Molecular Formula: C40H52O4
Molar mass:596.84 g/mol
Astaxanthin (pronounced as-tuh-zan'-thin) is a carotenoid. It belongs to a larger class of phytochemicals known as terpenes. It is classified as a xanthophyll, which means "yellow leaves". Like many carotenoids, it is a colorful, fat/oil-soluble pigment. Astaxanthin can be found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans, and the feathers of some birds. Professor Basil Weedon was the first to map the structures of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin, unlike some carotenoids, does not convert to Vitamin A (retinol) in the human body. Too much Vitamin A is toxic for a human, but astaxanthin is not. However, it is a powerful antioxidant; it is 10 times more capable than other carotenoids.
Astaxanthin is used as a feed supplement for salmon, crabs, shrimp, chickens and egg production. Regardless of the source, astaxanthin provides some important benefits beyond coloration. It also has been found to be essential for proper growth and survival.
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