Astaxanthin, a member of the carotenoid family, it is a dark red pigment and the main carotenoid found in algae and aquatic animals. It is responsible for the red/pink coloration of crustaceans, shellfish, and the flesh of salmonoids. Algatechnologies produces astaxanthin from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest known natural source for astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin has two chiral centers, at the 3 and 3' positions. The main astaxanthin stereoisomer (3S, 3S’) found in the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis is the main form found in wild salmon.
Astaxanthin consists of geometric isomers (trans and cis). the cis isomers display higher bioavailability and potency in humans This isomer is abundant (up to 20%) in the natural astaxanthin complex produced by the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis.
The astaxanthin in Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae occurs in the esterified form, which is more stable than the free astaxanthin form.
Astaxanthin cannot be synthesized by animals and humans and must be provided in the diet. Natural astaxanthin has been part of the human diet for thousands of years.
Astaxanthin, unlike most carotenes is not converted to vitamin A (retinol) in the human body.
Natural astaxanthin has no "pro-oxidant" activity – It does not become an exhausted oxidant thanks to its unique molecule structure that is able to release the excess of energy as heat.
Astaxanthin has been shown to actually cross the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers, meaning it can positively impact disorders related to brain and the central nervous system