Astaxanthin is a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids. It occurs naturally in certain algae and causes the pink or red color in salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp, and other seafood.
Astaxanthin is taken by mouth for treating Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, high cholesterol, liver diseases, age-related macular degeneration (age-related vision loss), and preventing cancer. It is also used for metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is also used for improving exercise performance, decreasing muscle damage after exercise, and decreasing muscle soreness after exercise. Also, astaxanthin is taken by mouth to prevent sunburn, to improve sleep, and for carpal tunnel syndrome, dyspepsia, male infertility, symptoms of menopause, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Astaxanthin is applied directly to the skin to protect against sunburn, to reduce wrinkles, and for other cosmetic benefits.
- In food, it is used as a coloring for salmon, crabs, shrimp, chicken, and egg production.
- In agriculture, astaxanthin is used as a food supplement for egg-producing chickens.