Other names Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract
Astaxanthin is a natural antioxidant used by some people in supplement form to improve mood and focus. But is it effective? Read on to find out what the science says.
Read about the effects of Astaxanthin in relation to the amount of evidence we've found
The legality and side effects of Astaxanthin
You should always consider the risks of a nootropic before you use it.
No negative side effects were seen in any of the studies that we reviewed.
Supplements and drugs can interact with Astaxanthin to increase or decrease the positive or negative effects you experience. If you are already using any supplements or drugs, speak with your trusted medical professional before you experiment with Astaxanthin. To learn more about the potential interactions between Astaxanthin and other substances, use interaction-checker.
Is your country not included? Learn how to find out if Astaxanthin is legal in your country.
The contents herein are not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While we have done our best to be as accurate as possible in the information we convey to you about the legality of nootropics, there is a risk for inaccuracies and errors. If you’re uncertain about the legality of any of your actions, contact a legal counsel or your local authorities governing the legality of various substances you may want to use/import/travel with.
How To Use
Dose, frequency and duration
Frequently asked questions about Astaxanthin
What substances may stack well with Astaxanthin?
Some findings suggest that Astaxanthin is better absorbed when consumed with fat sources, such as medium-chain triglycerides or Omega 3.  Around 3-5g dietary fats are likely sufficient to aid absorption of Astaxanthin.
In one study in 24 healthy people, no adverse effects were found when a combination of 6mg Astaxanthin and 10mg Sesamin were given.  The combination "was associated with significantly improved recovery from mental fatigue compared with placebo".
Another study examined the effects of 6mg Astaxanthin combined with 10mg Sesamin in 21 people with mild cognitive impairment who were otherwise healthy.  The authors of this study concluded:
"The CNSVS test revealed significant improvements in psychomotor speed and processing speed in the AS group compared with the placebo group, suggesting that the daily supplementation of AS improved cognitive functions related to the ability to comprehend, and perform complex tasks quickly and accurately." 
No adverse events were related to the combination of Astaxanthin and Sesamin in this study. 
It should be noted that preserved mental energy levels have been observed in healthy humans subsequent to consumption of this Astaxanthin-Sesamin combination, but that enhanced cognitive function has not been found (since it hasn't been studied).
Other than the Astaxanthin-Sesamin combination, there's no Astaxanthin stack backed by high-quality research.
Before combining any drugs or supplements, talk with your trusted medical professional about the risks involved.
How does it feel when you take Astaxanthin?
The following qualitative user experience reports and reviews are included to give you an understanding of what the experience of taking Astaxanthin is like.
Anecdotal Astaxanthin experience reports and reviews from Reddit
One person reported the following from the use of Astaxanthin:
"This stuff rocks! I know some people worry about DHT and what not but I haven’t noticed any libido killing effects, quite the opposite actually. I take 4mg twice a day, morning and at night. I kid you not within a couple days I noticed a massive improvement in my skin tone and fine line reduction.
I also notice it helps my anxiety and improves my mood. There’s some studies on this if you look it up. Great stuff!" 
Another redditor said the following about Astaxanthin:
"I started supplementing with astaxanthin a couple of days ago and I feel absolutely incredible on it. I feel like my brain is wired and dialed into whatever I am doing. It's like I drank a large cup of coffee with out any of the jittery side effects. It really seems to help really well with my verbal fluency and memory also." 
But several people responded to this redditor saying they had no such effects, including the following personal report:
"I've taken 12mg/day for 6 months and can't say I've noticed anything like that." 
Is Astaxanthin neuroprotective?
It is likely that the neuroprotective effects of Astaxanthin depend on what the factor that is damaging neurons in the brain is. For example, lack of oxygen or dangerously high glutamate levels in the brain can lead to increased neuronal death. Astaxanthin is likely to protect neurons from some forms of neurochemical toxicity, but not from everything you might expose your brain to.
It has been found in several studies that Astaxanthin can protect neurons in living rat brains if the rats are treated in a way that normally results in neuronal death.  It appears especially effective in protecting cells from oxidative stress damage.
It is likely, but not entirely certain, that Astaxanthin would have similar benefits in certain conditions of increased neuronal damage in humans.
Who should use Astaxanthin?
There’s a need for more high-quality scientific information about the safety and effectiveness of Astaxanthin. Specifically, there’s a great degree of individual variance in how people respond to nootropics in general and Astaxanthin in particular. This means that if you use Astaxanthin, you may not experience the same effects as those that were seen in scientific studies on it.
It is currently largely unknown what factors play a role in whether a nootropic will be effective for a person.
While we wait for science to explain who is likely to respond to which nootropics, patient self-experimentation with nootropics that have been found safe and effective in placebo-controlled studies in healthy humans is a proven strategy to feel and perform better with the help of nootropics.
Studies conducted on the effects of Astaxanthin in healthy humans
In the 1 study that met our inclusion criteria, 58 participants received Astaxanthin. In total, we examined 3 studies on the effects Astaxanthin, which you can find summaries of below.
While AST significantly improved TT performance the mechanism of action explaining this effect remains obscure.
"Prolonged astaxanthin supplementation does not augment antioxidant capacity, increase fat oxidative capacity, or improve time trial performance in trained cyclists."
This study is used in our recommendation engine calculations. Learn more about how we select studies
"In conclusion, the results suggested that astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis extract improves cognitive function in the healthy aged individuals."
Adults using 6 Milligram
Adults using 12 Milligram
Last updated Saturday, June 10, 2023