Researchgate
  7. Evaluation of hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of astaxanthin and astaxanthin esters from microalga-Haematococcus pluvialis (March 2015) – Springer Link.
  8. Effects of Astaxanthin on the Proliferation and Migration of Breast Cancer Cells In Vitro (October 2018) – MDPI
  9. Impact of Astaxanthin on Diabetes Pathogenesis and Chronic Complications (July 2020) – MDPI
  10. UV Radiation and the Skin (June 2013) – MDPI
  11. Anabolism versus catabolism of [5-3H]uridine and its relationship to ribonucleic acid labelling in mouse liver after partial hepatectomy (January 1979) – Biochemical Journal
  12. Astaxanthin: A potential carotenoid (November 2011) – Researchgate
  13. Beyond Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol: Defining the Role of Low-Density Lipoprotein Heterogeneity in Coronary Artery Disease (October 2007) – Journal of American College of Cardiology.
  14. Cardiovascular Disease (July 2003) – The New England Journal of Medicine.
  15. Astaxanthin: The Key to a New You (August 2019) – Clinical Education.
  16. Astaxanthin Prevented Oxidative Stress in Heart and Kidneys of Isoproterenol-Administered Aged Rats (May 2017) – Journal of Dietary Supplements
  17. Astaxanthin Attenuates Early Acute Kidney Injury Following Severe Burns in Rats by Ameliorating Oxidative Stress and Mitochondrial-Related Apoptosis (April 2015) – US National Library of Medicine, NAtional Institute of Health.
  18. Natural products and body weight control (January 2011) – US National Library of Medicine, NAtional Institute of Health.
  19. Effect of astaxanthin-rich extract derived from Paracoccus carotinifaciens on the status of stress and sleep in adults (March 2020) – US National Library of Medicine, NAtional Institute of Health.
  20. Astaxanthin: How much is too much? A safety review (December 2019) – Phytotherapy Research, Wiley Online Library.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here