global astaxanthin market size in 2022
Demand for astaxanthin (in everything from nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and food & beverage to pharmaceuticals, aquaculture, and animal feed) is soaring, according to Grand View Research. The global astaxanthin market size was valued at $1.9 billion in 2022, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.2% from 2023 to 2030.
In the research arena, astaxanthin “has attracted considerable attention owing to its unique molecular structure and excellent antioxidant properties,” report researchers in Food Chemistry. Registered dietitian nutritionist and NOW expert Dawn Jackson Blatner also touts the benefits of astaxanthin. In Is Astaxanthin the Next Big Trend? Here’s What You Need to Know, she says, “Scientists have been able to link the consumption of astaxanthin in sufficient amounts to improving skin and muscle health, enhancing eye health and immunity, and supporting healthy aging.” Read on for recent findings.
In Astaxanthin Benefits for Eye Health: An Antioxidant You Need (But Probably Can’t Pronounce), Lindsey Toth, MS, RD, Swanson Health, explains: “Exercise is amazing for our bodies and overall wellbeing, but the bodies of athletes and regular exercisers are exposed to a lot of oxidative stress. Astaxanthin may help fight exercise-induced oxidative damage, as well as combat exercise fatigue and positively affect endurance.”
Research supports this. “Astaxanthin might help increase endurance, boost physical stamina and reduce fatigue levels during and after intensive exercises,” according to findings published in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. Several studies have shown that “astaxanthin can help encourage the body to use its own reserve of fats. This not only helps boost endurance, but also reduces the risk of skeletal and muscle damage.” In a study published in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, researchers reported, “Preemptive nutritional supplementation is a promising avenue for exercise science research as a way of improving physiological resilience in preparation for an anticipated exposure to adverse conditions and to strenuous efforts. Long-term supplementation of 12 mg\daily astaxanthin contributed to improved aerobic recovery…exercise recovery of oxygen uptake was improved in the astaxanthin group post-supplementation.”
Additional human clinical trials demonstrate the variety of ways that astaxanthin from algae can help athletes and active people. “A study looked at the effect of Astaxanthin supplementation on 40 young elite soccer players in Europe. The study was randomized and placebo-controlled; it spanned 90 days of supplementation with 4mg of astaxanthin per day for the treatment group. Results showed significant improvements in those taking astaxanthin in inflammation levels, immune system function and—most importantly for athletes—in muscle recuperation,” explained Bob Capelli and Lixin Ding, Ph.D., in 12 Ways Astaxanthin Can Help Athletes and Active People: The Athlete’s Dozen. “The researchers concluded that Astaxanthin ‘attenuates muscle damage, thus preventing inflammation induced by rigorous physical training.’” They hypothesized that the mechanism of action may be that astaxanthin “protects the cell membranes against free radicals generated during heavy exercise, thus preserving the functionality of muscle cells.”
In Consume More Carotenoids for Improved Skin and Eye Health, Jillian Levy, CHHC, writes, ”Astaxanthin is a carotenoid with a natural pigment found in a variety of foods. Its vibrant red-orange color exists in foods like krill, algae, salmon and lobster. It can also be found in supplement form and is also approved for use as a food coloring in animal and fish feed. Carotenoids, along with active vitamin A, help prevent premature skin damage and skin cancer. Diets high in carotenoids are beneficial for preventing UV light damage, which can lead to melanoma, aged-looking skin, wrinkles, drying, scaling and follicular thickening of the skin.”
A study published in The Journal of the Polish Biochemical Society verified that astaxanthin plays a role in reducing age spots, smoothing wrinkles, and helping to restore skin moisture, as well as protecting against sun damage. And in a study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers reported, “[Astaxanthin] has attracted considerable interest because of its potential pharmacological effects, including anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities as well as neuro-, cardiovascular, ocular, and skin-protective effects. In particular, [astaxanthin] has been reported to exhibit multiple biological activities to preserve skin health and achieve effective skin cancer chemoprevention.”
Further, researchers describe, “The effects of [astaxanthin] on hyperpigmentation suppression, melanin synthesis and photoaging inhibition, and wrinkle formation reduction have been reported in clinical studies.” Researchers concluded, “Significant improvements as a deep impact were observed in skin wrinkle, age spot size, elasticity, skin texture, moisture content of corneocyte layer and corneocyte condition.” In male subjects: “Significant improvements were observed in wrinkle and elasticity of crow’s feet at week-6 compared to start. Tendencies of improvement in moisture content and sebum oil at cheek were also observed. Astaxanthin supplementation exhibited cosmetic benefits in not only female, but male subjects.”
In addition, researchers reporting in Food Chemistry wrote: “[Astaxanthin allows for] excellent antioxidant properties across the entire bilayer, as well as other beneficial biological properties related to oxidative damage, such as anti-aging, anti-inflammation, immuno-modulation, anticancer, lipid-lowering and anti-diabetes effects. In particular, astaxanthin can cross the blood–brain barrier, allowing for subsequent improvement in neurological function. As the human body cannot synthesize astaxanthin, humans can only obtain it by consuming seafood that collects astaxanthin owing to their place in the food chain. This is because these primary producers are consumed for either food or dietary supplement. Given these benefits, the demand for astaxanthin to benefit human health has been annually increasing.”
“Astaxanthin targets an organelle in the eye unaddressed by other eye nutrients out there, and that is the mitochondria,” says Scientific Affairs Manager at AstaReal, Dr. Karen Hecht, in an interview with Dr. Michael P. Lange O.D., C.N.S., in Why Your Eyes Need Astaxanthin. “It localizes in the mitochondria membrane,” Dr. Hecht explains. “Astaxanthin is positioned right at the source where free radicals show up to help produce mitochondria and energy production in the eye. The second way is improving blood flow and the third way is its anti-inflammatory properties for the eye.”
In a Japanese study of 35 patients undergoing cataract surgery, two weeks of astaxanthin intake at 6 mg per day, “boosted superoxide scavenging activity while suppressing the production of cell-damaging compounds in the eye.” Therefore, researchers suggest astaxanthin can suppress the onset of multiple oxidative stress-related diseases. Studies in patients dealing with age-related macular degeneration show that the vascular layers of the eye decreased. Clinical studies showed that taking astaxanthin helped improve circulation in the capillaries of these vascular layers of the eyes and may slow the course of vision-destroying diseases of the eye.
“Studies are beginning to show that the benefits of astaxanthin may extend to heart health by supporting healthy cholesterol levels as well as triglyceride levels,” writes Naomi Whittel in 6 Incredible Astaxanthin Benefits For Your Health. “Certain animal studies have shown that astaxanthin benefits may extend to supporting healthy blood pressure levels as well. The mechanism of action is thought to be through astaxanthin’s ability to help reduce nitric oxide end products.”
In the Journal of Functional Foods, researchers reported: “Astaxanthin supplementation could have decreasing effect on blood pressure, especially diastolic blood pressure. This decrease was notable in trials with a dose of 12 mg/d or more astaxanthin supplementation, in non-healthy individuals and in participants from Asian countries. Astaxanthin administration could be used as a beneficial adjuvant therapy for hypertension especially in participants from Asian societies and non-healthy individuals.”
Naomi Whittel explains, “Astaxanthin may deserve a spot in your health routine during cold and flu season due to its immune-modulating activity. Research has shown that this powerful antioxidant can influence key biomarkers associated with human immune responses and possibly even help intervene in the overproduction of potentially harmful cytokines.”
A study published in the journal Foods investigated the effect of astaxanthin on the immune function on mice and reported, “In the aspect of humoral immunity, astaxanthin can increase the level of serum hemolysin and promote the production of antibodies.” WF