asenka Piljac Zegarac writes in nutritionaloutlook.com that the health-promoting properties of astaxanthin, the red, fat-soluble pigment found in freshwater microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, continue to intrigue health-savvy consumers worldwide. According to a 2015 report from Research and Markets, the global market for synthetic and naturally derived astaxanthin is projected to reach $1.1 billion by 2020. With applications in the antiaging, nutraceutical, cosmetics, and food and beverage sectors, astaxanthin has cast a wide net on the natural ingredient market.
The interest in astaxanthin is fueled by an increasing number of research studies looking at its in vitro and in vivo effects. Until now, astaxanthin has been attributed a range of biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory effects, as well as anti-diabetic, anticancer, and cardio-protective properties. It is considered one of the most potent natural antioxidants.
“Natural astaxanthin is 20–90 times stronger than all other antioxidants,” says Traci Kantowski, communications director at the Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association (NAXA). “For example, it is 794 times stronger than CoQ10 and 36 times stronger than beta-carotene.”
In addition to its impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action, Ms. Kantowski emphasizes that astaxanthin has been shown to be beneficial to brain, eye, and skin health, as well as muscle endurance and sports vision.
“There seem to be new scientific studies published every couple of months on the potential health benefits of astaxanthin, adding to an already large base of scientific evidence,” says Gerald R. Cysewski, PhD, founder, president, and CEO of Cyanotech.
Dr. Cysewski believes that astaxanthin demand will continue to grow in areas where people can feel a real difference from its consumption. “These areas include joint health, faster recovery from strenuous exercise, maintaining good skin health under exposure to UV radiation, and eye health,” he says.
Bob Capelli, executive vice president of global marketing at AlgaeHealth, predicts significant growth for astaxanthin in the anti-aging industry in the coming years. “As people get older, they become concerned with their eyes and brain, their energy levels and strength diminish, their skin starts to sag, they get aches and pains, and their hearts become weaker,” he says. “Fortunately, in one supplement they can get support for all of these issues and more. It’s really the ultimate antiaging supplement,” he says.