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Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, being part of a larger group of phyto-nutrients called terpenes. It is a colourful, lipid-soluble pigment and gives a natural pinkish colour to microalgae and krill and the fish like shellfish, salmon, trout, crayfish that eat them and even to the flamingoes that eat them too!

As a supplement it can be used by humans, animals and in fish/prawn farming. It is also used as a natural food colouring. 

Interestingly, astaxanthin, unlike many carotenoids, is not converted to vitamin A in the human body. Its properties are centred on its antioxidant strength, and its anti-inflammatory strength.

Combine those two properties with the following abilities and you have a pretty important natural compound:

  • It can cross the blood-brain barrier
  • It can cross the blood-retinal barrier
  • It can cross cellular membranes

Clinical Trials

Astaxanthin really is the ´new kid on the block´. And researchers are very excited about its benefits. These benefits seem to cover almost everything you can think of - from eye problems to cancer and from diabetes to dementia. There have been more than 20 Clinical Trials on this natural compound so far: For example:

Dementia - Researchers from Tohoku University have concluded that daily supplements of the natural pigment astaxanthin reduces the accumulation of compounds called phospholipid hydroperoxides (PLOOH) which are known to accumulate abnormally in the red blood cells (erythrocytes) of people with dementia. The placebo-controlled clinical trial  showed that PLOOH levels in erythrocytes fell dramatically in the group taking the astaxanthin supplements - falling 40% and 50% in the 6 and 12 mg dose groups, respectively, compared with no change in the placebo group

Other researched areas indicated significant benefits in:

  • Pain relef and arthritis
  • Heart disease, hypertension and lowering of ´bad´ LDL cholesterol
  • Eye strain and reduction in damage to eyes
  • Reduction in fatigue during exercise
  • Immune system booster: Increases T-and B-lymphocyte and Natural Killer   levels in the blood
  • Can reduce levels of Helicobacter pylori in the stomach (this can cause ulcers and cancer) 
  • Can protect the skin from ´sunburn´

On the subject of cancer benefits to date recorded include:

        a) Indirect (as an antioxidant/anti-inflammatory/immune booster). Clinical         trial doseage seems to vary between 2 mgs and 6 mgs per day.

        b) In vitro with cancer tumour cells where astaxanthin stops tumour cell         growth faster than many other carotenoids and antioxidants.

        c) In vivo where supplementation prior to inoculation with breast cancer         cells prevented the cancer forming. No benefit was recorded if the         compound was supplemented once the tumour had developed.


Early days yet but a wealth of interest and much research effort. It is important to supplement with a natural source product. The only down-side seems to be that the soles of your feet may turn a little more pink!

If you are thinking about supplementing with astaxanthin, you might like to look at the product sold in the Natural Selection store - it is an all natural compound supplied by American Health expert Dr Mercola. Click Here to go to the product. 

Other articles to read: Omega 3 and krill oil (Click HERE)

 .At Last - the definitive, research based book on how to build a diet to help beat canceClick here to read about it.

Please be clear: At CANCERactive we do not consider the above compound to be a cure for cancer, despite what the research says or experts doing the research may claim. The above, is an article on the compound from published research and expert opinion in the public domain. At CANCERactive we do not believe that any single compound (drug, vitamin, whatever) is a cure for cancer. We believe that people can significantly increase their personal odds of survival by building an Integrated Programme of treatments. Equally, cancer prevention is best practiced through a width of measures. 

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