AstaReal Inc. (Burlington, NJ), manufacturer of astaxanthin for the dietary supplement, food, and beverage industries, is focusing its research efforts on AstaReal, the company’s premier astaxanthin product. With 133 studies completed thus far, AstaReal is spearheading the research on astaxanthin. “AstaReal astaxanthin has been researched clinically for applications in skin health, vision support, and sports nutrition,” says Joe Kuncewitch, national sales manager at AstaReal. The latest study, published in the Journal of Clinical Therapeutics & Medicines, found AstaReal astaxanthin to exert beneficial effects against both mental and physical fatigue.4
Study subjects in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study consumed AstaReal astaxanthin twice daily for eight weeks (12 mg/day). “Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) analysis showed that AstaReal astaxanthin significantly reduced perceived symptoms of mental and physical fatigue compared to the placebo,” says Kuncewitch. “These included improvements in cognitive acuity, concentration, motivation, and mood. Irritation and feeling of body heaviness were noticeably reduced,” he explains. In the same study, supplementation with astaxanthin significantly reduced salivary cortisol levels, a biomarker of stress.
AlgaeHealth (Irvine, CA), a division of BGG, is also keeping up with the research trends on astaxanthin. “Our latest research, which will be published in June of this year, shows an excellent cardio-respiratory result in trail runners,” says Bob Capelli, executive vice president, global marketing, at AlgaeHealth. “These were not highly trained athletes, but everyday people working out for a half marathon,” he adds.
According to Shawn Talbott, PhD, of EQQIL, an independent research and development company that conducted and supervised the study on behalf of AlgaeHealth, the significance of this research is “that we found a very novel effect of natural astaxanthin to improve overall cardiovascular function.” He further notes that “the subjects in this study were able to perform the same amount of ‘work’—but at a lower cardiovascular ‘strain’ after supplementing with astaxanthin.” The study’s abstract will be presented at the upcoming 2017 American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Denver.
The Future Looks Bright
With the astaxanthin product market getting more competitive by the day, it’s important to understand which types of astaxanthin formulations can provide a competitive advantage. According to NAXA’s Kantowski, astaxanthin softgels continue to be in high demand.
“We’ve seen an increase in demand for astaxanthin products with higher single dosage levels—i.e., 12-mg single softgels,” she says. Furthermore, she notes that the market is demanding additional third-party verification. Along these lines, NAXA has launched the NAXA Verification Program (NAVP), which ensures that each astaxanthin product submitted for verification is derived exclusively from its natural source, H. pluvialis; that it is third-party independently tested; and that it has been grown following good manufacturing practices.
To gain a competitive edge, astaxanthin suppliers are also getting creative with consumer product applications. “For example, AstaReal has developed a method for incorporating astaxanthin oleoresin directly into baked goods,” says Kuncewitch. The company also has in place a spray-drying process that produces water-dispersible astaxanthin powder, P2AF, suitable for instant-beverage applications. According to Kuncewitch, “the powder can be applied directly to liquid and mixed mechanically or can be made into an effervescent tablet and added to the drink.” AstaReal also has a water-soluble product, Clear100, for beverages requiring high clarity.
Consumer education remains the driving force behind the continued interest in astaxanthin products. “Cyanotech is very active with educating our consumers,” says Cysewski. “We conduct demos in retail stores where our products are sold, as well as train store employees on the benefits of astaxanthin.”
AlgaeHealth is also active in consumer education and “works closely with its branded customers to help them educate consumers on the diverse, clinically validated benefits of natural astaxanthin,” says Capelli. The company has a series of white papers which examine these health benefits in detail, as well as “a 500-plus-page abstract list so our customers can quickly and easily review the various health benefits and see the depth and quality of research in each area.”
Cysewski believes that astaxanthin demand will continue to grow in areas where people can feel a real difference from its consumption. “These areas include joint health, faster recovery from strenuous exercise, maintaining good skin health under exposure to UV radiation, and eye health,” he says. Capelli predicts significant growth for astaxanthin in the antiaging industry in the coming years. “As people get older, they become concerned with their eyes and brain, their energy levels and strength diminish, their skin starts to sag, they get aches and pains, and their hearts become weaker,” he says. “Fortunately, in one supplement they can get support for all of these issues and more. It’s really the ultimate antiaging supplement,” he concludes.
- Ambati RR et al., “Astaxanthin: sources, extraction, stability, biological activities and its commercial applications–a review,” Marine Drugs, vol. 12, no. 1 (January 2014): 128-152
- Nishida Y et al., “Quenching activities of common hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidants against singlet oxygen using chemiluminescence detection system,” Carotenoid Science, vol. 11 (January 2007): 16-20
- Visioli F et al., “Astaxanthin in cardiovascular health and disease: mechanisms of action, therapeutic merits, and knowledge gaps,” Food & Function, vol. 8, no. 1 (January 2017): 39-63
- Hongo N et al., “Randomized controlled trial of the anti-fatigue effects of astaxanthin on mental and physical loads simulating daily life,” Journal of Clinical Therapeutics & Medicines, vol. 32, no. 7 (July 2016): 277-291