Natural Astaxanthin–The Brain Food That Keeps You Sharp

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

The brain is the most complex organ in our body, receiving and processing information every moment of our life and its activity accounts for 20 percent of our body’s energy expenditure. The brain reacts to physical challenges, orchestrates our body’s response and controls our emotional state and cognitive functions. As we grow older, we start experiencing a slow decline in mental and cognitive capacities that may lead to memory deficits, dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease. With a growing population over 60 years of age, the number of people with age-related mental challenges is increasing rapidly.

This global trend causes a strong interest in brain health products, not only for the elderly but for individuals of all ages. The search for natural ingredients fortifying the “body-brain” axis gave rise to a new group of health products, called Nootropics. The term nootropic comes from ancient Greek and means to shape the mind. While in the past cognitive health products were primarily focusing on the aging population – the baby boomers – the younger generation of the millennials is discovering nootropics as a natural way to enhance mental performance, stay focused and fight off fatigue.


Antioxidants are the guardians of the brain

Among the top ingredients for brain health, antioxidants play an important role and there is increasing evidence that they demonstrate a multitude of brain health. Because high oxygen consumption and elevated energy metabolism generates large amounts of free radicals and other aggressive oxygen species, the brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress and damage. Mitochondria – the power plants of our cells – play a vital role in generating the energy necessary to maintain optimal brain function.

Assuring a constant supply of energy in form of ATP, mitochondria are to blame for the large amounts of free radicals they produce as byproducts. When we are young, our natural antioxidant system keeps the oxidant status of the cells in balance. But as we age, the defense weakens, aggressive oxygen species get the upper hand and our cognitive capacities start to decline. The interaction of antioxidants with brain structures protect cells from the destructive effects cause by free radicals, allows the cells to grow, protects synaptic plasticity in the brain and increases cerebral blood flow which satisfy the high oxygen demand to maintain cognitive function. Supplementation with dietary antioxidants can help to rebalance the antioxidant status and reduce oxidative stress and damage to neural cells.


Natural astaxanthin, the most powerful antioxidant

The natural antioxidant astaxanthin, extracted from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, deserves our attention because it is capable of crossing the blood-brain-barrier where it can deliver its exceptional antioxidant capabilities and potency as a quencher of free radicals to brain cells. Although astaxanthin is well known to enhance muscle health and physical performance, a multitude of studies are giving evidence for its brain health benefits.  Studies have shown that natural astaxanthin enhances blood flow, providing neural cells with oxygen and nutrients, offers neuroprotection and suppresses neuro-inflammatory events that can lead to cerebral haemorrhages.


Energy keeps the brain spinning

In the resting state, the brain uses about 20 percent of the body’s energy, energy produced by our cell’s power houses, the mitochondria. The energy-producing process of the mitochondria generates large amounts of aggressive oxygen molecules that can damage cells and can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction. Astaxanthin has the capability to neutralise these oxygen molecules and protects the mitochondrial redox state and function.


Keep your brain young and fight mental fatigue

Forgetfulness and difficulties to concentrate can be the first signs of cognitive decline. Supplementing the daily diet with natural astaxanthin can help to improve memory and enhance cognitive functioning. In a clinical study with 96 elderly patients with symptoms of forgetfulness it was shown that supplementation with natural astaxanthin significantly improved mental agility, reaction time, multitasking, memory and learning.

Daily life very often exposes us to physical and mental stress that can affect our cognitive function and general mental wellbeing. In a study simulating daily stress by exposing healthy participants to a combination of physical (cycling) and mental (calculation) tasks revealed that individuals receiving astaxanthin as a dietary supplement showed better results during the mental task, felt less stress, expressed higher mental clarity and focus, and evaluated their mental wellbeing significantly higher than the participants in the placebo group.


Formulating with AstaReal® Natural Astaxanthin

In recent years, numerous clinical studies have established natural astaxanthin as a promising health ingredient, many of these studies can be attributed to AstaReal® Natural Astaxanthin. As the excitement about the prospects for this ingredient grows, more health supplements containing natural astaxanthin are entering the market. Market research (Innova Market Insights) revealed that in 2018, 28 percent of all new supplements that contained astaxanthin targeted the brain health sector.

The increasing demand for natural astaxanthin raises questions regarding the source and quality of astaxanthin raw materials offered in the market. Quality is paramount when it comes to natural astaxanthin. Because microalgae are the most common source of natural astaxanthin, the quality of the ingredient depends on the environment in which the algae are cultivated.


Click here to download our latest infographic on “Brain Health and Nootropics”


Who we are

30 years ago, AstaReal pioneered the technology to produce natural astaxanthin from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis and was the first company to commercially produce natural astaxanthin.

Today AstaReal® is the global brand name for natural astaxanthin products by Fuji Chemical Industries Co., Ltd. As a worldwide pioneer and expert in natural astaxanthin cultivation, R&D and clinical science, we offer a variety of specialised astaxanthin formats to help meet customer requirements when developing food supplements, functional food and drinks, cosmetics and pet food.

Unlike other companies, Fuji Chemical has chosen to cultivate Haematococcus pluvialis indoors using state-of-the-art photo-bioreactors that allow growing the algae to full maturity in a perfectly controlled environment. The result is a safe product of constant and high quality.

Being at the forefront of pre-clinical and clinical research, today, AstaReal® is the most studied natural astaxanthin brand worldwide with more than 60 clinical studies in our portfolio.

We are proud to offer an ingredient that is truly backed by science. In addition, we dedicate our efforts to create new, innovative formulations, combining our AstaReal® natural astaxanthin with other important ingredients that together, will help us to stay healthy.

For further information or references please visit:

or contact us directly:

Company contact

Joerg Schnackenberg, PhD

Global Sales Headquarters

APO Business Department

Fuji Chemical Industries Co., Ltd.

Sumitomo Fudosan Onarimon Tower 10th Floor,

Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0011 Japan

[email protected]