Astaxanthin has a significant protective role in nature
Astaxanthin is the red pigment that accumulates in some of the commonly eaten seafood, such as lobster, salmon, trout, red sea bream, shrimp and crayfish. But its role goes beyond simply coloring things in nature – it is a vital nutrient for many of nature’s creatures.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, the same family of molecules found in carrots, tomatoes and other colorful fruit. In fact, it the most abundant carotenoid pigment found in aquatic animals and the marine world. Single-cell microalgae plants occupy the very bottom of the food chain, combining organic materials with sunlight to produce the vast majority of living material on the planet. Haematococcus pluvialis is one of these, and the richest source of astaxanthin.
What does astaxanthin do in nature?
• Astaxanthin protects the highly concentrated polyunsaturated fatty acids found in membrane cells and muscles in salmon. These fats are the main energy powerhouse that enables salmon to accomplish their well-known upstream marathon to spawn. Salmon muscles contain the highest concentration of astaxanthin in the animal kingdom.
• Astaxanthin is an excellent antioxidant, scavenging free radicals and thus slowing or eliminating the process of oxidation in animals’ (and humans’) bodies.
• Astaxanthin protects marine creatures such as Antarctic krill, as well as the phytoplankton on which the krill feed (and human skin), against UV light damage.
• In fish, astaxanthin is believed to have a synergistic effect on other important antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E.