Astaxanthin: A mechanistic review on its biological activities and health benefits

Pharmacol Res. 2018 Oct;136:1-20. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2018.08.012. Epub 2018 Aug 17.


Astaxanthin (AST) is a potent lipid-soluble keto-carotenoid with auspicious effects on human health. It protects organisms against a wide range of diseases with excellent safety and tolerability. Various imperative biological activities in vitro and in vivo models have been suggested for AST. This review article is focused on the therapeutic potentials, biological activities and benefical health effects of AST. The pharmacological mechanisms of action of AST in the treatment and prevention of the peripheral and central nervous system diseases was also reviewed to provide new insights to researchers. Finally, we suggested a novel hypothesis for the mechanism of action of AST in neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury.

Keywords: Alpha-Tocopherol (PubChem CID: 14985); Astaxanthin; Astaxanthin (PubChem CID: 5368397); Azoxymethane (PubChem CID: 33184); Beta-Carotene (PubChem CID: 5280489); Beta-Cryptoxanthin (PubChem CID: 5281235); Biological activities; Canthaxanthin (PubChem CID: 5281227); Health benefits; Lutein (PubChem CID: 5281243); Pharmacology; Zeaxanthin (PubChem CID: 5280899).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology
  • Xanthophylls / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine