Microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crustaceans, contains astaxanthin (AST) a carotenoid belonging to a larger class of phytochemicals known as terpenes.
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Due to its deep red-orange color it confers a reddish hue to the flesh of salmon, shrimps, lobsters, and crayfish that feed on astaxanthin-producing organisms, which helps protect their immune system and increase their fertility. From the nutritional point of view, astaxanthin is considered one of the strongest antioxidants in nature, due to its high scavenging potential of free radicals in the human body. Moreover, astaxanthin exerts a strong protective effect on human brain; its unique chemical structure allows it to readily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
Recently, astaxanthin is also receiving attention for its effect on the prevention or co-treatment of neurological pathologies, including Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases.
Regarding its use for endurance sports the current efficacy surrounding astaxanthin supplementation is somewhat equivocal. Future research is therefore required in order to have a more robust conclusion about the application of astaxanthin as a dietary supplement in sports nutrition.