What is Astaxanthin

WhatIsAx Algae

When a shrimp is cooked, it suddenly turns red.
That pigment is astaxanthin ? a naturally occurring carotenoid that imprints salmon, crabs, krill, lobsters, and even flamingos with vivid reddish coloration.
Natural astaxanthin, like a miracle of nature, emerges to protect animals in the peak of their struggle against harsh environmental conditions, including UV radiation and attack by free radicals.
In salmon, astaxanthin provides in vivo protection to omega-3 fatty acids against oxidative damage during their exhaustive upstream marathon.
Research suggests that without astaxanthin, salmon would lose their resilience, not survive the oxidative spike, and experience consequent physical burnout during migration.
Salmon obtains astaxanthin by eating shrimp, and shrimp obtains it by eating algae. The microalga Haematococcus pluvialis is an organism that can produce the highest amount of astaxanthin (see photo above). When the alga experiences harsh conditions, astaxanthin is created and acts like a force field that protects the nuclear DNA and lipids against UV-induced oxidation.

Salmon and astaxanthin

KnowledgeCenter Salmon

Salmon is actually a white fish. So what’s the secret behind their red flesh?
The distinctive reddish tint to their flesh that led to this shade being called salmon pink is provided by astaxanthin. You might think that salmon is a red fish like tuna, but surprisingly enough, it’s actually a white fish. A salmon’s flesh is white from the time that it’s born in a river until it swims downstream to the sea. However, as it swims around in the sea, it eats shrimps and other crustaceans, which gradually turn its flesh red.
Astaxanthin is the bread of life that nourishes salmon on their arduous journey.
So why do salmon need to consume astaxanthin?
Salmon return to rivers from the sea, swimming back upstream to spawn. They swim against the flow, so they need a great deal of power. While in the sea, salmon accumulate reserves of astaxanthin to serve as a source of energy when they set out on their arduous journey. They also need astaxanthin to protect their flesh from damage from the sun’s rays that beat down on the shallow waters at the banks of the rivers that the salmon traverse.
When, having completed their journey safely, they eventually spawn, the salmon transfer all of their red vitality ? astaxanthin ? to their roe.
This source of energy on a salmon’s arduous journey is passed on to the roe, like a manifestation of a mother’s love for her offspring, becoming a force that protects each and every fish egg and supporting Mother Nature’s mysterious life cycle. This is the power of astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin supports salmon throughout their lives
As they consume shrimps and other crustaceans, salmon build up plentiful reserves of astaxanthin in their tissue, which turns their flesh from white to red. Returning from the sea to the fresh water of rivers, they swim upstream where they spawn.... Astaxanthin is part of the life force of the salmon and is involved in every aspect of its ecology.