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Antioxidant effects of astaxanthin in various diseases-a review


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Background: Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant carotenoid has been found to be highly effective in mopping up free radicals as it possesses anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and other beneficial pharmacological properties. Many chemical reactions produce free radicals which are injurious to body cells, as they are the causes of many diseases, disabilities, and death. Antioxidants suppress and mop up these circulating free radicals. Method: This review was done by a comprehensive literature search using internet search engines linked to academics such as EBSCO, PubMed, Google Scholar, etc. They were assessed on topics related to astaxanthin. Articles related and linked to studies involving astaxanthin were thoroughly searched and the references of such articles were also searched for information about astaxanthin in relation to the medical application. Results: In various studies, astaxanthin has been found to be a potent carotenoid as an antioxidant thereby protective to the body as it prevents cancer, enhances eye health, suppresses lipid peroxidation and atherosclerosis, enhances skin and brain health, and suppresses the formation of complications of diabetes mellitus. Conclusion: Astaxanthin, a highly potent xanthophylls carotenoid has multiple pharmacological properties, and oral supplements of this anti-oxidant are protective against a wide range of diseases.
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BACKGROUND: Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant carotenoid has been found to be highly
effective in mopping up free radicals as it possesses anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-
apoptotic and other beneficial pharmacological properties. Many chemical reactions produce
free radicals which are injurious to body cells, as they are the causes of many diseases,
disabilities and death. Antioxidants suppress and mop up these circulating free radicals.
METHOD: This review was done by a comprehensive literature search using internet search
engines linked to academics such as ebsco, pubmed, google scholar,etc.They were assessed
on topics related to astaxanthin. Articles related and linked to studies involving astaxanthin
were thoroughly searched and the references of such articles were also searched for
information about astaxanthin in relation to medical application.
RESULTS: In various studies astaxanthin has been found to be a potent carotenoid as an
antioxidant thereby protective to the body as it prevents cancer, enhance eye health, suppress
lipid peroxidation and atherosclerosis, enhance skin and brain health and suppress the
formation of complications of diabetes mellitus.
CONCLUSION: Astaxanthin, a highly potent xanthophylls carotenoid has multiple
pharmacological properties and oral supplements of this anti-oxidant are protective against a
wide range of diseases.
KEYWORDS: Astaxanthin, free radical, antioxidant, cancer, carotenoids
Free radicals are molecules containing one or more unpaired electrons which give a
considerable degree of chemical reactivity to it [1,2]. Most of these free radicals come from
intracellular and extracellular processes in biological fluids. The plasma membranes of cells
are potential sources of free radicals [3,4]. Other ways of free radical generation are:
exposure to ionizing radiation, cigarette smoking, drug ingestion, and exposure of red blood
cells to chemicals such as acetyl phenylhydrazine and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)[5].
Exposure of some neonates to oxidants such as dusting powder and camphor balls result in
increased haemolysis due to generation of free radicals [6].Free radicals are injurious to body
cells and tissues and need to be mopped up by antioxidants .Various sources of antioxidants
exist such as vitamin C,E and gluthatione. Astxanthin is considered a potent antioxidant.
Antioxidants are protective against free radicals such that the possible detrimental
effects of these free radicals that are generated are kept on check. Hence, antioxidants
stabilize free radicals’ reaction. Some antioxidants may be enzymes such as glutathione
reductase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase [7]. Dietary antioxidants also exist such as
vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene.
Generally, antioxidants are divided into two major groups:
Water Soluble (Hydrophilic): Which are potent in blood, intracellular fluid (ICF), and
extracellular fluid (ECF). They react with oxidants in the cell cytosol and blood plasma.
Examples of such are vitamin C, glutathione, and catechins. Lipid Soluble (Hydrophobic):
They are localized to cellular membranes and lipoproteins. These include vitamins A, E, and
beta carotene [5,8]. Generally, antioxidants are helpful in preventing or delaying cell
damage as they mop up free radicals generated from cellular processes. Several antioxidants
have been evaluated such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (tocopherol), beta carotene,
selenium, lycopene and astaxanthin [8,9].
Astaxanthin is a lipophilic terpene which is made up from carbon precursors [10,11].
It is a metabolite of zeaxanthin and canthaxanthin, containing hydroxyl and ketone functional
groups [10,11]. Astaxanthin, being a xanthophyll carotenoid is chemically identified as 3, 3’-
dihydroxy-B, B1-Carotene-4, 4-Dione. It is lipid soluble and distinguished from all other
carotenoids, and has a molecular mass of 596.84 g/mol with a formula of C40H52O4. It has
conjugated double bonds at its centre giving it, its antioxidant effects [10, 12].
Humans cannot synthesize astaxanthin in the body [13]. Historically, Professor Basil
Weedon’s group was the first to prove the structure of astaxanthin by synthesis in 1970[14].
Like all other carotenoids, astaxanthin is absorbed alongside fatty acids via passive diffusion
into the intestinal epithelium [15].Sources of astaxanthin are yeasts, krill, trout, microalgae,
shrimps, and crayfish. Astaxanthin is present in most red-coloured aquatic organisms [13,
15]. The primary sources of astaxanthin in high concentrationsare given below [10].
Natural Sources
Concentration of Astaxanthin (Parts per
Arctic shrimp
(P. borealis)
Phaffia yeast
(Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous)
Haemococcus pluvialis
Algae are the primary natural sources of astaxanthin in the aquatic food chain. The
primary industrial sources for natural astaxanthin are the microalgae, Haemococus pluvialis.
Commercial astaxanthin for aquaculture are produced synthetically [10].
Since its discovery in 1970, astaxanthin has evolved through some technological
processes to be useful in everyday life uses. It is now mainly extracted from haematococcus
using high pressure liquid chromatography and identified by mass spectrometry [16].
Currently, astaxanthine has been approved as a food colorant in animal and fish feed
[17].Over the years, attempts have been made by scientists to synthetically produce the
products of Haemococcus pluvialis. Lee et al demonstrated that, adding 1-
aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid could enhance the accumulation of astaxanthin, while
Shang et al suggested that synthetic Haemococcus pluvialis production is enhanced by using
butylated hydroxyanisole[18,19].
Consumption of astaxanthin can reduce, and prevent various disorders in human and
animals. Synthetic astaxanthin has a dominant role in agriculture. The consumption of
astaxanthin can reduce or prevent risk of various disorders in human and animals. Synthetic
astaxanthin are produced by phaffe yeast and H.pluviali through chemical synthesis [20].
Usually, carotenoids are absorbed into body lipids which are enhanced by high
cholesterol. On absorption, astaxanthin mixes with bile acid to make micelles and are
incorporated into chylomicron. Astaxanthin is then assimiliated with lipoprotein and
transported to body tissues to protect cells, and lipid-based membrane against oxidative
damage [21]. Also, astaxanthin contain polyene chain and multiple double bonds which
quench singlet oxygen and radicals to stop reaction. Antioxidant properties have been linked
to their chemical and physical interactions with cell membrames. The polyene chain in
astaxanthin mops up free radicals in the cell membrane [22].
Over 50 clinical and experimental studies show that astaxanthin is important in
cardiovascular health, eye health, brain health, sports-related activities, skin health, diabetes
mellitus and metabolic syndrome, cancer health and a whole lot of other disease entities
[23,24]. In general, with regards to general antioxidant effects (free radical scavenging),
astaxanthin are more than 65 times stronger than vitamin C, and 50 times more powerful than
vitamin E in protecting cell membranes. In addition, astaxanthin has been shown to be more
effective than other carotenoids and other nutrients at singlet oxygen quenching by being up
to 800 times stronger than coenzyme Q, 6000 times greater than Vitamin C, 550 times more
powerful than green tea catechins, and 11 times stronger than beta carotene.It is also found to
be 2.75 times stronger than lutein. Research suggests that astaxanthin may be beneficial in
immune, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases [25,26, 27]. Astaxanthin has been
shown to play a role in several diseases.
Several researches have deciphered that astaxanthine exerts in activity such as anti-
proliferation, anti-apoptosis and anti-invasion, via different molecules and pathways
including signal transducers and activator of transcription 3(STAT 3), nuclear factor Kappa
light chain enhancer of activated β-cell (NF-Kβ), and peroxisome proliferator activator
receptor gamma (PPAR-γ),and other multiple mechanism of cancer effects.According to
Zhang et al, astaxanthin is thought to protect body tissues from oxidation and ultraviolet
damage through suppression of NF-KB activation[28,29]. Astaxanthin also prevents cancer
initiation by protecting the body DNA from ultraviolet oxidant damage. This it does, by
promoting early detection and destruction of cells that have undergone malignant
transformation by avoiding immune surveillance [30,31]. Also, other reaserchers(Yuan et al,
Palozza et al, and Nagendraprablu et al)confirm that astaxanthin prevents tumor from
spreading by reducing tumor production of tissue-melting proteins and blocks the rapid cell
replication of tumors in their growth phase by stopping the cancer cell reproductive cycle
and enhancing apoptosis[13,28,32,33].
Health benefits of astaxanthin includes protection against eye-related macular
degeneration (the most common cause of blindness), and inflammatory eye conditions.
Astaxanthin protects the eye against eye- fatigue, improves visual activity and depth
perception and increases blood flow to eye tissues.
Astaxanthin does this because it crosses the blood-retinal barrier hence protecting the
eyes. These antioxidant properties have protective effects on the eyes, protecting it against
cataract, macular degeneration and even blindness. Tsuneto and Akihiko concluded that
astaxanthin reduces cataract formation, glaucoma and macular degeneration [34].
In 2015, Meta analysis of data from 10 randomized control studies showed a
significant effect of supplementation with astaxanthin on plasma lipid profile and fasting
glucose. In another research, involving db/db mice, prevention of diabetic nephropathy was
noted on treatment with astaxanthin. It is found that chronic administration of astaxanthin
reduces the oxidative stress on the kidneys, and prevents renal cell damage. A dose of 6.8mg
a day decreased the level of blood glucose [35, 36, 37]. Uchiyama et al and Ambati et al
noted that giving astaxanthin to obese or/and diabetic animals experienced lower plasma
glucose levels, improved insulin sensitivity and reduced inflammation and oxidative stress
[33]. In addition, astaxanthin enhanced the ability of the pancreas to secrete insulin and
slowed down the rate of diabetic nephropathy [27,38, 39].
Neuro-protective effects of astaxanthin have also been noted in experimental animals.
It is known to protect against stroke and hypertension and in improving memory in vascular
dementia as noted by Hussein et al [40, 41,42,43]. Astaxanthin crosses the blood brain barrier
hence protecting the brain. At a given dose of 6-8mg daily, there was a reduction in blood
pressure in studied individuals [35,36,37]. Neuroprotective properties of the marine
carotenoid, astaxanthin and omega -3-fatty acid are seen as prospective future combinations
[44]. Fassett et al further noted that astaxanthin protects against aging and improve mental
functions in rats, 50mg/kg astaxanthin oil reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure
in spontaneously hypertensive rats/mrc-cp rats (a model for metabolic syndrome)[45].
Astaxanthin is known to promote muscle endurance and protects against muscle
damage [46,47]. Astaxanthin limits exercise - induced skeletal muscle damage in mice. It is
now used by athletes to enhance performance. The same properties it has that make it
beneficial for salmon to swim upstream are beneficial to humans looking to accomplish feats
of endurance. This finding is well supported by Ikeuchi et al [47,48,49]. This it does by
reducing the production and storage of lactic acid, reducing free radical, and supporting
mitochondrial function [50].
Astaxanthin reduces the fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin elasticity, protects
against sun damage and prevents age-spots and hyperpigmentation. Astaxanthin works as an
internal sunscreen of sort; since it reduces inflammation, and reduces ultraviolet damage to
skin cells [51]. It is a potent ultraviolet radiation absorber [27]. Tominaga et al in a study
involving 38 healthy females gave 6mg/day of astaxanthin oral supplement and 2mls per day
topical astaxanthin to the participating subjects. Their results showed that the H.pluvialis-
derived astaxanthin improved skin conditions in all layers such as corneolyte layer,
epidermis, basal and dermis layer by combining oral and topical treatment [52]. Astaxanthin
is believed to offer skin protection through a number of mechanisms. First, it is believed to
block a certain amount of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation acting directly on the skin. Secondly,
it neutralizes the free radicals induced by the UV radiation. Thirdly, it appears to inhibit the
induction of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) by UV light.MMP is thought to be an
important factor in sun damage and skin aging [53]. In yet another study in 1998, Savoure et
al also noted that astaxanthin, when given alone or in combination with retinol, substantially
reduced/prevented photo-aging of the skin. This study in rats also showed that astaxanthin
was found to be 100 times stronger than beta carotene and 1000 times stronger than lutein in
preventing UV light induced oxidative stress [54].
The ulcer-preventing ability was studied in India when researchers (Kamath et al) at
Central Food Technological Institute gave total carotenoids and astaxanthin esters orally at
doses of 100, 250, 5000mcg/kg to rats. After being fed antioxidants, ethanol was then given
to induce gastric ulcer in the studied rats. The researchers noted that lipoxygenase inhibitors
in the rat cells were 23 times greater when astaxanthin was given, compared to administration
of omeprazole, a proton-pump inhibitor used for PUD management. They concluded that free
radicals-scavenging activity of astaxanthin found in H. pluvialis protects against gastric
mucosal injury [27,55,56].
Astaxanthin is thought to inhibit lipid peroxidation and simultaneously simulate
cancer cells, making it effective for treating breast, colon, and bladder cancers. Also,
astaxanthin reduces C-reactive protein (CRP) in the cardiovascular system, reducing
triglycerides, increasing high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and adiponectin levels. In
another study, done in Finland, Karppi et al assessed the effect of three-month astaxanthin
supplementation on certain healthy non-smokers aged between 19-33 years. The intervention
group received two 4mg capsules daily, while the control received placebo. Their findings
suggest that the supplementation with astaxanthin decreased the in-vivo oxidation of fatty
acids in the healthy men [57]. In yet another study by Jacobsson et al, taking 6-8mg of daily
of astaxanthin decreased the oxidation of low density lipoprotein- cholesterol and prevented it
from atherogenic effect [58]. It protects the vascular lining, promotes improved blood flow,
and protects cholesterol from being oxidized. Astaxanthin is thought to play a role in
atherosclerosis prevention due to it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in endothelial
cells. Dysfunction of both systems in these cells produces a pro-atherogenic state [17, 45, 59].
From its discovery till now, astaxanthin has been found to be a useful antioxidant
which has the potential of mopping up free radicals. The chemical structure of astaxanthin
makes it an excellent antioxidant. This single property has been found to be beneficial to
man. These protective effects range from free radical scavenging, mitochondrial protection,
anti-inflammatory effects and protection from glycation [60,61].
With the advancement in technology, synthetic production of astaxanthin by genetic
engineering will go a long way in supplying the needed astaxanthin in both agricultural and
medical uses. It is believe that extraction of astaxanthin from its natural sources and
synthetic-based forms will play a great role in the management of patients because of its large
pharmacological benefits to man.
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... Red ketocarotenoid astaxanthin is considered the "King of the antioxidants" due to its excellent antioxidant capabilities [1], being 50% more active than vitamin E in protecting cell membranes [2] and showing an ORAC index (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) higher than all other carotenoids [1,3]. In the field of human health, this compound is in high demand since its consumption can reduce and prevent several disorders. ...
... For the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, astaxanthin reduces the oxidative stress on the nervous system, rich in unsaturated fats and iron that are prone to oxidation. This compound also exerts effects against cancer proliferation and invasion with multiple mechanisms [2], improves skin elasticity and prevent sun damage, protects against macular degeneration and inflammatory conditions in the eye, among other beneficial effects for human health [2,4,5,6]. Besides, this compound is a key pigmentation source for farmed salmon, trout, and poultry [7]. ...
... For the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, astaxanthin reduces the oxidative stress on the nervous system, rich in unsaturated fats and iron that are prone to oxidation. This compound also exerts effects against cancer proliferation and invasion with multiple mechanisms [2], improves skin elasticity and prevent sun damage, protects against macular degeneration and inflammatory conditions in the eye, among other beneficial effects for human health [2,4,5,6]. Besides, this compound is a key pigmentation source for farmed salmon, trout, and poultry [7]. However, synthetic astaxanthin is usually used for this purpose, since it is cheaper than the natural compound and represents over 95% of the astaxanthin produced globally [8]. ...
The worldwide-distributed microalgae Haematococcus lacustris (Gir.-Chantr.) Rostaf is considered the best producer of the anti-oxidant compound astaxanthin, a pigment 50 times more active than vitamin E, with important uses in nutraceutical and pharmacy industries. Nevertheless, Haematococcus accumulates a small proportion of this pigment within the cells, requiring further enhancement for its industrial use. The artificial induction of polyploidy on these species was attempted by using colchicine. The induction results generate one strain producing 33% more astaxanthin than the original strain under laboratory conditions (1.94% vs 2.59%, 150 mL volume) and 60% more astaxanthin in semi-industrial conditions (1.82% vs 2.91%, 3.500 L raceways). Additionally, it was determined that both cell volume and DNA content were increased in the polyploid strain, maintaining intact their capacity for astaxanthin extraction. This highlights a future industrial use for this strain and the potential use of polyploidization to enhance secondary metabolite production for other microalgae of commercial interest.
... In nature, there are more than 700 carotenoids and which are classified as carotenes and xanthophylls (Vijay et al., 2016). Astaxanthin (ASX), a xanthophyll carotenoid, is chemically defined as 3,3'-dihydroxy-β,β'-carotene-4,4'dion (Ekpe et al., 2018). ASX is the main carotenoid pigment found in aquatic animals and is found in most of the favorite seafood, such as salmon, trout, red sea bream, shrimp, lobster and fish roe. ...
... The fact that no side effects were reported even at high concentrations of ASX increases the interest in it day by day Hormozi et al., 2019). It has many beneficial biological activities, such as antioxidant, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, hepatoprotective, skin protective, anti-ulcerative, immunomodulator, cardioprotective, and anticancer (Ambati et al., 2014;Ekpe et al., 2018;Fakhri et al., 2018). ASX is therefore seen as an important potential treatment tool for various diseases such as inflammatory, metabolic, neurodegenerative and cancer. ...
... In the last decade, natural astaxanthin (AXT), also known as (3S,3′S)-3,3′-Dihydroxy-β, β-carotene-4,4′-dione (dark red ketocarotenoid), has gained considerable attention from various industries and academic researchers, appearing as one of the most powerful antioxidant in the nature (Sztretye et al. 2019;Mussagy et al. 2021c). AXT has greater antioxidant capacity than vitamin C (6,000-fold), coenzyme Q10 (770-fold), and vitamin E (100-fold); also, it has been shown to be more effective than other natural carotenoids such as β-carotene (5-fold), lutein (3-fold) and lycopene (2-fold) (Palozza and Krinsky 1992;Ekpe et al. 2018;Zhao et al. 2019). Unfortunately, synthetic AXT (chemically synthesized using the Wittig and Grignard reactions (Harith, Charalampopoulos, and Chatzifragkou 2019)) is still the most available and commercialized molecule (i.e., a market of ~95%), presenting not only environmental problems related to its synthesis, but also health concerns associated with human chemophobia (i.e., fear of chemicals) (Mussagy et al. 2021c). ...
Microorganisms such as bacteria, microalgae and fungi, are natural and rich sources of several valuable bioactive antioxidant's compounds, including carotenoids. Among the carotenoids with antioxidant properties, astaxanthin can be highlighted due to its pharmaceutical, feed, food, cosmetic and biotechnological applications. The best-known producers of astaxanthin are yeast and microalgae cells that biosynthesize this pigment intracellularly, requiring efficient and sustainable downstream procedures for its recovery. Conventional multi-step procedures usually involve the consumption of large amounts of volatile organic compounds (vOCs), which are regarded as toxic and hazardous chemicals. Considering these environmental issues, this review is focused on revealing the potential of unconventional extraction procedures [viz., Supercritical Fluid extraction (SFe), Ultrasound-Assisted extraction (UAe), Microwave-Assisted extraction (MAe), High-Pressure Homogenization (HPH)] combined with alternative green solvents (biosolvents, eutectic solvents and ionic liquids) for the recovery of microbial-based astaxanthin from microalgae (such as Haematococcus pluvialis) and yeast (such as Phaffia rhodozyma) cells. The principal advances in the area, process bottlenecks, solvent selection and strategies to improve the recovery of microbial astaxanthin are emphasized. The promising recovery yields using these environmentally friendly procedures in lab-scale are good indications and directions for their effective use in biotechnological processes for the production of commercial feed and food ingredients like astaxanthin.
... The highest carotenoid in Acetes is astaxanthin (Fig. 1), reported as 14-40 mg/g dry weight depending on the species and size (Ung et al., 2020;Lv et al., 2021). Astaxanthin is one of the carotenoids that can provide antioxidant effects to protect the body from free radical attacks (Ekpe et al., 2018;Brotosudarmo et al., 2020) and has a preventive effect on photoaging, inhibiting the formation of wrinkles, and increases skin elasticity (Komatsu et al., 2017;Eren et al., 2018). The use of active substances that are antioxidants can prevent various diseases caused by UV radiation, protecting against UV rays to act as a sunscreen (Ebrahimzadeh et al., 2014). ...
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Shrimp species have been reported to contain astaxanthin, which has high antioxidant activities. They also contain omega-3 in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which can act as photoprotective agents that maintain healthy skin from reactive oxygen species (ROS) due to exposure to UV rays. In addition, fermentation has become an essential pre-treatment to extract the bioactive components in shrimp more easily. This study aims to extract oil from cincalok, a traditional Indonesian (especially in West Kalimantan) food made from Acetes shrimp fermented for 7–15 days. Cincalok oil was added to the lotion as a bioactive additive and sunscreen. Cincalok oil was extracted by the soxhletation method using n-hexane as solvent. The oil was then analyzed for its physicochemical properties, including density, viscosity, possible heavy metal contamination, and the profile of the fatty acids contained. The yield of cincalok oil extraction was 1.09 ± 0.05%, with the highest fatty acid content of 21.70% palmitic acid, 10.99% DHA, and 10.33% EPA. Cincalok oil also contains astaxanthin of 0.38 ± 0.02 mg/L oil. It has a viscosity of 69.71 ± 0.12 cP with a density of 0.93 ± 0.03 g/cm ³ . The analysis data of ICP-AES shows that there is no heavy metal contamination. The SPF value produced from cincalok oil lotion at 5 and 10% variations of cincalok oil was 15.17 ± 0.09 and 30.28 ± 0.49, respectively. The SPF value of lotion with the addition of cincalok oil was much greater than that of the base lotion, which was 2.16 ± 0.12.
... Free radicals are molecules with one or more unpairs of electrons so as to have a high reactivity of chemical reactivity (Bolarin et al., 2016). These radicals are normally produced through normal aerobic metabolism or through exposure to ionizing radiation, cigarette smoking, drug ingestion, chemicals such as acetyl phenyl hydrazine and hydrogen peroxide (Ekpe et al., 2018). The presence of excessive free radicals react with proteins, lipids and DNA molecules causes damage of these molecules which result in a number of disorders (Flaman et al., 2001). ...
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The recent pandemic stress and the impacts of climatic changes on humans’ and animals’ health status and well-being resulted in severe drawbacks. Initially, stress-induced oxidation resulting from the generation of free radicals leading to the impairment of cellular function and a high possibility of attack with infection. Astaxanthin is a bioactive material derived from fish, crustaceans, and algae with high antioxidative potential. Astaxanthin is a lipid-soluble carotenoid that can easily cross through the cellular membrane layers to catch the reactive oxygen metabolites. Astaxanthin also has pigmentation properties making it suitable for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, nutraceutical, agriculture, and aquaculture sectors. Recently, astaxanthin is suggested as a natural scavenger for free radicals induced by COVID-19. Besides, using astaxanthin as antioxidative and immunostimulant agents is well-reported in several clinical studies. The output of these investigations should be simplified and presented to the scientific community to utilize the available information and fill the gap of knowledge. Also, it is necessary to update the researchers with the recent recommendations of applying astaxanthin in vivo and in vitro to help in proposing new horizons for engaging natural antioxidative agents to protect human and animal health. Herein, this review article tackled the nature, sources, potential roles, applicable sides, and availability of astaxanthin to fortify the scientific community with the required knowledge for further research efforts.
... Astaxanthin has been recognised as a powerful antioxidant produced from red cysts of Haematococcus pluvialis. The effects of astaxanthin has been found 65 times and 50 times higher than vitamin C and vitamin E (Ekpe et al., 2018). The global production of H. pluvialis was equal to 280-350 ton/year and the market value was estimated around $288.7 million and it is expected to reach $426.9 million in 2022 (Martins et al., 2021). ...
... AsX is one of the most powerful antioxidants known to science, with applications in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetic, food, and animal feed industries. The antioxidant activity of AsX is 6000 times higher than that of vitamin C, 800 times higher than that of coenzyme Q, and 100 times higher than that of vitamin E [1,2]. It has been shown to modulate cell signaling pathways involved in cancer [3], to ameliorate oxidative stress [4], and to enhance immune response [5]. ...
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Stable, oil-in-water nanoemulsions containing astaxanthin (AsX) were produced by intense fluid shear forces resulting from pumping a coarse reagent emulsion through a self-throttling annular gap valve at 300 MPa. Compared to crude emulsions prepared by conventional homogenization, a size reduction of over two orders of magnitude was observed for AsX-encapsulated oil droplets following just one pass through the annular valve. In krill oil formulations, the mean hydrodynamic diameter of lipid particles was reduced to 60 nm after only two passes through the valve and reached a minimal size of 24 nm after eight passes. Repeated processing of samples through the valve progressively decreased lipid particle size, with an inflection in the rate of particle size reduction generally observed after 2–4 passes. Krill- and argan oil-based nanoemulsions were produced using an Ultra Shear Technology™ (UST™) approach and characterized in terms of their small particle size, low polydispersity, and stability.
... This is because antioxidants can act as donors as well as electron acceptance [11]. One of the carotene group's antioxidants that has a high potential as an antioxidant is astaxanthin (ASX) [12], as one of the lipophilic compounds terpene astaxanthin has a polyene chain that has the ability the stabilization free radicals [13]. As a radical scavenger, astaxanthin has several action mechanisms, namely hydrogen atom transfer, radical adduct, and single electron transfer [14]. ...
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Glycated human serum albumin (gHSA) undergoes conformational changes of proteins caused by free radicals. The glycation process results in a reduced ability of albumin as an endogenous scavenger in diabetes mellitus type 2 (T2DM) patients. Astaxanthin (ASX) has been shown to prevent gHSA from experiencing unfolding events and improve protein stability of gHSA and HSA through molecular dynamics. In this study, astaxanthin is complexed with transition metal ions such as copper (Cu²⁺) and zinc (Zn²⁺) in two modes (M) and (2M). Complexing astaxanthin with Cu²⁺ and Zn²⁺ is expected to increase astaxanthin's ability as an endogenous scavenger than in native form. This research aims to characterize the antiradical property of ASX, ASX-Cu²⁺ and ASX-2Cu²⁺, ASX-Zn²⁺, and ASX-2Zn²⁺ with density functional theory (DFT) and to compare the capability to prevent conformational changes on glycated albumin through molecular dynamics simulation. DFT as implemented in Gaussian 09W, was used for all calculations. Analysis of data using GaussView 6.0. LANL2D2Z basis set and B3LYP density functional used for frequency analysis and optimization. The AutoDock Vina implemented in PyRx 0.8 is used to and receptor-ligand interactions analysis with the DS 2016 Client. YASARA for molecular dynamic simulation with 15,000 ps as running time. DFT analyzes such as energy gaps, HOMO, and LUMO patterns and electronic properties have shown that ASX-metal ions complex is better than ASX in native state as antioxidants. These results are also supported by the molecular dynamics simulation (RMSD backbone, RMSDr, RMSFr, and movie visualization), where the addition of ASX-metal ions complex on gHSA are better than ASX as a single compound in preventing gHSA from possible unfolding and maintaining protein molecule stability.
... Young and Lowe [9] assessed the antioxidant activities of carotenoids from plants and algae. Ekpe et al. [10] reviewed the antioxidant activities of astaxanthin and how it protects against various diseases. Davinelli et al. [11] evaluated the photoprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of astaxanthin in skin physiology. ...
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Oxidative stress originates from an elevated intracellular level of free oxygen radicals that cause lipid peroxidation, protein denaturation, DNA hydroxylation, and apoptosis, ultimately impairing cell viability. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which further helps to prevent cellular damage. Medicinal plants, fruits, and spices are the primary sources of antioxidants from time immemorial. In contrast to plants, microorganisms can be used as a source of antioxidants with the advantage of fast growth under controlled conditions. Further, microbe-based antioxidants are nontoxic, noncarcinogenic, and biodegradable as compared to synthetic antioxidants. The present review aims to summarize the current state of the research on the antioxidant activity of microorganisms including actinomycetes, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, microalgae, and yeast, which produce a variety of antioxidant compounds, i.e., carotenoids, polyphenols, vitamins, and sterol, etc. Special emphasis is given to the mechanisms and signaling pathways followed by antioxidants to scavenge Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), especially for those antioxidant compounds that have been scarcely investigated so far.
... The antioxidant activity of astaxanthin was found to be due to polyene groups and multiple double bonds, and it can bind to the membrane to prevent lipid peroxidation. Its antioxidant activity is 65 times higher than ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and 50 times more potent than vitamin E, 11 times higher than beta carotene, and 2.7 times higher than lutein [7]. The potential effect of astaxanthin on metabolic cataract associated with type 1 diabetes has been investigated [8]. ...
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Aldose reductase (AR) is an enzyme of the polyol pathway implicated in long-term effect of diabetes mellitus. The development of new molecules as drugs for the inhibition of this enzyme is a growing area of research. Several in vivo and in vitro studies have been carried out to test the inhibitory effect of many organic compounds against AR, but the results have been limited due to their weak pharmacokinetic parameters and safety profile. In this study, molecular docking and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation were performed to establish the inhibitory effect of two critical bioactive compounds (astaxanthin and zeaxanthin) that were affirmed to be safe and powerful antioxidants. Docking studies revealed that both astaxanthin and zeaxanthin displays good binding affinity and inhibition to AR with binding energies of −5.88 kcal/mol and −5.63 kcal/mol, respectively. In contrast to epalrestat; the standard inhibitor having a binding energy of −5.62 kcal/mol. Amino acid residue analysis has shown that both compounds, including the standard inhibitor, bind to the same site due to their common interaction with Trp20 and Tyr48 at AR catalytic site. To complement molecular docking results, we performed MD simulations. The results show that the binding energies of the standard inhibitor, astaxanthin, and zeaxanthin are −134.3486 kJ/mol, −186.271 kJ/mol, and −123.557 kJ/mol, respectively. In both cases, astaxanthin displays better inhibition to AR followed by the standard inhibitor and zeaxanthin.
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Stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases are among the most common causes of death worldwide. Prevention of modifiable risk factors is a cost-effective approach to decrease the risk of stroke. Oxidative stress is regarded as the major flexible operative agent in ischemic brain damage. This review presents recent scientific advances in understanding the role of carotenoids as antioxidants in lowering stroke risk based on observational studies. We searched Medline using the following terms: (Carotenoids [MeSH] OR Carotenes [tiab] OR Carotene [tiab] OR “lycopene [Supplementary Concept]” [MeSH] OR lycopene [tiab] OR beta-Carotene [tiab]) AND (stroke [MeSH] OR stroke [tiab] OR “Cerebrovascular Accident” [tiab] OR “Cerebrovascular Apoplexy” [tiab] OR “Brain Vascular Accident” [tiab] OR “Cerebrovascular Stroke” [tiab]) AND (“oxidative stress” [MeSH] OR “oxidative stress”[tiab]). This search considered papers that had been published between 2000 and 2017. Recent studies indicated that high dietary intake of six main carotenoids (i.e., lycopene, <- and®-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin) was associated with reduced risk of stroke and other cardiovascular outcomes. However, the main mechanism of the action of these nutrients was not identified, and multiple mechanisms except antioxidant activity were suggested to be involved in the observed beneficial effects. The dietary intake of six major carotenoids should be promoted as this may have a substantial positive effect on stroke prevention and stroke mortality reduction.
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Astaxanthin, a carotenoid found mainly in seafood, has potential clinical applications due to its antioxidant activity. In this study, we evaluated the effect of dietary astaxanthin derived from Haematococcus pluvialis on skin photoaging in UVA-irradiated hairless mice by assessing various parameters of photoaging. After chronic ultraviolet A (UVA) exposure, a significant increase in transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and wrinkle formation in the dorsal skin caused by UVA was observed, and dietary astaxanthin significantly suppressed these photoaging features. We found that the mRNA expression of lympho-epithelial Kazal-type-related inhibitor, steroid sulfatase, and aquaporin 3 in the epidermis was significantly increased by UVA irradiation for 70 days, and dietary astaxanthin significantly suppressed these increases in mRNA expression to be comparable to control levels. In the dermis, the mRNA expression of matrix metalloprotease 13 was increased by UVA irradiation and significantly suppressed by dietary astaxanthin. In addition, HPLC-PDA analysis confirmed that dietary astaxanthin reached not only the dermis but also the epidermis. Our results indicate that dietary astaxanthin accumulates in the skin and appears to prevent the effects of UVA irradiation on filaggrin metabolism and desquamation in the epidermis and the extracellular matrix in the dermis.
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Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring red carotenoid pigment classified as a xanthophyll, found in microalgae and seafood such as salmon, trout, and shrimp. This review focuses on astaxanthin as a bioactive compound and outlines the evidence associated with its potential role in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Astaxanthin has a unique molecular structure that is responsible for its powerful antioxidant activities by quenching singlet oxygen and scavenging free radicals. Astaxanthin has been reported to inhibit low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation and to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and adiponectin levels in clinical studies. Accumulating evidence suggests that astaxanthin could exert preventive actions against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) via its potential to improve oxidative stress, inflammation, lipid metabolism, and glucose metabolism. In addition to identifying mechanisms of astaxanthin bioactivity by basic research, much more epidemiological and clinical evidence linking reduced CVD risk with dietary astaxanthin intake is needed.
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Hepatic insulin resistance and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) could be caused by excessive hepatic lipid accumulation and peroxidation. Vitamin E has become a standard treatment for NASH. However, astaxanthin, an antioxidant carotenoid, inhibits lipid peroxidation more potently than vitamin E. Here, we compared the effects of astaxanthin and vitamin E in NASH. We first demonstrated that astaxanthin ameliorated hepatic steatosis in both genetically (ob/ob) and high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. In a lipotoxic model of NASH: mice fed a high-cholesterol and high-fat diet, astaxanthin alleviated excessive hepatic lipid accumulation and peroxidation, increased the proportion of M1-type macrophages/Kupffer cells, and activated stellate cells to improve hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Moreover, astaxanthin caused an M2-dominant shift in macrophages/Kupffer cells and a subsequent reduction in CD4+ and CD8+ T cell recruitment in the liver, which contributed to improved insulin resistance and hepatic inflammation. Importantly, astaxanthin reversed insulin resistance, as well as hepatic inflammation and fibrosis, in pre-existing NASH. Overall, astaxanthin was more effective at both preventing and treating NASH compared with vitamin E in mice. Furthermore, astaxanthin improved hepatic steatosis and tended to ameliorate the progression of NASH in biopsy-proven human subjects. These results suggest that astaxanthin might be a novel and promising treatment for NASH.
We evaluated the distribution of astaxanthin in rat brains after a single dose administration and after feeding 0.1% astaxanthin diet for 5 days. Astaxanthin was detected in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex 4 and 8 h after a single dose. Astaxanthin concentration in rat brains was higher after consumption of astaxanthin diet for 5 days than after a single dose.
Astaxanthin is a high value keto-carotenoid pigment renowned for its commercial application in various industries comprising aquaculture, food, cosmetic, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical. Among the verified bio-resources of astaxanthin are red yeast Phaffia rhodozyma and green alga Haematococcus pluvialis. The supreme antioxidant property of astaxanthin reveals its tremendous potential to offer manifold health benefits among aquatic animals which is a key driving factor triggering the upsurge in global demand for the pigment. Numerous scientific researches devoted over a number of years have persistently demonstrated the instrumental role of astaxanthin in targeting several animal health conditions. This review article evaluates the current best available evidence to judge the beneficial usage of astaxanthin in aquaculture industry. Most apparent is the profound effect on pigmentation, where astaxanthin is frequently utilized as an additive in formulated diets to boost and improve the coloration of many aquatic animal species, and subsequently product quality and price. Moreover, the wide range of other physiological benefits that this biological pigment confers to these animals is also presented which include various improvements in survival, growth performance, reproductive capacity, stress tolerance, disease resistance and immune-related gene expression.
Astaxanthin (AXT) is a carotenoid with multiple health benefits. It is currently marketed as a health supplement and is well known for its antioxidant capacity. Recent evidence has emerged to suggest a broad range of biological activities. The interest in this compound has increased dramatically over the last few years and many studies are now applying this molecule across many disease models. Results from the current research are beginning to come together to suggest neuroprotective properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, and antioxidant effects, as well as the potential to promote or maintain neural plasticity. These emergent mechanisms of actions implicate AXT as a promising therapeutic agent for neurodegenerative disease. This review will examine and extrapolate from the recent literature to build support for the use of AXT in mitigating neuropathy in normal aging and neurodegenerative disease.