Astaxanthin, a carotenoid with potential in human health and nutrition

J Nat Prod. 2006 Mar;69(3):443-9. doi: 10.1021/np050354+.


Astaxanthin (1), a red-orange carotenoid pigment, is a powerful biological antioxidant that occurs naturally in a wide variety of living organisms. The potent antioxidant property of 1 has been implicated in its various biological activities demonstrated in both experimental animals and clinical studies. Compound 1 has considerable potential and promising applications in human health and nutrition. In this review, the recent scientific literature (from 2002 to 2005) is covered on the most significant activities of 1, including its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, its effects on cancer, diabetes, the immune system, and ocular health, and other related aspects. We also discuss the green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, the richest source of natural 1, and its utilization in the promotion of human health, including the antihypertensive and neuroprotective potentials of 1, emphasizing our experimental data on the effects of dietary astaxanthin on blood pressure, stroke, and vascular dementia in animal models, is described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Antioxidants*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Health
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Xanthophylls


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine