However, animal feeds, particularly salmon farm feeds, often contain the synthetic version of the nutrient so it is not necessarily beneficial to eat such animal products as a strategy for boosting astaxanthin consumption.
A good quality astaxanthin supplement would be derived from marine microalgae, rather than grown synthetically on fungus, and would have been manufactured using a hexanefree process providing a minimum of 4mg per tablet.
Astaxanthin supplements should betaken with a little fat for better absorption, as is with betacarotene supplements, and should not be taken alongside medications or supplements that block fat absorption.
Astaxanthin is a strong anti-inflammatory which blocks COX2 enzymes but which does not have the side-effects associated with prescriptions pain medications, such as indigestion and heartburn. It can help with painful arthritis, menstrual cramps, and even as a supplement to help when headaches strike.
Astaxanthin is also able to help retinal cells fight off free radical damage and, therefore, combat macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and simple eye strain and vision decline.
Supplements for the skin should almost certainly contain astaxanthin as this antioxidant acts like a sunscreen from the inside out, protecting cells from ultravioletA radiation. Anyone prone to sunburn or who has freckles, skin spots from ageing or who spends a lot of time in the sun may wish to include this supplement in their daily regime.
In the future it may be that functional foods can provide all the astaxanthin we need as research has found that tomatoes produce vast amounts of astaxanthin, doing away with the need for supplements to get the health benefits of this powerful antioxidant.