• Astaxanthin
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Astaxanthin: instructions for use + contraindications

At the end of 2017, a new microalgae, Haematococcus pluvialis, and its extract astaxanthin were authorized for human consumption by the European Commission (1, 2).

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Astaxanthin, extracted from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, has entered the list of novel foods or food supplements defined by the European Commission on novel foods, in accordance with regulation(novel food) (EU) 2015/2283 (3). These recommendations are for healthy adults only.

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Astaxanthin: definition, origin, explanation

Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family, which comprises over 600 molecules, the best-known of which are beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are pigments whose color can vary from red, orange to yellow. They are commonly found in living organisms.

They are synthesized by all plants as they play a major role in photosynthesis, the reaction that uses carbon dioxide and light to produce organic compounds and oxygen (4).

Salmon, lobster, shrimp and even flamingos have pretty orange colors because they eat algae containing carotenoids.

Astaxanthin is a bright red pigment. It is naturally produced by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. The natural Astaxanthin dietary supplement is therefore an extract of this microalgae, but it can also be produced by chemical synthesis. It is this much cheaper synthetic product that is used to feed farmed salmon or trout to give their flesh an attractive orange color.

Astaxanthin has particularly interesting effects on our bodies, and scientists explain its health benefits by the fact that it is a powerful antioxidant ( 4).

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Posology and benefits

Astaxanthin dosage and benefits

8 mg of astaxanthin per day is recommended, equivalent to eating 1.6 kg of fresh salmon . Astaxanthin can be taken as a 2-3 month course of treatment.
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The European Commission’s text mentions an authorization for a consumption recommendation of up to 80 mg of Haematococcus pluvialis oleoresin, i.e. 8 mg astaxanthin per day (2).

Clinical studies carried out in Japan show that a daily intake of 4 mg astaxanthin provides significant protection of the skin against the effects of UV rays, and that a daily intake of 6 mg shows an skin improvement on elasticity, wrinkles, dryness, age spots and eyes (5).

Top athletes use minimum doses of 16 mg a day(*).

Among the scientific publications reporting on astaxanthin’s efficacy, some studies have been carried out using high doses: from 40 mg to 100 mg per day. A dose of 40 mg per day was shown to improve gastric reflux syndrome as early as 4 weeks. Gastric reflux is well reduced in people infected with Helicobacter piloris (6, 7). (*)

The maximum amount of astaxanthin present in the blood appears between 8 and 10 h after taking 40 mg (8).

(*) According to European Parliament Directive 2002/46/EC, the maximum authorized doses of astaxanthin-rich oleoresin extracted from Haematococcus pluvialis algae for the general population are currently between 40 and 80 mg oleoresin per day, equivalent to less than 8.0 mg astaxanthin per day. The new Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1377 of August 19, 2021 requests that it be clarified that this dietary supplement should not be used for children under the age of 14.

When to take astaxanthin

When should astaxanthin be taken during the day?

Astaxanthin should be taken with or just after a meal, as studies show that its assimilation is optimized in the presence of lipids.

Pharmacokinetic studies have been carried out using 40 mg (9) or 100 mg of astaxanthin per day (10). They show that astaxanthin is best absorbed in the presence of lipids. It is therefore recommended to consume it with or just after a meal (11,12,13,14).

Side effects and contraindications

Side effects of astaxanthin?

No negative side effects have been reported to date for regular intakes of up to 40 mg per day.

What are the contraindications to taking astaxanthin?

No contraindications to astaxanthin have been identified to date. However, as a precautionary measure, astaxanthin is not recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women, or for children under 14.

Combination possibilities

Can astaxanthin be taken in combination?

Depending on your needs, astaxanthin can be taken in combination with chlorella and spirulina.

For anti-inflammatory (pain-relieving) effects, the combination of chlorella and astaxanthin may make sense.

Remember: chlorella should be taken in the morning on an empty stomach, while spirulina should be taken in the evening before a meal. Astaxanthin is best taken during or after a meal, as it is better assimilated in the presence of lipids (11, 12, 13, 14).

Where to buy astaxanthin?

Where can I buy astaxanthin?

eChlorial’s online store offers a range of Natural Organic Astaxanthin extracted from micro-algae grown in Europe in a perfectly protected environment. It’s essential to choose astaxanthin from a transparent, premium-quality brand.

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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by an expert. This article contains scientific references.
Numbers in brackets (1, 2, 3) are references to scientific articles and official publications.

(1) February 2017 – Application from Algalo Industries for an opinion on the substantial equivalence of a dried biomass and oleoresin product from H.pluvialis using supercritical carbon dioxide. Under Evaluation
(2) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2470 of 20 December 2017 establishing the Union list of novel foods in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 of the European Parliament and of the Council on novel foods.
(3) Wikipedia – Astaxanthine
(4) Effective inhibition of skin cancer, tyrosinase, and antioxidative properties by astaxanthin and astaxanthin esters from the green alga Haematococcus pluvialis.
(5) Protective effects of astaxanthin on skin deterioration
(6,7) Kupcinskas L, Lafolie P, Lignell Å, Kiudelis G, Jonaitis L, Adamonis K, et al. Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without helicobacter pylori infection: a prospective, randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine (2008) 15(6–7):391–9.
(8) What is the best time to take astaxanthin? Astaxanthin.net
(9) Robert G. Fassett1,2,* and Jeff S. Coombes2 Astaxanthin: A Potential Therapeutic Agent in Cardiovascular Disease
(10) Miguel Olaizola, The Production and Health Benefits of Astaxanthin, Nutraceutical Science and Technology, 2007
(11) Ranga Rao Ambati,1,* Phang Siew Moi,1 Sarada Ravi,2 and Ravishankar Gokare Aswathanarayana3 Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and Its Commercial Applications—A Review
(12) Mercke Odeberg J, Lignell A, Pettersson A, Höglund P. Oral bioavailability of the antioxidant astaxanthin in humans is enhanced by incorporation of lipid based formulations. Eur J Pharm Sci (2003) 19(4):299–304.
(13) Østerlie M, Bjerkeng B, Liaaen-Jensen S. Plasma appearance and distribution of astaxanthin E/Z and R/S isomers in plasma lipoproteins of men after single dose administration of astaxanthin. J Nutr Biochem (2000) 11(10):482–90.
(14) Okada Y, Ishikura M, Maoka T. Bioavailability of astaxanthin in Haematococcus algal extract: the effects of timing of diet and smoking habits. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem (2009) 73(9):1928–32.

Note from the eChlorial team
We would like to stress that the people interviewed or who testify on our blog do so in all sincerity without any conflict of interest.


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