Astaxanthin - A Gift from the Sea

The great variety of plants, herbs, roots and food which have been discovered to contain powerful plant chemicals is truly astounding. Astaxanthin, a compound found in plants such as algae and animals such as salmon and krill, an ocean dwelling crustacean similar to shrimp, is one of those compounds. It is a member of a group of plant pigments called carotenoids and is therefore related to such compounds as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene and vitamin A.

These pigments are highly antioxidative and some of them are functionally important in vision and eye health.

Protection from oxidative damage: Due to astaxanthin’s unique structure, it can actually insert itself into a cell membrane where it can then effectively perform its role as protector of that membrane from reactive oxygen species (ROS).

As oxidative damage can be a mechanism for the development of a variety of disease processes, astaxanthin could prove to be useful in many clinical applications.

Endothelial dysfunction is a common aspect of the process that eventually can lead to cardiovascular disease. In models of hypertension in stroke prone laboratory animals, astaxanthin has been shown to not only improve endothelial function but also display antithrombotic and antihypertensive properties, thus decreasing risk factors associated with heart disease pathophysiology. Astaxanthin also improved insulin resistance, the common predecessor or diabetes.

Additionally, in a human study, this red colored, lipid soluble pigment also increased HDL while significantly reducing triglycerides, therefore addressing other risk factors in cardiovascular disease.

Exercise and athletics: Improved sports performance and athletic capacity has been an interesting facet of astaxanthin research. For instance, in competitive cyclists, astaxanthin ingestion was associated with significant improvements in time trials as well as power output.

Muscle endurance and strength also improved with its supplementation.

Oxidative stress can be a significant issue in overweight and obese individuals as they have a higher capacity of generating lipid peroxidation than those of typical body composition. Throw in exercise and the incidence of oxidative damage dramatically increases in this population. Astaxanthin was able to decrease lipid peroxidation and various markers in this vulnerable segment of society.

Boosting immune function: Improved immune function and immune response are also beneficial effects of astaxanthin supplementation where it stimulated cell-mediated and humoral immune function in lab animals, while in another study it modulated inflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-6, and cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, thus inhibiting colitis and colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis.

Neuroprotection: Finally, astaxanthin has demonstrated possible neuroprotective properties as well suggesting it may be useful in those with potential to develop neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.  by Michael Fuhrman D.C.



In addition to its rich phospholipids, omega–3s, and astaxanthin, XanthOmega™ also naturally contains several other antioxidants including, canthaxanthin, β–carotene, vitamin E and trans–retinol vitamin A. These antioxidants offer benefits of their own while also protecting this nutrient–dense oil from oxidation.

Designs for Health's XanthOmega™ Krill Oil is made using a unique cold–extraction process that converts it into stable oil. This process protects the lipids from alteration and avoids peroxidation. It is free of heavy metals and organohalide pollutants, making it extremely pure. This product does not cause reflux or regurgitation commonly experienced by those consuming regular fish oil supplements.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Fortified with increased levels of astaxanthin for expanded health benefits

The amount of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin in XanthOmega™ Krill Oil has been increased from 1.5 mg to 12 mg per serving to help achieve optimal benefits from this potent carotenoid.

What are Krill?  Krill are tiny crustaceans found in the sea and make up the world's largest animal biomass. The oil extracted from krill is rich in the omega–3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.

This updated version is considered to be a virgin krill oil, the purest form available, with higher phospholipid bioavailability, enhancing the absorption of one of krill's shining features, the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin.

In summary, many studies suggest that the benefits of this level of astaxanthin may include:

  1. Powerful antioxidant
  2. Cardiovascular health – helping to promote healthy lipid profiles; potential anti–hypertensive
  3. Sports performance – increasing muscle endurance and reducing exercise–induced muscle damage
  4. Eye support – Reducing eye fatigue and improving visual acuity[5]
  5. Supporting skin health – protecting against UVA–induced aging, as in skin sagging and wrinkles
  6. Anti–inflammatory
  7. Gastric health support – helping to reduce gastric inflammation and reflux symptoms

CAUTION: This product contains Krill Oil. DO NOT take if you are allergic to Shellfish.