How Does Astaxanthin Occur in Nature?
Astaxanthin is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. It is a dark red carotenoid abundant in aquatic animals such as salmon, crab, and crustaceans.
Haematococcus pluvialis (H. pluvialis), a fresh water algae, is the richest source of astaxanthin in nature. It can accumulate up to 50 grams of astaxanthin per kilogram of dry biomass under environmental stress.
Other natural sources of astaxanthin are bacteria and fungi. Animals, such as salmon, lobster, shrimp and trout, acquire astaxanthin by consuming mainly algae directly or via other marine creatures. Since humans and other mammals cannot synthesize astaxanthin they consume this potent antioxidant from seafood or a dietary supplement.
Natural astaxanthin produced from various commercial sources differ in many parameters such as chemical characteristics, bioavailability and metabolism. The majority safety and efficacy studies were conducted with the 3S 3’S isomer of H. pluvialis algae and this algae is the primary natural source of astaxanthin for human consumption. It is also widely approved by most of the regulatory authorities.