Astaxanthin is a carotenoid and is one of the strongest radical scavengers, so-called antioxidants, which nature offers us. Tocopherols and related carotenoids . It is a relatively unknown carotenoid formed by plankton, algae and some plants, moulds and bacteria that protect themselves from the harmful effects of sunlight and oxygen. The highest concentration of astaxanthin occurs in the green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis.
From these sources, the substance enters the food chain. Very effective antioxidant astaxanthin is one of the most effective antioxidants and radical scavengers nature has to offer. Embedded in the cellular membranes, the fat-soluble material phospholipids and other lipids provide excellent protection against peroxidation. One of the causes is that the astaxanthin molecule – unlike other carotenoids and vitamin E – extends through the entire lipid bilayer and protects both the inside and the outside of the membrane.
In addition, astaxanthin can transfer free radicals trapped in the membrane to the polar side of the cell and thus the water-soluble antioxidants such as in vitro and ex vivo studies have shown that the substance is up to 500 times more effective than vitamin E in capturing free radicals and 40 times more effective than beta carotene. The researchers suspect that astaxanthin slows down the aging of cells and tissues even more effectively than other carotenoids and vitamin E and helps to protect against degenerative diseases in which oxidative stress and inflammatory processes play an important role. These include arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, degenerative eye, skin and brain diseases, rheumatism, diabetes and cancer.