Natural Sources of Astaxanthin
The natural sources of astaxanthin are algae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp and crayfish. Astaxanthin from various microorganism sources are presented in Table 1. The commercial astaxanthin is mainly from Phaffia yeast, Haematococcus and through chemical synthesis. Haematococcus pluvialis is one of the best sources of natural astaxanthin [17,18,19,20]. Astaxanthin content in wild and farmed salmonids are shown in Figure 1.
Among the wild salmonids, the maximum astaxanthin content in wild Oncorhynchus species was reported in the range of 26–38 mg/kg flesh in sockeye salmon whereas low astaxanthin content was reported in chum . Astaxanthin content in farmed Atlantic salmon was reported as 6–8 mg/kg flesh. Astaxanthin is available in the European (6 mg/kg flesh) and Japanese market (25 mg/kg flesh) from large trout. Shrimp, crab and salmon can serve as dietary sources of astaxanthin . Wild caught salmon is a good source of astaxanthin.
In order to get 3.6 mg of astaxanthin one can eat 165 grams of salmon per day. Astaxanthin supplement at 3.6 mg per day can be beneficial to health as reported by Iwamoto et al.
Microorganism sources of astaxanthin.
|Sources||Astaxanthin (%) on the Dry Weight Basis|
|Haematococcus pluvialis (K-0084)||3.8|
|Haematococcus pluvialis (Local isolation)||3.6|
|Haematococcus pluvialis (AQSE002)||3.4|
|Haematococcus pluvialis (K-0084)||2.7|
|Paracoccus carotinifaciens (NITE SD 00017)||2.2|
|Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous (JH)||0.5|
|Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous (VKPM Y2476)||0.5|
|Thraustochytrium sp. CHN-3 (FERM P-18556)||0.2|
Astaxanthin As An Antioxidant
Astaxanthin has been found to have more antioxidant power than beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, and vitamin C
Antioxidants fight oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals that seek to harm your heart, brain, joints, skin, eyes, and stamina
Best Sources For Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is responsible for the red-pinkish hue of salmon, red trout, lobster, crab, shrimp, and more
At your supermarket, the highest natural level of astaxanthin is found in wild Pacific sockeye salmon
Astaxanthin In Krill Oil
Krill Oil is a great source of astaxanthin, while also containing Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA
Astaxanthin helps to stabilize DHA and EPA, making it more bioavailable to humans
In turn, Omega-3 fatty acids deliver benefits to your heart and brain
The Best Sources For Astaxanthin
How can you get all the astaxanthin you need in order to reap the benefits? Astaxanthin, like other carotenoids, delivers pigment colors along with support for good health—but astaxanthin has been dubbed the “king of carotenoids,” and as such imbues a vibrant red-pinkish hue to an array of marine life. Astaxanthin even helps salmon to become skillful swimmers, giving the fish the energy they need to swim upstream.
Most of those natural sources of astaxanthin can be found at your local grocery store, including sockeye salmon, red trout, lobster, shrimp, crawfish, crab, salmon roe, and red sea bream. Of those proteins, astaxanthin is found in its highest concentration in wild Pacific sockeye salmon, which contains 26-38 mg of astaxanthin compared to 6-8 mg in farmed Atlantic salmon. The reason for this disparity is that wild marine life consumes the truest form of astaxanthin—microalgae. Whereas farmed fish mainly consume commercially made food additives that contain synthetic astaxanthin.
So clearly the lesson here is to purchase wild salmon when available, especially if you want a more robust dose of astaxanthin. But even if you were to eat exclusively wild salmon, you would need to consume about 6 ounces (165 grams) daily in order to get a 3.6 mg dose of astaxanthin, the amount that studies show you need in order to see any true benefits. Now the question becomes, if salmon isn’t the absolute best source for astaxanthin, what is?
Astaxanthin Rich Vegetarian Foods
|Amount of Astaxanthin In Salmon & Salmonoids|
|type||mg of astaxanthin per kg of flesh||mg of astaxanthin in 3 ounce serving size|
|1.||Wild Sockeye Salmon||38||3.2|
|2.||Farmed Rainbow Trout||25||2.1|
|3.||Wild Coho Salmon||21||1.8|
|4.||Farmed Atlantic Salmon||9||0.8|
|5.||Wild Arctic Char||8.5||0.7|
|6.||Farmed Arctic Char||8||0.7|
|7.||Wild Pink Salmon||7.5||0.6|
|Food||Astaxanthin Concentration (ppm)|
|13.||Arctic Shrimp (Pandalus borealis)||1,200|
|14.||Phaffia Yeast (Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous)||10,000|
|15.||Green Algae (Haematococcus pluvialis)||40,000|
19. Shrimp (warm water varieties)
20. Red snapper
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