Astaxanthin: focus on one of the most potent natural antioxidants

June 15, 2021

Astaxanthin is one of the most sought-after antioxidant supplements these days. This super ingredient occurs naturally in certain algae and once extracted, it has a major impact on the human body. In fact, it’s been linked to a myriad of health benefits.

Let’s take a deep dive into the wonders of the scientific world…

Staying healthy has everything to do with balance. Including the balance between free radicals and antioxidants circulating throughout our bodies. However, this balance may be altered by environmental factors like pollution, stress, alcohol or poor lifestyle habits.

So, what are the consequences for us?

Immediate response: our bodies go into oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an excess of free radicals in the body’s cells. It may become detrimental to the body as it may damage cells, proteins, and DNA, all of which may contribute to premature and accelerated aging. The immune system is then weakened, paving way for the onset of many chronic diseases.

Luckily for us, nature works wonders. Haematococcus pluvialis is a microalgae that produces lots of astaxanthin….which happens to be one of the most potent natural antioxidants known to man.


20 years, 100 clinical studies and 500 pre-clinical studies later, scientific results are in and they’re clear-cut [1] : astaxanthin has an outstanding capacity to trap singlet oxygen (aka a molecule that oxidizes various important biological molecules in our body).

So, just how powerful is it?

  • Astaxanthin is 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C;
  • Astaxanthin is 800 times stronger than coenzyme Q10;
  • Astaxanthin is 550 times more effective than vitamin E;

These staggering numbers made it one of the most effective natural antioxidants for mankind, a trump card for a range of health applications.


In nutraceuticals, astaxanthin has many proven health benefits, especially on [2]:

  • vision and eye health;
  • cognitive function and brain health,
  • the immune system;
  • the cardiovascular system;

In sports nutrition, astaxanthin has an array of powerful anti-inflammatory benefits for individuals suffering from chronic diseases, but also for young, healthy, gym rats. It reduces joint, tendon and muscle pain. [3]

In nutricosmetic, the benefits of astaxanthin have been demonstrated on the skin (appearance, overall health) as it protects against UV rays. [4]

And the list goes on…


Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that belongs to the xanthophyll family. Its molecular structure keeps free radicals in check with very unique features: 

  • The lipophilic polyene chain makes it oil-soluble and fat-soluble
  • It acts upon cell membranes through its hydrophilic ends

The outcomes? Astaxanthin captures free radicals inside and outside the lipid bilayer of the human body membranes.

How? By penetrating and passing right through them. Astaxanthin acts as a “wall pass” that crosses the blood-brain and blood-retina barriers to release its power.


None of this would have been possible without Haematococcus pluvialis, a green, eukaryotic, unicellular microalgae that occurs naturally in the fresh waters of temperate regions, on every continent. It produces astaxanthin when found in stressful environments, such as those induced by a lack of nutrients or an excess of temperature or light.

Disrupted, its cell goes through adaptive biochemical and morphological changes: it then accumulates carotenoids to ensure its survival. The Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae grows and produces astaxanthin which will then change its color, from green to dark red.That’s when this extraordinary antioxidant unleashes its super powers and protect the microalgae’s DNA from UV rays and its cells from various oxidative stresses.

In addition, it serves as an internal nutrient reserve readily available when growing conditions resume. Quite magical!


As an expert in bioactive ingredients from microalgae, Microphyt is very familiar with all the benefits of Haematococcus pluvialis. Microphyt extracts the astaxanthin pigment by creating optimal growing conditions for Haematococcus pluvialis through patented, state-of-the-art technologies. Microphyt packed all the powers of this super antioxidant in the AstaPAK range, available in various options (powder, oleoresin, softgels) to meet the consumers ever-growing demand for safe and science-based natural products. To find out more about our products, contact us by clicking here!

[1] Zhang et al., 2016.

[2] Sawaki et al., 2002; Nakamura et al., 2004 ; Saito et al., 2012; Yasunori et al., 2005.

[3] Baralic et al., 2015 ; Spiller et al., 2006 ; Fry, 2001 ; Nir and Spiller, 2002.

[4] Yamashita, 2006 ; Lorenz, 2002 ; Tominaga et al., 2017.