Belonging to the carotenoid family, astaxanthin is a pigment with unparalleled antioxidant virtues. These antioxidant properties are superior to other active ingredients, such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, or even vitamin E. Let's focus on the origin of the antioxidant power of astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin, the antioxidant pigment superior to beta-carotene.
- What is Astaxanthin?
- What about the antioxidant power of astaxanthin?
- Astaxanthin: In which Typology skincare product can it be found?
What is Astaxanthin?
Belonging to the family of carotenoids, theastaxanthin is a liposoluble pigment classified within the large family of terpenes and phytochemical compounds. Its structure was first discovered by Professor Basil WEEDON in 1975. He then determined that, unlike other carotenoids, astaxanthin does not convert into vitamin A in the body. This peculiarity has paved the way for in-depth studies of this molecule. Indeed, an excess of vitamin A in the body is harmful to health.
Astaxanthin typically originates from unicellular algae with its primary natural source being the micro-algae Haematococcus pluvialis. Found in a solid form, it displays a red or orange colour. Present in certain seafood, its colour explains the orange-red colouration of crustaceans (shrimp, lobsters, crabs, lobsters...) and fish (salmon, trout...).
What about the antioxidant power of astaxanthin?
The potent and unique antioxidant power of astaxanthin rests on its ability to cross the cell membrane. Indeed, it possesses both lipophilic and hydrophilic properties. It can combine with the cell membrane from both the inside and the outside. Due to its chemical structure, its polar groups overlap the polar regions of the cell membrane, while the central non-polar area of the molecule inserts itself into the internal non-polar region of the membrane.
Thus, astaxanthin can take a transmembrane alignment in biological membranes, assisting in maintaining the membrane structure and reducing membrane fluidity. This property allows it to act as a cellular shield to combat free radicals, thereby protecting the entire cells of the organism.
The presence of hydroxyl (OH) and ketone (C=O) groups on each ionone grouping is the reason for its higher antioxidant activity. The oxo function is capable of stabilising carbon radicals through resonance, which may explain the powerful antioxidant properties of astaxanthin without pro-oxidant contributions. This means it can never cause destructive oxidation in the body, which is a health benefit.
Astaxanthin traps singlet oxygen, a source of oxidative stress. It captures free radicals and neutralises them, without harming somatic cells. A powerful antioxidant, the astaxanthin molecule is similar to beta-carotene. The differences lie in the chemical and biological properties.
Furthermore, a study compared the inhibitory action of astaxanthin and beta-carotene on the production of lipid peroxides, which are responsible for the formation of free radicals. The results showed that astaxanthin was twice as effective as beta-carotene. This difference is linked to their chemical structure.
The conjugated polyene fraction and terminal cyclic fractions of astaxanthin trap radicals both on the surface of the membrane and within the membrane, whereas for beta-carotene, only its polyene chain is responsible for trapping radicals near the membrane surface and within the membrane. Thus, astaxanthin has a stronger action than beta-carotene on inhibiting the formation of lipid peroxides.
Further studies have also been conducted to measure the antioxidant power of astaxanthin. They estimate that the action of astaxanthin on singlet oxygen is:
6,000 times superior to Vitamin C;
790 times superior to coenzyme Q10;
110 times superior to Vitamin E;
5 times superior to beta-carotene.
65 times superior to Vitamin C;
54 times superior to beta-carotene;
21 times superior to synthetic astaxanthin;
14 times superior to Vitamin E.
Astaxanthin: In which Typology skincare product can it be found?
Astaxanthin is a key active ingredient in skincare. It is particularly a significant nutrient in combating premature skin ageing. You can find it in our antioxidant face cream. This treatment, enriched with astaxanthin (INCI: Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract), acts as a cellular shield to fight against the phenomenon of early skin ageing.
Furthermore, its antioxidant action is enhanced by the presence of theginseng plant extract (INCI: Panax Ginseng Root Extract) and kale (INCI: Brassica Oleracea Acephala Leaf Extract). The latter also has keratolytic properties that smooth the skin texture and reduce the thickness of the stratum corneum.
This cream thus enables to reduce the effects of oxidative stress and hydrate the skin for a radiant complexion. It is suitable for all skin types, particularly for skins exposed to oxidation factors (E skins).
GOTO S. & al. Effcient radical trapping at the surface and inside the phospholipid membrane is responsible for highly potent antiperoxidative activity of the carotenoid astaxanthin. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (2001).
DHANKHAR J. & al. Astaxanthin : A potential carotenoid. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (2012).
NAME J. J. & al. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action of astaxanthin in cardiovascular diseases (review). International Journal of Molecular Medicine (2021).