Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that’s sourced from some of the healthiest foods in the world: salmon and microalgae.
It’s also a prominent ingredient in krill oils, where its antioxidant capabilities work in synergy with omega-3 fatty acids.
The anti-aging and disease-preventing effects of this rich, orange-colored compound are hard to match. If you are looking to feel younger and healthier at the same time, astaxanthin is one of the best supplements you can find.
We’ve ranked the best astaxanthin supplements on the market according to their quality and purity, plus took a close look at the latest science on the benefits of astaxanthin.
Last updated: March 28, 2023
Astaxanthin supplements considered: 29
Hours of research: 33
Experts reviewed: 5
Scientific papers referenced: 13
1. Sports Research High Potency Astaxanthin
The astaxanthin supplement by Sports Research comes with its lipid-soluble astaxanthin dissolved in coconut oil, with a very clean ingredients list. There’s only the bare minimum amount of extra ingredients (just enough to hold the capsule together).
With a solid 12 mg of astaxanthin per capsule, and 60 capsules per bottle, the dosage is up to the industry standard.
2. BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin
BioAstin is an older astaxanthin supplement, but it still provides a high dosage of the antioxidant, with 12 mg per capsule.
The other ingredients leave something to be desired, though–it’d be nice to see a higher quality oil used to dissolve the astaxanthin.
3. Pure Encapsulations Astaxanthin
Pure Encapsulations delivers exactly what they’re know for best with this supplement: a middle of the road dosage in a simple and pure package. They use extra virgin olive oil for delivering the astaxanthin, which comes in a 4 mg dose. If you don’t need a super-potent dosage, it’s a great option.
4. Jarrow Formulas Astaxanthin
The astaxanthin supplement from Jarrow Formulas is not quite as good as its competitors, on large part because of its lower dosage.
At 12 mg per capsule, you get exactly the high dosage that you’d expect from a top-rated product. The formulation is simple, though vegans won’t be a fan of the gelatin based capsule.
5. Micro Ingredients Astaxanthin
Known for super-pure products, Micro Ingredients provides an solid quality astaxanthin supplement that delivers a heavy-hitting 12 mg of astaxanthin per caspule, dissolved in sunflower oil. The capsule is vegan-friendly, though the delivery lipid doesn’t quite measure up to some of the competition.
6. Pure Synergy SuperPure Astaxanthin
Pure Synergy provides a 6 mg dosage capsule of astaxanthin whose bioavailability has been enhanced by the addition of phospholipids.
Whether this makes a real difference in terms of the health benefits is unclear, but it does serve as an effective lipid-based delivery agent. That aside, there’s not much else to distinguish this astaxanthin supplement from the pack, but it’s not a bad pick.
7. Dr. Mercola Astaxanthin
Unlike many other astaxanthin supplements, Dr. Mercola’s formulation adds in alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) at a concentration of 300 mg per capsule.
Unfortunately, the actual astaxanthin content is fairly low, at 4 mg per serving. So, if you aren’t interested in the ALA, you aren’t getting the purest supplement formulation for your money.
8. NOW Astaxanthin
With only 4 mg per capsule, and a hybrid olive oil and refined soy oil solvent as the dissolving agent, NOW Astaxanthin is not going to be the right choice for very many people. While it does come in other serving sizes, the design philosophy is still the same.
Even at the low dosage range, there are better options out there as far as ingredient purity and clean supplement design.
9. We Like Vitamins Astaxanthin
At first glance, We Like Vitamins’ astaxanthin offering seems like a nice middle of the road dosage at 8 mg per serving. But the catch is that the serving size is two capsules, so it’s down at the low end of the dosage.
It also doesn’t include any sort of fat-based solvent to dissolve the astaxanthin, so the absorption may not be as good as a competitor. This would lower the effective dosage even further, landing it at the bottom of the rankings.
10. Nutricost Astaxanthin
Nutricost makes a standard, no-frill astaxanthin supplement that delivers 4 mg dosage per capsule, but there’s not much else to write home about—no innovative additional ingredients, no high-quality oils delivering the astaxanthin, and not a great dosage for people looking for powerful antioxidant effects.
Best astaxanthin overall: Sports Research Triple Strength Astaxanthin
Sports Research makes a fantastic astaxanthin that features an industry-leading 12 mg dosage. On top of that, it’s completely devoid of unnecessary additives, making it an easy pick for the best overall astaxanthin supplement.
Best astaxanthin with krill oil: 1MD KrillMD
1MD’s KrillMD provides krill oil in combination with a solid dose of astaxanthin, helping both of these supplements work together to reduce inflammation in your body. If you want to take astaxanthin the way it’s found in nature, go with 1MD.
Best astaxanthin for skin health: BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin
To nourish skin, you likely need to lean towards the high end of dosage, so go for a supplement like BioAstin, which offers 12 mg of astaxanthin per capsule, if your goal is skin health.
Best vegan astaxanthin: Sports Research Triple Strength Astaxanthin
Sports Research isn’t just great for high-dosage astaxanthin delivery, it also sources its astaxanthin from microalgae instead of from crustaceans. If you want a vegan-friendly astaxanthin supplement, look no further than Sports Research.
Best astaxanthin for aging: 1MD KrillMD
To fight aging, astaxanthin is best combined with a source of omega 3 fatty acids. Krill oil is the perfect way to do this—and in fact, it’s one of the relatively few places where astaxanthin is found in nature. 1MD KrillMD is the best product that combines the antioxidant power of astaxanthin and omega 3s, making it great for older adults.
Best astaxanthin for workout soreness and recovery: Pure Encapsulations Astaxanthin
As with other powerful antioxidants, moderation is the name of the game when it comes to using astaxanthin for post-workout soreness and recovery. That’s why we recommend Pure Encapsulations, which has 4 mg of astaxanthin per capsule to reduce soreness without impeding recovery.
Who should buy astaxanthin?
As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, astaxanthin is squarely in the category of supplements that are good for people optimizing for long-term health. Concretely, this includes people in the following categories:
People who want to limit the negative effects of oxidative damage in their body. Oxidation from internal sources (i.e. metabolism) and external sources (like UV rays in sunlight) causes cellular aging to many types of cells, including skin cells and immune cells, which explains why astaxanthin has been successful at reducing skin aging and boosting immune function in older adults.
Unlike a weight loss supplement or a nootropic, you aren’t going to see immediate benefits from astaxanthin the first time you take it. Rather, taking a powerful antioxidant supplement like astaxanthin is all about setting up the biochemical environment in your body to enable you to feel and look healthier and younger.
When taken on a regular basis, it can boost the level of antioxidants in your body and reduce the level of oxidative stress that you’re exposed to.
People who want to reduce risk factors for heart disease. Astaxanthin holds a lot of promise for reducing risk factors for heart disease: since heart disease can be thought of as fundamentally an inflammatory condition, the connection here makes a lot of sense.
People who want to improve cognitive function as they get older. As with many antioxidants, the potential benefits of astaxanthin for the brain are one of the most exciting areas of application.
Astaxanthin finds wide use among health-conscious older adults, which is great because this is exactly the population that stands the best chance of benefiting from this supplement.
By fighting inflammation and keeping oxidative damage under control, astaxanthin could sustain healthy cognitive function into old age.
How we ranked
Since astaxanthin is a supplement that’s undergone a lot of scientific research, we hewed pretty close to the clinical recommendations with regards to dosage when formulating our rankings. Here were the criteria we used:
Dosage in line with the best clinical research. Just by restricting our field of products to those that provided an adequate dose of astaxanthin (at least 4 mg of pure astaxanthin per capsule), the number of products that were eligible for the rankings dropped pretty sharply.
This criteria ensured that our best supplements would deliver the same benefits seen in clinical trials.
Astaxanthin-focused supplements only. For the sake of purity and efficacy, we chose to focus only on products whose primary purpose was supplying astaxanthin—we dropped multi-ingredient antioxidant supplements whose primary goal was not delivering astaxanthin specifically.
We did, however, include brands that provided astaxanthin alongside one or two other potentially useful secondary compounds, such as the alpha-lipoic acid in Dr. Mercola’s Astaxanthin, as long as these secondary ingredients could plausibly enhance the efficacy of the astaxanthin, either in terms of bioavailability or in terms of biological action.
Lipid-dissolved astaxanthin for maximum bioavailability. We also eliminated any astaxanthin products that did not deliver their astaxanthin in some kind of lipid (i.e. an oil or a fat).
We made this decision because astaxanthin is always found in nature dissolved in a lipid (for example, in krill oil), and it’s best absorbed when dissolved in some kind of fat or oil.
High-quality fats in the capsule. After dropping products that didn’t include astaxanthin in a lipid soluble form, we started looking at the quality of the lipid that astaxanthin was delivered in.
We rewarded supplements that used highly coveted types of oils, like coconut oil or olive oil, rating these products highly, while astaxanthin supplements that used cheaper and less healthy oils like soybean oil or canola oil ended up lower in the rankings.
Vegan-friendly capsule formulations. We also put a higher priority than usual on vegan and vegetarian-friendly capsules and ingredients, because astaxanthin (which is derived from microalgae) is a popular way for vegetarians and vegans to get some of the antioxidant power that you’d usually have to get from seafood like salmon, shrimp, or krill.
Our final rankings represent the best options for astaxanthin on the market right now. These products are effective, potent, and free of unnecessary fillers and binders.
Q: What is astaxanthin?
A: Astaxanthin is a deep red molecule that’s found in foods like shrimp, krill, salmon, and crayfish. It’s what gives many seafoods their orange or red color.
But astaxanthin is much more than a colorful compound. Like the phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables, it carries powerful antioxidant properties. This means that it can be very helpful for reducing inflammation, oxidative damage, and their consequences (namely, cellular aging and an increased risk for chronic disease).
Q: What is astaxanthin good for?
A: Astaxanthin is primarily useful for its antioxidant properties. It’s a good supplement to take if you are trying to set yourself up for long-term health.
While it’s not as quick or efficacious at boosting your mood or energy levels as some other supplements, it will help keep your body’s overall antioxidant levels high, hopefully helping you improve your wellness over the course of weeks or months and beyond.
Astaxanthin, according to some preliminary research, is also good for reducing your risk factors for heart disease and for preserving or improving cognitive function as you get older, again because of its antioxidant properties.
Q: Is astaxanthin better than CoQ10?
A: Astaxanthin and CoQ10 have some crossover in their applications, but they work through fundamentally different mechanisms.
CoQ10 boosts cellular energy by providing assistance to mitochondria, which explains its two primary applications: boosting athletic performance and preserving or enhancing brain function.
Astaxanthin may also help preserve brain function as you get older, but it does so by preventing oxidative damage to the brain.
Because these two supplements work by fundamentally different mechanisms, it’s hard to characterize one as “better” than the other. CoQ10 and astaxanthin have different applications, and whether each is right for you will depend on exactly the kinds of benefits that you want out of your supplementation routine.
Q: Can astaxanthin help your skin?
A: Yes, one of the primary potential applications of astaxanthin is to improve skin quality in older adults. As a potent antioxidant, astaxanthin has been intently studied as a way to reduce oxidative damage to skin.
For example, one study published in 2018 was able to demonstrate that a nine week supplementation regimen of four milligrams of astaxanthin per day was able to significantly improve deterioration in skin cells due to ultraviolet light exposure (1).
Studies like this and others show that astaxanthin (even when taken orally in a capsule!) can have a marked effect on skin quality if you are looking for anti-aging effects to reduce skin damage and wrinkles.
Astaxanthin is rightfully considered to be the king of carotenoids, since it has some absolutely remarkable health benefits.
There are very few supplements that don’t have any negative side effects attached to them, which makes it perfect for people looking to get the benefits of increased antioxidant power for long-term health.
Astaxanthin appears to be helpful for reducing aging, decreasing risk factors for chronic diseases like heart disease, and fighting the kind of oxidative damage that can lead to high levels of systemic inflammation.
The optimal dosage of astaxanthin has yet to be determined, but clinical research has tested doses ranging from four to 40 mg of astaxanthin. For best results, choose an astaxanthin supplement that provides
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 astaxanthin recommendation, click here.