Shaun Weston reports in FoodBev.com that natural algae astaxanthin manufacturers have obtained comparative antioxidant testing results from an antioxidant testing laboratory showing that artificial astaxanthin has vastly inferior antioxidant potential than natural astaxanthin from Haematococcus microalgae. Synthetic, or artificial, Astaxanthin made from petrochemicals is currently being marketed as ‘Nature Identical.’

The independent results from Creighton University and an independent laboratory showed that algae-based astaxanthin is approximately 20-50 times more active in singlet oxygen quenching and free radical elimination than artificial astaxanthin.

Previous head-to-head testing of algae-based astaxanthin vs artificial astaxanthin were published in the peer-reviewed journal NutraFoods in December 2013, however the members of the Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association” (NAXA)  felt that further testing was necessary since the earlier tests were not done specifically with DSM’s AstaSana product.

“We see the same results with the AstaSana product that we saw in earlier antioxidant testing of artificial astaxanthin,” said Robert Corish, MD, a member of NAXA and a worldwide authority on astaxanthin. “Plain and simple, the two products are completely different, not only in antioxidant potential, but the molecules are also different in three crucial ways. It’s only logical that these products will perform differently in antioxidant testing because they’re inherently different molecules. And while all the human clinical research showing a wide variety of health benefits has been performed exclusively on natural astaxanthin from algae, we still don’t know how artificial astaxanthin will react in our bodies long-term.”

Fuji Chemical Industry Co Ltd. (AstaReal®), Algatechnologies Ltd. (AstaPure®), and Cyanotech Corporation (BioAstin®), formed NAXA early this year as a trade organization dedicated to educating the public and dietary supplement industry about the health benefits of Natural Astaxanthin and the major differences between sources.