The ketocarotenoid astaxanthin can be found in the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, Chlorella zofingiensis, and Chlorococcum sp., and the red yeast Phaffia rhodozyma. The microalga H. pluvialis has the highest capacity to accumulate astaxanthin up to 4-5% of cell dry weight. Astaxanthin has been attributed with extraordinary potential for protecting the organism against a wide range of diseases, and has considerable potential and promising applications in human health. Numerous studies have shown that astaxanthin has potential health-promoting effects in the prevention and treatment of various diseases, such as cancers, chronic inflammatory diseases, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, liver diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, eye diseases, skin diseases, exercise-induced fatigue, male infertility, and HgCl₂-induced acute renal failure. In this article, the currently available scientific literature regarding the most significant activities of astaxanthin is reviewed.
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