Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Welcome to our big astaxanthin test 2022. Here we present all the astaxanthin preparations that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best astaxanthin for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy astaxanthin.




Summary

  • Astaxanthin is a natural pigment and is considered the strongest antioxidant in the world.
  • It is a popular dietary supplement in sports because it accelerates regeneration, reduces the formation of lactic acid in the muscle and thus increases endurance.
  • It is important to distinguish between natural and synthetic astaxanthin.

The Best Astaxanthin: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying astaxanthin

What is astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is an antioxidant and natural pigment that belongs to the carotenoids. It is mainly produced by freshwater algae and is reddish-purple in colour. This is where the red colour of crustaceans or salmon comes from, for example, as they consume the algae. Industrially, the dye is extracted from the so-called “blood rain algae” or Haematococcus pluvialis. Algae production takes place mainly in Hawaii and partly in Israel.

What are antioxidants and free radicals?

Free radicals are constantly formed in a natural process in our bodies and in all living organisms. They are aggressive molecules or reactive compounds found, for example, in polluted air, UV light and rancid fat.

Free radicals damage proteins, fats and the DNA of cells through oxidation. This accelerates the ageing of our bodies and diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can develop.

Antioxidants ensure that the free radicals are inhibited so that they cannot damage the body’s cells. The so-called antioxidants counteract this process. They defuse the free radicals and ensure that the body’s cells are not damaged by them. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that slow down or prevent oxidation. Besides astaxanthin, examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and resveratrol. You can find out which foods contain these antioxidants here:

Antioxidants Food
Vitamin E (tocopherols, tocotrienols) vegetable oils, raspberries, savoy cabbage, almonds
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) peppers, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, acerola, parsley, apple, fennel, papaya, blackcurrant, spinach
Carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene) Carrot, spinach, eggs, apricot, corn, tomato, pepper, mango, watermelon, pumpkin
Polyphenolic antioxidants (resveratrol, flavonoids) tea, coffee, soy, fruit, olive oil, cocoa, cinnamon, oregano, red wine, pomegranate

What can I take astaxanthin for?

Due to the above described effect as an antioxidant, astaxanthin keeps young and fit, protects the heart, curbs many diseases such as diabetes or asthma. It also strengthens vision and the immune system, has an anti-inflammatory effect, helps with infertility, ensures more extensive regeneration of the brain in the event of strokes and acts as a natural sunscreen against UV radiation from the inside. According to researchers, astaxanthin…

  • 6000 times stronger than vitamin C
  • 800 times stronger than CoQ10
  • 550 times stronger than catechins from green tea
  • 550 times stronger than vitamin E (alpha tocopherol)
  • 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid
  • 40 times stronger than beta carotene
  • 17 times stronger than OPC grape seed extract

…and thus the most powerful “radical scavenger”. However, it is important to note that many of the older studies so far have been conducted with animals and the effect on us humans may or may not be identical.

How does astaxanthin help me in connection with sports?

In a 2008 study, 40 college students were trained in fitness, strength/endurance and strength/explosiveness through standard exercises (such as squats) for six months. Half took only 4 mg of astaxanthin daily during this time, the other half of the students took a placebo. According to the researchers, athletic performance in the areas of fitness and strength/explosiveness did not improve significantly differently in the two groups.

For athletes and especially triathletes, astaxanthin is a popular and successful dietary supplement. (Image source: unsplash.com / Beau Runsten)

However, the improvement in strength/endurance with astaxanthin was 55%. The performance of the group that had taken astaxanthin for six months thus improved threefold compared to the group that took the placebo. Various other studies state that astaxanthin reduces the production of lactic acid in the muscles and thus muscle fatigue, strengthens vision, speeds up recovery after exercise and improves fat metabolism.

This makes astaxanthin a popular dietary supplement in fitness sports/bodybuilding, triathlon sports and competitive sports in general. In addition, in outdoor sports events, such as the Ironman or a marathon, there is the additional protection from the inside against UV radiation.

What foods contain astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is naturally contained in the following foods:

  • Algae
  • Salmon
  • Crabs
  • Prawns
  • Lobster
  • Trout
  • Red Bream
  • Caviar
  • Carrots
  • Red peppers
  • other vegetables and fruits with red pigementation

Red is trumps! The natural pigment not only ensures that vegetables and fruits are red, but also prevents free radicals from attacking our cells. (Image source: 123707636)

How do I dose astaxanthin and how long does it last?

Generally, an intake of 4-8 mg per day is recommended. A maximum dose that the body can absorb daily has not yet been determined.

Therefore, a dosage of 12 mg or more per day can also be taken.

Astaxanthin is accumulated in the body, so you should take it regularly or daily for at least 2 months to achieve your desired effect. For certain diseases or if you want to reduce inflammation, you can also start with a higher dose of e.g. 12 mg and then reduce it again after a certain time.

How do I take astaxanthin?

Since astaxanthin comes from the group of fat-soluble caratinoids, it is recommended to take astaxanthin with a meal to stimulate the metabolism. However, most products are available in the form of capsules. Here, the astaxanthin is already sealed together with an oil in a soft capsule. This means that you can take these preparations completely independently of your meals.

Most preparations are available in the form of liquid capsules. The oil contained in these capsules allows fat-soluble substances to work better and faster. But normal capsules and even powder are also available. (Picture source: 123rf.com / 106457612)

Negative interactions with other dietary supplements or foods have not been found in any studies so far.

Therefore, you can safely take astaxanthin together with other supplements.

However, some preparations contain active ingredients derived from crustaceans instead of algae alone, so allergy sufferers should pay close attention to the composition.

Is there a vegetarian or vegan version of astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is naturally found in algae, carrots, red peppers and other vegetables and fruits with a red colour. The food supplements are also mostly vegan, as astaxanthin is extracted from the algae for this purpose. Most astaxanthin supplements are vegan because the substance is extracted from freshwater algae. As mentioned above, there are also preparations in which the substance is extracted from crustaceans.

In addition, the products are usually offered as capsules. Here, many of the capsule shells are made from bovine gelatine. However, there are also manufacturers who offer 100% vegetarian capsules. These are produced from vegetable cellulose and with a beeswax coating. Therefore, you should always pay attention to the exact composition of such food supplements.

Not every available supplement is made from algae only. Crustaceans, lobsters, crabs and the like also contain astaxanthin through their diet. This is also where the red colouring comes from. (Image source: unsplash.com / Jim Strasma)

What does astaxanthin cost?

You can buy astaxanthin as a dietary supplement for less than 10 euros and, depending on the quality, dose and number of capsules, up to about 150 euros. A commercial tin with 60-120 capsules and a dose of 4-12 mg or even 18 mg is usually available for 20 to 35 euros. In the following, we have graphically presented a price analysis and looked at just over 1000 products in the field of dietary supplements.

What are the alternatives to astaxanthin?

OPC

The antioxidant OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) belongs to the group of polyphenols and is found in grape seeds and in the skin of red grapes. It is also found in peanuts, cranberries and blueberries. OPC also binds free radicals and is thus said to protect against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and skin ageing. As with astaxanthin, no maximum dosage recommendation can be given. There are no studies that clearly prove that it prevents the above diseases or improves diabetes and blood vessels.

Beta-carotene

Another carotenoid and natural colourant is beta-carotene. It is said to have a weaker effect than astaxanthin, but has the same anti-oxidant properties. The ceratonoid beta-carotene also provides additional internal protection against UV radiation.

However, caution is advised! In the meantime, the additional intake of beta-carotene is no longer recommended, as many foods naturally contain the dye or many foods are enriched with it. According to consumer protection, a daily amount of 15 mg is considered safe. However, natural beta-carotene, e.g. from carrots, does not pose a problem and is not included in the daily dose.

Did you know that especially for smokers, beta-carotene as a food supplement is even said to be harmful and to increase the risk of lung cancer? Further research, for example with regard to risk groups such as asthmatics, is still pending.

Decision: What types of astaxanthin are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy astaxanthin, you can choose between the following two types:

  • Natural astaxanthin
  • Synthetic astaxanthin

To help you decide, we’ll introduce you to both types and weigh up the pros and cons of each.

What is natural astaxanthin and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Natural astaxanthin is either extracted directly from the blood algae or from e.g. crustaceans or salmon that feed on these algae. Natural astaxanthin has the highest antioxidant potential and also works better because the algae also naturally provides other antioxidants/nutrients. Food supplements for us humans normally contain the natural astaxanthin.

Advantages
  • Derived from nature
  • Vegan/vegetarian available
  • Better effect through natural combination with other antioxidants
Disadvantages
  • Cultivation and production of the alga often in Hawaii or Israel

What are the advantages and disadvantages of synthetic astaxanthin?

Synthetic astaxanthin is produced either from a genetically modified yeast fungus (Phaffia rhodozyma) or in a complex process from petroleum. Synthetic astaxanthin is the most widely produced and sold in the world today, but it is in the form of fish food and not for humans. If we buy a salmon to eat, it usually does not get its colour from the natural diet of freshwater algae. These animals are usually fed the synthetic astaxanthin. If it says on the packaging that it has been fed with microalgae and thus high-quality astaxanthin, in most cases it is the astaxanthin from genetically modified yeast fungus. This is significantly cheaper.

Advantages
  • Less expensive
  • No transport from Hawaii necessary
Disadvantages
  • Not as effective
  • Made from petroleum
  • Not natural

Buying criteria: These factors can be used to compare and evaluate astaxanthin products

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate astaxanthin preparations. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular astaxanthin preparation is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Dosage
  • Composition & Quality

Dosage

As mentioned above, a dosage of 4-8 mg is recommended. You can also buy astaxanthin in high doses of 12 mg. Depending on the effect you want to achieve or if you have a painful inflammation, you can use a product with 12 mg and then reduce the dose after a while. If you are not a competitive athlete, you can achieve a very good effect with 4 mg daily, as the above-mentioned study showed.

Composition & quality

Another important criterion for you can be the composition of the astaxanthin.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you have to make sure that the astaxanthin in the respective product is only extracted from algae and not from crustaceans.

It also makes sense to concentrate on products with natural astaxanthin instead of synthetic preparations. Furthermore, the astaxanthin should not contain any additives, lactose, gluten or other substances.

Facts worth knowing about astaxanthin

What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress means an increased attack of damaging free radicals. This means that the necessary balance between oxidative substances (free radicals) and antioxidative substances in the body is no longer given.

A dysbalance develops, which leads to the fact that the free radicals are no longer slowed down and can increasingly attack our body cells.

This leads, for example, to faster skin ageing and various diseases can be promoted. To counteract this imbalance, you should eat a balanced and healthy diet and can also take a food supplement such as astaxanthin to support the antioxidants in food.

Image source: 123rf.com / 106457612

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