What is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a potent naturally occurring antioxidant that is related to Vitamin A.  Humans are unable to synthesize Astaxanthin and so it must be obtained from the diet.  Hundreds of studies have been performed to assess the effectiveness of Astaxanthin for a variety of health conditions, particularly inflammatory diseases, with a large percentage of those studies showing an improvement in the condition studied (Guerin, et al, 2003).

 

Due to the expense involved in extracting Astaxanthin from natural sources, its use in nutritional supplements are virtually always synthetic; but, of course, it has the same structure as the one found in nature.

 

How does it work?

As an antioxidant, Astaxanthin may be helpful in reversing or improving damage to sperm caused by oxidative damage.

 

Where does it come from?

Astaxanthin is a pigment (or color) that many crustaceans and fish, such as lobster, shrimp and salmon, produce naturally to give them their deep red color.  It is also found in plant sources like algae.

 

Safety/Side-effects:

Even at very high dosages, Astaxanthin appears to have few, if any side effects and has no known toxicity. (Mera Pharmaceuticals, 1999).

 

Studies involving sperm:

Thirty men whose female partner had no apparent infertility factors were treated with either Astaxanthin or placebo in addition to standard infertility treatments (Comhaire, et al, 2005).  The sperm from treated men had significantly better motility (sperm linear velocity) and had lower levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS).  Couples in the Astaxanthin group also had significantly higher total and per cycle pregnancy rates (54.5% and 23.1%) than those in the placebo group (10.5% and 3.6%).

 

Interactions:

There are no known interactions between Astaxanthin and any other medications or supplements.

 

References:

Martin Guerin, Mark E. Huntley and Miguel Olaizola (2003) Haematococcus Astaxanthin: applications for human health and nutrition. TRENDS in Biotechnology, 21(5) May 2003
F. H. Comhaire, Y. El Garem, A. Mahmoud, F. Eertmans, F. Schoonjans (2005) Combined conventional/antioxidant "Astaxanthin" treatment for male infertility: a double blind, randomized trial, Department of Medical and Urological Andrology, Ghent University Hospital, Gent B 9000, Belgium, Department of Andrology, Alexandria University Hospital, Alexandria, EG 21544, Egypt