Astaxanthin: A Powerful Health-giving Substance Found In Salmon

Now there’s even more reason to eat wild salmon.

In addition to salmon’s high levels of brain-boosting and inflammation-fighting essential fatty acids (EFAs), it also contains a substance called astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is the substance that gives salmon its red color, but it also has an abundance of health giving properties.

Here is a list of the ways astaxanthin supports the body:

  • Functions as a powerful antioxidant, decreasing free radical damage to tissues, cells and even DNA – it’s 6,000 times more effective at protecting DNA than vitamin C
  • Lowers elevated blood pressure
  • Supports healthy digestion by preventing gastric ulcers
  • Prevents eye fatigue and Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • It protects against at least seven types of cancer, including liver, colon & breast cancers
  • Protects against skin damage from the sun
  • Enhances the immune system
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis – it also lowers the systemic inflammatory marker, C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
  • Inhibits mercury damage to the kidneys

That’s a lot of benefit.

The best salmon to get the greatest amount of astaxanthin is sockeye salmon. This is also called red salmon or blueback salmon. The redder the salmon, the more astaxanthin it contains.

Research shows that 4 to 8 mg of astaxanthin a day is enough to get its benefits. However it is such a safe compound that animal studies show a complete lack of toxicity even at very high doses.

100 grams of wild sockeye salmon provides as much as 4.5 grams of astaxanthin. Farm raised salmon has less than one fourth as much.

However if you don’t eat much fish or can’t eat it every day, there are other sources.

One source is supplemental krill oil. If you plan on taking it this way, be sure to find krill oil that lists at least 1.5 mg of astaxanthin per serving. That’s usually 2 caplets per serving. Taking three servings a day will provide 4.5 mg of astaxanthin. If you have a shellfish allergy, be cautious taking krill oil. Krill is a very small relative of shrimp.

If you’d prefer to take astaxanthin by itself, you can find it as a stand-alone supplement. Common potencies include 2 mg and 4 mg per dose.

When taking supplemental forms it’s best to take them with meals containing fats or oils. This makes sure you absorb the astaxanthin completely.


Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.

Salmon That’s Nine Times Better

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