Astaxanthin and Muscles- The Science

Astaxanthin (ASX) is a marine-based ketocarotenoid that has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics [1].  Recent evidence indicates combining astaxanthin supplementation and resistance training provides a greater benefit for preserving, and even improving strength and endurance in older adults. 

A 2018 study observed forty-two elderly adults ranging from ages 65-82, in a study combining increasing intervals of incline walking with a daily supplement containing 12mg of astaxanthin, 10 mg tocotrienol, and 6 mg zinc.  After three months, a significant change in muscle strength was measured in the ASX subjects compared to controls, as seen in Figure 1 below.  More specifically, strength as measured by maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), and muscle size measured by cross section-section area (CSA) increased by 14.4% and 2.7%, respectively.  Additionally, the ratio of these two measures provides the muscle specific force (MVC/CSA), which trended 11.6% higher in the ASX group [2]. 

Figure1: Changes in muscle properties after three months of training in ASX and placebo-treated elderly subjects.  Changes in MVC, CSA, and specific force are shown below.  Values are mean ± SEM. *P < 0.02, **P < 0.01, P = 0.053 for paired 2-tailed t-test [2].

The results of these findings indicate the biological activity of astaxanthin in conjunction with resistance training improves muscle strength and size, as well as endurance and walking distance, in elderly subjects [2]. 

 In a 2020 study, researchers investigated the effects of supplementing 12mg astaxanthin daily on male cyclists.  Results showed an ergogenic benefit after just seven days of supplementation with astaxanthin, in addition to enhanced total-body fat oxidation [3].  Additionally, the time to complete a 40km cycling trial was improved by 1.2 (±1.7) percent, or 69.90 (±3.78) minutes, while the control group averaged 70.76 (± =3.93) minutes.

These and other studies demonstrate that astaxanthin has a unique potential as a nutritional supplement in conjunction with a functional training program, to enhance muscle performance.  Doses of 12mg per day are effective for building strength, and increasing endurance and mobility.  Sustainable Nutrition offers Adjuvia Astaxanthin, nature’s most powerful antioxidant, as a highly bioavailable nutritional supplement. When combined with physical training, it can enhance muscle strength and endurance in athletes of all ages, as well as elderly adults.  Adjuvia Astaxanthin is supplied as a nano-emulsion, making it the most bioavailable form of astaxanthin on the market ( 


 [1]   Fassett R.G., Coombes, J.S. Astaxanthin, oxidative stress, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Future Cardiol. 2009, 5, 333–342.

[2]   Liu S., Ali Amir S., Campbell Matthew D., Kilroy K., Shankland Eric G, Roshanravan B,   Marcinek David J, Conley Kevin E; Building strength, endurance, and mobility using an  astaxanthin formulation with functional training in elderly.  Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle. 2018, 9: 826-833.

[3]  Brown D.R., Warner A.R., Deb S.K., Gough L.A., Sparks S.A. The effect of astaxanthin supplementation on performance and fat oxidation during a 40km cycling time trial. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2020, 2348, 1-6.