Background: What is BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin Supplement and What Does It Do?
There has been controversy over whether or not astaxanthin drugs, such as BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin, are harmful to our bodies. Astaxanthin has only recently begun to be recognized as a “super-antioxidant” (“Learn Benefits of Astaxanthin”). Astaxanthin, known as “the king of the carotenoids”, is a red-colored pigment that is ingested by several marine animals, like shrimp, salmon, and lobster (“Learn Benefits of Astaxanthin”). Astaxanthin does not become pro-oxidant in the body which makes it very effective and beneficial for our bodies. Despite the fact that supplements can pose health benefits and health risks to our bodies, I think that BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin can be used for exercise recovery and to protect the skin of humans if used moderately.
Though it has not been used in human trials, Astaxanthin is found in animals, which promises to have several positive effects on humans’ joint, skin, and energy levels. For example, Astaxanthin works to “block inflammatory COX2 enzymes, while at the same time suppressing serum levels of nitric oxide, interleukin 1B, prostaglandin E2, C Reactive Protein (CRP), and TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha)” (“Learn Benefits of Astaxanthin”). For skin health, salmon roe has a red skin color because it contains high levels of astaxanthin which protects fish eggs from sun-related damage by using some UV-blocking properties. In humans, astaxanthin has shown to improve skin moisture levels and reduce wrinkles. Also, just as astaxanthin gives the sockeye salmon the energy to make its arduous upstream voyages annually, astaxanthin is known to give humans increased strength and recovery after exercise. Dr. Joseph Mercola, an osteopathic physician and a Web entrepreneur, said that there are some remarkable health benefits of astaxanthin in the BioAstin from Nutrex Hawaii supplement since it benefits our “tendons, eyes, skin, and supports immune function, cardiovascular health and brain health” (“Learn Benefits of Astaxanthin”).
A 2011 study, called “Astaxanthin: A Potential Therapeutic Agent in Cardiovascular Disease,” argues that since astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant and associated with membrane preservation, it may be worth testing it on humans. In different animal studies, antioxidants protected against oxidative stress, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease. Astaxanthin could have a therapeutic role in treating cardiovascular disease (CD) since “oxidative stress and inflammation are common pathophysiological features of the atherosclerotic CD” (Fassett and Coombes). The study mentions several observational studies that showed an association between the intake of dietary antioxidants and a reduction in cardiovascular events. The fact that astaxanthin has “terminal carbonyl groups that are conjugated to a polyene backbone and are more potent antioxidants and scavengers of free radicals than carotene carotenoids” gives them the potential to protect the cells from atherosclerotic CD (Fassett and Coombes).
Astaxanthin has three stereoisomers and disodium disuccinate astaxanthin (DDA) is a synthetic astaxanthin that contains the three stereoisomers. Furthermore, the 2011 study argues that it is not clear which form of astaxanthin is best used in clinical studies since it may not be therapeutically equivalent. Also, this study refers to other experimental studies undertaken with astaxanthin that show “decreased markers of lipid peroxidation, inflammation, and thrombosis, by the astaxanthin” (Fassett and Coombes). In addition, the 2011 study conducted several trials in rats, rabbits, and dogs to assess whether DDA could protect the myocardium. For rats, the degree of cardium protection was correlated with the dose of DDA administered. For rabbits, the use of 50 mg/kg/day of DDA for four days in the study improved the myocardial salvage and decreased the size of the myocardial infarction. For dogs, a reduction in myocardial infarct size was also noted with the use of DDA. However, since the doses of DDA used were high, it is not clear whether it would be safe to use these dosages on humans.
Astaxanthin was noted to have some positive effects on blood pressure in hypertensive rats when it was administered orally. It “enhanced nitric oxide-induced vascular relaxation in the rat aortas” by reducing the wall/lumen ratio in coronary arteries and decreasing elastic bands in the aorta (Fassett and Coombes). Furthermore, astaxanthin reduced the increase in myeloperoxidase and creatinine kinase activity in cardiac and gastrocnemius muscles in mice. The 2011 paper says that “mice that were fed 0.08% astaxanthin in the diet had higher cardiac mitochondrial membrane potential and contractility index compared with control animals. This suggests dietary astaxanthin provides cardiac protection” (Fassett and Coombes). In summary, astaxanthin may prevent some cardiovascular diseases in humans.
Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is a common complication of diabetes mellitus, which often causes chronic kidney disease. However, the use of astaxanthin reduces high levels of blood glucose. The 2011 research study says, “hyperglycemia-induced reactive oxygen species production, activation of transcription factors, and cytokine expression and production by normal human mesangial cells was suppressed significantly by astaxanthin” (Fassett and Coombes). Astaxanthin could reduce the oxidative stress caused by hyperglycemia and could be a reliable source for humans to use.
Although the use of astaxanthin has been examined in animal studies, it is difficult to predict the outcome of using astaxanthin on humans. A few clinical studies have investigated the effects of astaxanthin in human health in healthy participants who volunteered to assess astaxanthin doses, “bioavailability, safety and oxidative stress, which are all potentially relevant to the cardiovascular systems” (Fassett and Coombes).
To test the safety of astaxanthin for humans, a double-blind study with 27 volunteers was conducted. Volunteers took either 6mg/day of astaxanthin or placebo for eight weeks and their blood pressure revealed no significant “difference in the parameters between treatment and placebo groups” (Fassett and Coombes). The study concluded that 6 mg/day of astaxanthin, derived from a Haematococcus pluvialis algal extract, could be safely consumed by healthy adults. Furthermore, when healthy adults consume astaxanthin for ten days, the authors observed no significant side effects and improved blood rheology “as evidenced by decreased whole blood transit time” (Fassett and Coombes). These results indicated that astaxanthin could be used by humans for future clinical trials.
A 2014 research study entitled “Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and Its Commercial Applications,” says that the consumption of astaxanthin can prevent the risk of several disorders in animals and possibly humans. First, the study explained how the combination of Astaxanthin and fish oil promote hypolipidemic effects in plasma but “astaxanthin was superior to fish oil in particular by improving immune response and lowering the risk of vascular and infectious diseases” (Ambati et al.). Secondly, the study emphasized that astaxanthin can be a promising treatment of ocular inflammation in eyes based on previous Japanese research. Thirdly, the authors of the study believed that a specific dose of astaxanthin can be used in early stages of various generative disorders since it showed significant antitumor activity compared to other carotenoids. Also, it “inhibited the growth of fibrosarcoma, breast, and prostate cancer cells and embryonic fibroblasts…H. pluvialis extract inhibited the growth of human colon cancer cells by arresting cell cycle progression and promoting apoptosis” (Ambati et al.). Finally, in this study, astaxanthin was seen safe with no side effects when consumed with food. In rats, the authors observed astaxanthin accumulation in the eyes but with no toxic effects. The excess consumption of astaxanthin led to a change in the color of the skin to reddish. The study recommended the consumption of astaxanthin with omega-3 rich seed oils, such as fish and almonds. This study concluded that astaxanthin was safe to be consumed by animals and expected it to be safe for humans as long as it is consumed in specific dosages. Furthermore, astaxanthin can be taken orally for treating early stages of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. In addition, astaxanthin can be applied directly to people’s skin to protect against sunburn. In agriculture, it is used as a food supplement for egg-producing chickens.
The process of male aging is associated with a decrease in serum testosterone (T) levels, which may cause other symptoms, such as muscle erosion, loss of muscle strength, and bone mineral density. A research article in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition hypothesized that a combination of astaxanthin (AX) and saw palmetto berry lipid extract (SPLE) would regulate the inhibitory activity of both 5AR and AR enzymes in-vivo, which convert T to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). In the study, 42 healthy males ages 37 to 70 years were divided into two groups of twenty-one dosed with either 800mg/day or 2000 mg/day of Alphastat for fourteen days. The results showed no change in body weight during the two weeks in either group. In addition, the authors concluded that the “precise combination of AX and SPLE, produced significant changes in serum T, DHT, and ES levels. A dose of either 800 mg or 2000 mg/ day produced significant increases in T and decreases in DHT within three days with no increases in ES [estradiol]” (Angwafor and Anderson). In other words, astaxanthin can be used in combination with other supplements to increase the production of serum testosterone levels which may lead to longer longevity.
Since astaxanthin is absorbed in the small intestine and reaches the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier, a 2018 research study was the first to explain how astaxanthin has shown neuroprotective effects and could be used to prevent early stages of Alzheimer disease. In this study, the authors evaluated the effects of astaxanthin and sesamin with dietary supplementation on people who have dementia or Mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The study concluded that individuals who had astaxanthin in their diet “showed a significantly greater amount of change between the baseline and 12 weeks after supplementation in terms of psychomotor speed and processing speed, compared with individuals in the placebo group…Furthermore, [they] observed a statistically significant increase in processing speed between the baseline and 12 weeks post-supplementation…but no statistical difference in psychomotor speed” (Ito et al.). This shows how limited use of astaxanthin can have a positive effect on our cognitive system by increasing the ability to comprehend, and perform complex tasks quickly and accurately. Furthermore, in other experiments “the administration of astaxanthin prevented depression by inhibiting hippocampal inflammation in diabetic mice” (Ito et al.).
Another 2018 research study, called “Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review,” further explains the mechanism and complications of astaxanthin. The study summarizes the role of astaxanthin in skin physiology and the potential clinical implications associated with its consumption. Ketocarotenoid astaxanthin (ASX) was isolated from a lobster for the study. It is currently a widely adopted compound in various food and pharmaceutical industries. ASX has been a subject of interest because of its “potential pharmacological effects, including anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant activities as well as neuro-, cardiovascular, ocular, and skin-protective effects” (Davinelli et al.). Skin aging is caused by oxidant events that damage DNA, reduce the production of antioxidants, and cause many other issues. Since ASX is an antioxidant, it could delay skin aging. ASX’s unique molecular and biochemical messenger properties have been successful in treating and preventing different skin diseases. In addition, some other studies have shown that ASX “protected against early burn-wound progression by attenuating ROS-induced oxidative stress in a rat deep-burn model” and “inhibited the production of inflammatory mediators by blocking NF-kB activation in human keratinocytes, indicating that ASX may offer an attractive new strategy for treating skin inflammatory diseases” (Davinelli et al.). ASX is also expected to serve as an immune surveillance system against tumours and virus-infected cells. In mice splenocytes, ASX increased antibody production. Likewise, in old mice, ASX restored humoral immune response. In all, ASX has shown some promising results in animal trials.
Even though ASX demonstrated some promising functional roles in preventing skin aging in animal studies, the 2018 study argues that it may not be easy to translate these results to humans since the source of ASX used in cell culture is of unknown origin. In terms of safety, ASX sourced from the microalgae H. pluvialis was approved for consumption as a dietary supplement for humans in the US, Japan, and Europe. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) believes the consumption of 0.034 mg/kg of ASX daily was safe. Later on, the dose was increased to 4mg of ASX per day. Previous studies have not reported the health consequences of using more than 4mg of ASX per day. Salmon flesh contains a range from 3 to 37 mg/kg of ASX, which means that a “200-g serving of salmon provides approximately 1 to 7 mg of ASX” (Davinelli et al.). Also, diet and smoking can affect the absorption of ASX and reduce its half-life. Even though ASX is proven to inhibit inflammatory mediators, ROS induction, and MMP activity, further comprehensive experiments are needed to fully understand its function on the skin.
BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin was ranked fourth in the ranking of the best astaxanthin supplements of 2019. It provides a high dosage of antioxidants, with 12 mg per capsule and day. Based on the “CyanoTech” website, BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin can be used to recover from exercise, in joint health, skin health, cardiovascular health, eye health, and cellular health. Even though astaxanthin has shown some health benefits in animal trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not strictly regulate supplements, including the BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin supplement. There is no guarantee of strength and safety of most supplements but what are the benefits and risks of taking it?
The Benefits and Risks of Taking the BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin Supplement
An article in the Food Is Medicine website argues that astaxanthin can be better than vitamin C. The article says that astaxanthin has many benefits to support “healthy vision, promote brain and heart health, and even increase male fertility…its ability to fight free radicals has been shown to be 6,000 times higher than vitamin C, 550 times higher than vitamin E and 40 times higher than beta-carotene” (Link). Furthermore, astaxanthin enhances exercise by giving a boost in the level of energy at the gym and can prevent injuries. For example, this article argues that astaxanthin can improve joint health by referring to a study that used a “BioAstin” product to help alleviate joint pain associated with tennis elbow and “improving pain associated with joint damage,” like the one seen in rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. For male fertility, since infertility affects approximately 15 percent of couples worldwide, this article refers to a research study at Ghent University Hospital. That study concluded, “astaxanthin achieved higher rates of pregnancy compared with a placebo group” (Link). However, it is not clear whether it is causation or correlation with other factors.
Furthermore, this article referred to a research study, which concluded that astaxanthin can improve the health of the eyes and help maintain 20/20 vision. The referred study took place in 2008 in different animals. Also, this article referred to another study “comprising 48 adults complaining of eye strain found that a supplement containing several nutrients, including astaxanthin, helped reduce symptoms of eye fatigue” (Link). In other words, astaxanthin could be added to the list of supplements that can improve vision, such as lutein, zinc, vitamin A, and zeaxanthin.
However, the article also argues that there could be some side effects of taking too much of the astaxanthin supplement, such as altered hormone levels, hair growth, reduced calcium blood levels, decreased blood pressure, and change in sex drive. Therefore, the article recommends that “if you’re getting it from whole food sources, you should try incorporating a few servings of astaxanthin-rich foods into your diet per week” (Link). In the supplement form, the article referred to some studies that recommended doses of up to 40 milligrams daily for 12 weeks. Also, it is recommended to start with a low dose and work your way up. Finally, since there are different brands and forms for astaxanthin, the article recommends the brand that uses natural astaxanthin rather than synthetic astaxanthin. According to a study “published in Nutrafoods, natural astaxanthin is 20 times more effective at eliminating free radicals than the synthetic astaxanthin” (Link).
A recent article in the Mercola Take Control Your Health website published in April 2019 argues that astaxanthin may benefit hearing “by raising neurotrophin-3 (NT3) levels, a protein that plays a role in the communication between human ears and brain” (“Studies Regarding the Benefits of Astaxanthin”). The article referred to a research study of mice, which supported the previous hypothesis and concluded that astaxanthin helped reverse hearing loss. Also, the article mentions that the only side effect that is documented was a slight reddening of the skin from increasing the dosage. Furthermore, the article recommends visiting a doctor before taking the supplement. This article agrees with the previous article that consuming astaxanthin naturally is more beneficial.
Another article published in 2019 describes the experience that one consumer had with this supplement. The author of the article said, “one of the main reasons I started taking astaxanthin is for its sun-protective benefits. It works as an internal sunscreen of sorts since it reduces inflammation and helps reduce UV light damage to skin cells” (Wells). The author has used this supplement daily for years and takes the supplement with a meal or drink that contains fat. Based on the author’s experience, astaxanthin has been beneficial in protecting her skin from the sun but she does not mention any side effects or health risks of using it which makes the article less reliable.
A 2013 article in the Life Extension Magazine argued that astaxanthin slows brain aging since it crosses the blood-brain barrier, allowing it to saturate and protect brain tissue. For example, in animal studies, astaxanthin reduces the risk of stroke, improves motor activity after stroke, and reduces the size of the affected areas in the brain from the stroke. This study also promotes the idea of using astaxanthin for the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The article says, “studies show that beta-amyloid, the toxic protein found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients is also found on red blood cells, where it reduces oxygen delivery to tissues. Supplementation with astaxanthin has been found to decrease the accumulation of amyloid on red blood cells” (Hawkins). In other words, this article argues that astaxanthin has a safety record with benefits on health.
An article called “Why Some Supplements Are not Safe and What You Can Do To Minimize your Risks” explained that there some fake and cheap astaxanthin supplements that are not as beneficial as the real ones. Real astaxanthin would ‘cause the cooking oil’s color to turn red after gentle mixing… and real astaxanthin is very sensitive to light and will undergo photodegradation and oxidation within 48 hours” (Jasmine et al.). However, fake astaxanthin supplements are usually made in China and are synthetic.
Another article in the “Scientific American” website argues that antioxidant supplements may make cancer worse by helping the cancer cells like they help normal cells. For example, the article says, “a large trial reported in 1994 that daily megadose of the antioxidant beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer in male smokers by 18 percent and a 1996 trial was stopped early researchers discovered that high-dose beta-carotene and retinol, another form of vitamin A, increased lung cancer risk by 28 percent in smokers and workers exposed to asbestos” (Moyer). Furthermore, in a recent 2011 trial that involved over thirty thousand men over fifty years old found that obtaining large doses of vitamin E increased the risk of prostate cancer by 17 percent. However, since these are old trials, we do not know whether with the less technologically advanced equipment, the results were reliable or not. Since astaxanthin is an antioxidant, this makes this supplement under the suspicion of causing some health risks along with the health benefits.
Also, the article referred to another study published in Science Translational Medicine that showed some health risk from taking antioxidant supplements. The study fed the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to mice that were susceptible to melanoma. The dosage given to the mice was the same as the one consumed in supplements. The study concluded that “although the treated mice did not develop more skin tumors than similar mice that had not been fed the antioxidants, they developed twice as many tumors in their lymph nodes, a hallmark of the spread of cancer- a process called metastasis” (Moyer). In other words, the addition of NAC to cultured human melanoma cells improved the cells’ ability to invade nearby membrane. Martin Bergö, a cell biologist at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Cancer Center in Sweden, believes that people who are at risk for lung cancer or disease should avoid using any kind of antioxidant supplements since “there’s no conclusive evidence that it would be beneficial to them, and there’s mounting evidence that it could be harmful” (Moyer). Even though this study did not specifically study astaxanthin, scientists, today, still do not fully understand how antioxidant supplements work. Since astaxanthin is an antioxidant, this study makes it less reliable as an antioxidant supplement.
Would I Recommend BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin Supplement?
A study by KD Market Insights reported the overall astaxanthin market size in 2017, its expected growth in the next six years, and the regions of high demands to this supplement. The areas covered in this report included North America, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. The report said that the “Middle East and Africa Astaxanthin Market was worth USD 56.81 million in 2018 and estimated to be growing at a CAGR of 6.78%, to reach USD 79.01 million by 2023” (“Global Astaxanthin Market Size, Share and Growth”). Even though the astaxanthin supplement is a recent product, it is expected to be used in high demand for the next six years. However, since researchers are still learning about this supplement, I think future studies and results will determine the faith of this supplement.
In my opinion, there is no perfect supplement that works for every single person. For example, vitamin D supplements can be beneficial to help our body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. However, if a vitamin D supplement was overused, it can be toxic to our bodies. In other words, I think any supplement can pose health risks if overused. Therefore, I would recommend using BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin supplement if the consumer is healthy and willing to explore a new supplement. Again, this supplement is still being studied but so far, it has shown many health benefits with limited health risks. Personally, I would wait a few more years for more research on this supplement and then I would use it if I need it.
Ambati, Ranga Rao, et al. “Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and
Its Commercial Applications–a Review.” Marine Drugs, MDPI, 7 Jan. 2014,
Angwafor, Fru, and Mark L Anderson. “An Open Label, Dose Response Study to Determine the
Effect of a Dietary Supplement on Dihydrotestosterone, Testosterone and Estradiol
Levels in Healthy Males.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition,
BioMed Central, 12 Aug. 2008, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2525623/.
“Astaxanthin: A Review of the Literature.” Natural Medicine Journal,
“Astaxanthin: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning.” WebMD, WebMD,
Davinelli, Sergio, et al. “Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive
Review.” Nutrients, MDPI, 22 Apr. 2018,
Fassett, Robert G, and Jeff S Coombes. “Astaxanthin: a Potential Therapeutic Agent in
Cardiovascular Disease.” Marine Drugs, Molecular Diversity Preservation International,
21 Mar. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3083660/.
“Global Astaxanthin Market Size, Share, Growth, Trends, Opportunity and Forecast 2018-2023.”
Hawkins, Liam. “Astaxanthin Provides Broad Spectrum Protection.” LifeExtension.com, 15 Apr.
ltd, Market Data Forecast. “MEA Astaxanthin Market by Type and Size | Industry Report 2023.”
Market Data Forecast, 5 Oct. 2018,
Ito, Naoki, et al. “Effects of Composite Supplement Containing Astaxanthin and Sesamin on
Cognitive Functions in People with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized,
Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease : JAD, IOS
Press, 27 Mar. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5900571/.
Jasmine, et al. “Why Supplements Are Unsafe, Toxic and Dangerous and What Can You Do to
Minimize the Risks .” Why Supplements Are Unsafe, Toxic and Dangerous, 23 June 2015,
“Learn Benefits of Astaxanthin.” Nutrex Hawaii,
Link, Rachael. “This ‘King of Carotenoids’ Is Even More Beneficial than Vitamin C.” Dr. Axe,
Dr Axe Food Is Medicine, 6 Dec. 2018, www.draxe.com/astaxanthin-benefits/.
Moyer, Melinda Wenner. “Antioxidants May Make Cancer Worse.” Scientific American, 7 Oct.
“Ranking the Best Astaxanthin Supplements of 2019.” BodyNutrition, 25 Jan. 2019,
“Relative Antioxidant Activity.” Cyanotech. 28 Apr. 2019
“Studies Regarding the Benefits of Astaxanthin.” Mercola.com,
Wells, Katie. “Health Benefits of Astaxanthin | Wellness Mama.” Wellness Mama®, 19 Apr.