Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family that is found abundantly in marine organisms, and has been gaining attention in recent years due to its varied biological/physiological activities. It has been reported that astaxanthin functions both as a pigment, and as an antioxidant with superior free radical quenching capacity. We recently reported that astaxanthin modulated mitochondrial functions by a novel mechanism independent of its antioxidant function. In this paper, we review astaxanthin's well-known antioxidant activity, and expand on astaxanthin's lesser-known molecular targets, and its role in mitochondrial energy metabolism.
Keywords: AMPK; astaxanthin; energy metabolisms; insulin resistance; mitochondria; natural antioxidant; obesity.