Derived from Hawaiian Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae cultivated under pristine conditions, esterfied astaxanthin is a stable, powerful, fat-soluble antioxidant from the carotenoid family. Research has found that Haematococcus algae produce astaxanthin to protect themselves against ultraviolet-induced free radical damage. Astaxanthin is different from beta-carotene in that it has two additional oxygenated groups on each of its ring structures, enhancing its ability to scavenge free radicals. Astaxanthin has demonstrated to be several hundred times more effective than vitamin E in neutralizing singlet oxygen molecules and has been shown to exert greater antioxidant activity than both zeaxanthin and lutein. Astaxanthin protects the phospholipid membranes of cells from oxidative damage. In a human clinical evaluation, supplementation with astaxanthin for two weeks provided significant antioxidant protection for the skin.
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