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The positive impacts of dietary astaxanthin range from a general enhancement of performance to:

  • Better Pigmentation

  • Improved antioxidant capacity

  • Immune response regulation

  • Provitamin A

  • Improved disease resistance

  • Stress alleviation

  • Specific functions in reproduction and metabolism

  • Improved reproduction and brood quality

  • Reduced embryonic mortality

  • Effects on photoresponse


The evidence clearly proves that astaxanthin supplementation enables efficient defence procedure against unfavourable or stressful situations such as disease outbreak, hypoxic condition, ammonia stress, thermal and osmotic fluctuations. Not all these claims are equally well documented.

Small Puppy

Dogs and Cats

In dogs and cats, astaxanthin can be applied as a nutraceutical supplement for:

  • Autoimmune disease

  • Humoral immune responses

  • Crippling rheumatoid arthritis

  • Allergies

  • Adjunctive therapy for cancer, cancer prevention, cognitive dysfunction

  • Other conditions that result in inflammation and tissue damage from the free radical formation. 


Different studies showed that dogs and cats showed similar biokinetic profiles, and certain aspects of the biokinetic uptake of astaxanthin in dogs and cats are similar to that in humans. Dietary astaxanthin increased concentrations of plasma IgG and IgM, therefore, dietary astaxanthin:

  • Heightened cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in cats. 

  • Heightened cell-mediated and humoral immune response and reduced DNA damage and inflammation in dogs

  • Improved mitochondrial function in blood leukocytes of dogs.

Another experiment showed that astaxanthin administration may be beneficial in the treatment of dogs for osteosarcoma.


Ornamental Fish

Fish in Aquarium

Astaxanthin pigment is best known as an essential aquacultural feed additive for imparting the pinkish-red coloration to the flesh of salmons, trouts, ornamental fish, shrimp, lobsters, and crayfish, resulting in better quality and acceptance in the consumer market.

Natural Astaxanthin is a more suitable carotenoid source in fish feed compared with synthetic Astaxanthin. 

Dietary astaxanthin is absorbed and deposited in animals such as krill, shrimp, and fish, the most striking natural examples of astaxanthin accumulation in animals are flamingo feathers, salmon, and trout flesh, and crustacean shells. In lobsters, astaxanthin is bound to a protein in such a way that the astaxanthin–protein complexes exhibit a blue tint. During cooking, the protein is denatured and astaxanthin is released from the complexes, which restores the red colour characteristic of cooked lobsters. 

Astaxanthin is used mostly as a pigmentation source in animal feed in marine aquaculture, including primary salmonids, red sea bream, and ornamental fish and shrimps.

It could also be observed a respiratory burst activity and an increase in anti-protease activity.


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