• Recommendations

Astaxanthin : Dosage, Benefits and Contraindications

These recommendations are given for informational purpose only, for healthy adults.

At the end of 2017 a new microalgae, Haematococcus pluvialis, and its extract, astaxanthin, were authorized for human consumption by the European Commission.

Astaxanthin, extract from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, has been included in the list of novel foods or food supplements[1] defined by the European Commission on Novel Foods, in accordance with the novel food regulation (EU) 2015/2283.

Astaxanthin: definition, origin, explanation

Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family of more than 600 molecules, the most famous of which are beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are pigments whose colour can vary from red, orange to yellow. They are commonly found in living things. They are synthesized by all plants because they play a major role in photosynthesis, a reaction that uses carbon dioxide and light to produce organic compounds and oxygen.

Salmon, lobster, shrimp, or flamingo have pretty orange colors because they eat algae that contain carotenoids!

Astaxanthin is a bright red pigment. It is naturally produced by the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. The natural food supplement Astaxanthin is therefore an extract of this microalgae. It can also be produced by chemical synthesis. It is this much cheaper synthetic product that is used to feed farmed salmon or trout to give their flesh a pretty orange colour.

Astaxanthin has particularly interesting effects on our body. Scientists explain its benefits on our health by the fact that it is a powerful antioxidant !

Dosage and benefits of astaxanthin

8 mg astaxanthin per day is recommended, equivalent to a consumption of 1.6 kg of fresh salmon. Astaxanthin is consumed per cure of 2 to 3 months.

In the European Commission’s text, mention is made of an authorisation for a recommended intake of up to 80 mg of Haematococcus pluvialis oleoresin, or 8 mg astaxanthin per day.

Clinical studies conducted in Japan show that a daily consumption of 4 mg of astaxanthin provides significant protection of the skin against the effects of UV rays and that a consumption of 6 mg per day shows an improvement in skin elasticity, wrinkles, dry skin, age spots, eyes.

Major athletes use minimum doses of 16 mg per day.

Among the scientific publications reporting the efficacy of astaxanthin, some have been conducted with high doses: from 40 mg to 100 mg per day. A dose of 40 mg per day has been shown to be effective in improving gastric reflux syndrome, particularly in people infected with Helicobacter piloris[2].

The maximum amount of astaxanthin present in the blood appears between 8 and 10 hours after a 40 mg dose.

When to take astaxanthin during the day?

Astaxanthin should be taken with or immediately after a meal. Indeed, studies show that its assimilation is optimized in the presence of lipids (*).

(*) pharmacokinetic research has been conducted using 40 mg[3] or 100 mg of asta per day[4]. They specify that the best absorption of astaxanthin is in the presence of lipids. It is therefore recommended to consume it during or just after a meal[5].

Side effects and dangers of astaxanthin?

No negative side effects or dangers have been reported to date for regular doses of up to 40 mg per day.

Contraindication to astaxanthin?

No contraindications to astaxanthin have been identified to date.

However, as a precautionary principle, astaxanthin is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women.

Possibility of association with astaxanthin?

Depending on its needs, astaxanthin can be taken in combination with chlorella and spirulina.

For the search for anti-inflammatory effects (painkillers), the combination of chlorella and astaxanthin is judicious.

Reminder: it is recommended to take chlorella in the morning on an empty stomach, spirulina in the evening before the meal. Astaxanthin is best taken during or after a meal because it is best assimilated in the presence of lipids.


[1] Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2470 of 20 December 2017 establishing the Union list of novel foods in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 of the European Parliament and of the Council on novel foods

[2]  Kupcinskas L, Lafolie P, Lignell Å, Kiudelis G, Jonaitis L, Adamonis K, et al. Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without helicobacter pylori infection: a prospective, randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine (2008) 15(6–7):391–9. 

[3]  Mercke Odeberg J, Lignell A, Pettersson A, Höglund P. Oral bioavailability of the antioxidant astaxanthin in humans is enhanced by incorporation of lipid based formulations. Eur J Pharm Sci (2003) 19(4):299–304. 

[4]  Østerlie M, Bjerkeng B, Liaaen-Jensen S. Plasma appearance and distribution of astaxanthin E/Z and R/S isomers in plasma lipoproteins of men after single dose administration of astaxanthin. J Nutr Biochem (2000) 11(10):482–90. 

[5]  Okada Y, Ishikura M, Maoka T. Bioavailability of astaxanthin in Haematococcus algal extract: the effects of timing of diet and smoking habits. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem (2009) 73(9):1928–32.