Authored by Robert Chen • 
July 10, 2016
 • 2 min read

Take Home Points

  • Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid compound commonly found in seafood such as crabs, salmon, krill and lobster.

  • Astaxanthin has various antioxidant and inflammatory effects beneficial for long-term health.

  • Astaxanthin supplementation is associated with improvements in fatigue, attention and memory.


Astaxanthin is a naturally occuring carotenoid compound commonly found in seafood such as crabs, salmon, krill and lobster, as well as the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis.


Astaxanthin is a keto-carotenoid. The chemical structure is shown below.


Astaxanthin's chemical structure.

How to Take

Take a dosage of about 1-8 mg per day.

Astaxanthin is fat soluble, so it is best consumed with dietary fat.

Effects on the Brain

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant and can help to prevent damage to cells in the brain and other parts of the body.

Astaxanthin has been shown to curb neuronal and ganglion cell damage on the molecular level.1


Astaxanthin has many beneficial effects, as it acts on pathways to prevent neoplasm formation and proliferation, and to boost the immune response.


Astaxanthin supplementation was associated with mitigating age-related forgetfulness. In a study of 96 middle-aged subjects, subjects who consumed the higher dosage (12 mg/day) was associated with greater improvements in a memory task called the Groton Maze Learning Test, compared to subjects who consumed the lower dosage (6 mg/day). While both groups taking astaxanthin witnessed improvements on the test, the group taking 12 mg/day exhibited improvements starting from an earlier point in time, at 4 weeks after initiation of the supplementation.2

Side Effects

Astaxanthin does not carry significant side effects when taken within safe quantities.

Minor side effects of astaxanthin may include decrease in blood pressure, minor changes in skin pigmentation, changes in hormonal balance, lower blood calcium levels, and additional hair growth.1


Astaxanthin is classified as a Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) compound by the FDA.

Astaxanthin at dosages up to 20-50 mg per day have been well tolerated in studies.

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