A Happy Senior Couple

Astaxanthin for Healthy Aging

Research has shown astaxanthin’s health benefits to heart, skin, immune, cognitive and eye health, all of which are common aging aliments.

By Tryggvi Stefánsson


Aging is generally accompanied by a reduction in cellular energy production, and increased free radical production. This leads to an overloading of defense systems and oxidative damage.1

Studies demonstrate natural astaxanthin is 6,000 times more powerful than vitamin C, 770 times more powerful than coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), 100 times more powerful than vitamin E, and five times more powerful than β-carotene in trapping energy from singlet oxygen, one of the most common reactive oxygen species (ROS) found in the body.2

A naturally cultivated form of astaxanthin is produced from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. Natural astaxanthin is regarded as superior due to its strength, which is 50 times stronger than synthetically produced astaxanthin.3

Science validated the significant benefits of astaxanthin supplementation for healthy aging. This carotenoid provides support for heart, skin, immune, brain and eye health.

Astaxanthin supports cardiovascular health by improving blood lipid profiles in healthy seniors. It has a protective effect against cholesterol and triglyceride oxidation.4,5,6 Astaxanthin also helps boost mitochondrial energy delivery, which helps the heart muscle contract more powerfully and efficiently.7

Astaxanthin supports normal healthy skin by improving skin elasticity and moisture, and reducing wrinkle formation.8,9 Human studies showed 6 mg/d of astaxanthin for six to eight weeks may reduce wrinkles, water loss and age spots. Astaxanthin also improved elasticity, moisture content and texture of the skin, and the effects seem to be enhanced when combined with the application of astaxanthin topically.8

Studies demonstrated astaxanthin helped balance the immune system and helped suppress overactive immune responses that can create inflammation.10

Astaxanthin helped improve cognitive function in healthy, aged individuals. A human trial that evaluated astaxanthin supplementation with a 12 mg daily dose for 12 weeks, suggested astaxanthin may help protect against age-related cognitive decline.11 Another study demonstrated daily supplementation with 12 mg of astaxanthin improved cognitive health and learning scores in healthy middle-aged and elderly subjects with age-related forgetfulness.12

Astaxanthin helped support eye health, and protected the eyes by reducing oxidative damage and improving blood flow in capillaries.13,14,15 Studies of individuals with age-related macular degeneration have demonstrated significant improvements in retinal health when given astaxanthin and other carotenoids.16

Learn more about astaxanthin and other healthy aging nutrients in INSIDER’s Healthy Aging Digital Magazine.

Tryggvi Stefánsson, Ph.D., science manager, Algalif, earned his doctorate degree in microbiology and genetics from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich in Switzerland. He joined Algalif in early 2014 and since 2015, has led the company’s research and development and Scale-up department as science manager. Among other things, Stefánsson’s department oversees the optimization of cultivation parameters.


1.       Shigenaga M, Hagen T, Ames B. “Oxidative damage and mitochondrial decay in aging.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Nov 8;91(23):10771-8.

2.       Nita M, Grzybowski A. “The Role of the Reactive Oxygen Species and Oxidative Stress in the Pathomechanism of the Age-Related Ocular Diseases and Other Pathologies of the Anterior and Posterior Eye Segments in Adults.” Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016;2016:3164734. DOI: 10.1155/2016/3164734.

3.       Kim YK, Chyun JH. “The Effects of Astaxanthin Supplements on Lipid Peroxidation and Antioxidant Status in Postmenopausal Women.” Nutritional Sciences 2004;7:41-46.

4.       Katagiri M et al. “Effects of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2012 Sep;51(2):102-7. DOI: 10.3164/jcbn.11-00017.

5.       Levin B. “The oxidative origins of arthritis.” Nutr Sci News. 1997;2(12):598-604.

6.       Rinnerthaler M et al. “Oxidative stress in aging human skin.” Biomolecules. 2015 Apr 21;5(2):545-89. DOI: 10.3390/biom5020545.

7.       Nishida Y, Yamashita E, Miki W. “Quenching activities of common hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidants against singlet oxygen using chemiluminescence detection system.” Carotenoid Science. 2007;11:16–20.

8.       Capelli B., Bagchi D, Cysewski G. “Synthetic Astaxanthin is significantly inferior to algal-based Astaxanthin as an antioxidant and may not be suitable as a human nutritional supplement.” NutraFoods. 2013;12:145-52.

9.       Nakagawa K et al. “Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes.” Br J Nutr. 2011;105:1563-71.

10.   Yoshida H et al. “Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia.” Atherosclerosis. 2010 Apr;209(2):520-3. DOI: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.10.012.

11.   Nakao R et al. “Effect of astaxanthin supplementation on inflammation and cardiac function in BALB/c mice.” Anticancer Res. 2010 Jul;30(7):2721-5.

12.   Yoon H et al.” Supplementating with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo.” J Med Food. 2014 Jul;17(7):810-6. DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2013.3060.

13.   Tominaga K et al. “Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects.” Acta Biochim Pol. 2012;59(1):43-7.

14.   Chew B, Park J. “Carotenoid action on the immune response.” J Nutr. 2004 Jan;134(1):257S-261S.

15.   Satoh A et al. “Preliminary Clinical Evaluation of Toxicity and Efficacy of A New Astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis Extract.” J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2009 May;44(3):280-4. DOI: 10.3164/jcbn.08-238.

16.   Katagiri M et al. “Effects of astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract on cognitive function: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2012 Sep;51(2):102-7. DOI: 10.3164/jcbn.11-00017.

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