What is Astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoids family. These molecules are associated with many of the colours you see in leaves, flowers and fruit. They are one of the most abundant molecules in the world and give nature its wide variety of colours.

Carotenoids have a long structure called the polyene system and may also have ring groups at one or either end.

Where is it found?

Astaxanthin is found in crustaceans, fish (especially wild fish), and other animals and vegetables that feature a reddish colour. The differences in the polyene and ring structures are what vary the carotenoid and their corresponding colour due to different light absorbencies. Astaxanthin is a red pigment and the predominant carotenoid of most crustacean species. In crustaceans, it is surrounded by a protein and released by heat – this is why shrimp and lobsters turn red when cooked.

The astaxanthin found in the flesh of salmon, particularly wild salmon, enables them to swim upstream to locations more conducive to their reproduction – without it; they would be unable to accomplish this impressive feat. When astaxanthin binds to a different protein, it can appear green, yellow, blue or brown.

Astaxanthin is also present in large quantities in the algae Haematococcus Pluvialis which is responsible for the reddish colour of the fish that consume it.

Synthetic astaxanthin is produced chemically as well, although it is generally less preferred than astaxanthin from natural sources.

Benefits of Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin boosts the health of joints, skin, and the vascular system in fish as well as humans. It is also one of the only antioxidants that can cross both the blood-brain barrier and the blood-retinal barrier – allowing both the brain and the eyes to enjoy its benefits.

All fish internal organs are receptive to it as well.

The supreme antioxidant property of astaxanthin reveals its tremendous potential to offer manifold health benefits among aquatic animals which is a key driving factor triggering the upsurge in global demand for the pigment. Numerous scientific researches devoted over a number of years have persistently demonstrated the instrumental role of astaxanthin in targeting several animal health conditions. Most apparent is the profound effect on pigmentation, where astaxanthin is frequently utilized as an additive in formulated diets to boost and improve the colouration of many aquatic animal species.

Moreover, the wide range of other physiological benefits that this biological pigment confers to these animals is also presented which include various improvements in survival, growth performance, reproductive capacity, stress tolerance, disease resistance and immune‐ related gene expression.

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