Artificial Astaxanthin from DSM AstaSana® shown to be vastly inferior to Natural Algae Astaxanthin in Antioxidant Potential

The Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association (NAXA) has obtained further comparative antioxidant testing results from a leading antioxidant testing laboratory showing that artificial astaxanthin produced from petrochemicals has vastly inferior antioxidant potential than natural astaxanthin from Haematococcus microalgae.  The results showed that algae-based astaxanthin was superior to DSM’s AstaSana in different antioxidant tests; the range was from 9 times more active against peroxyl radicals to over 100 times more active against singlet oxygen.

Results of previous head-to-head testing of algae-based astaxanthin versus artificial astaxanthin from petrochemicals were published in the peer-reviewed journal NutraFoods in December 2013.  These independent results from both Creighton University and an independent laboratory showed that algae-based astaxanthin is approximately 20 to 50 times more active in singlet oxygen quenching and free radical elimination than artificial astaxanthin.  However, the members of NAXA felt that further testing was necessary since the earlier tests were not done specifically with the DSM AstaSana product.

“We see the same results with the AstaSana product that we saw in earlier antioxidant testing of artificial astaxanthin,” said Robert Corish, MD, a member of NAXA and a worldwide authority on astaxanthin.  “Plain and simple, the two products are completely different — not only in antioxidant potential, but the molecules are also different in three crucial ways.  It’s only logical that these products will perform differently in antioxidant testing because they’re inherently different molecules.  And while all the human clinical research showing a wide variety of health benefits has been performed exclusively on natural astaxanthin from algae, we still don’t know how artificial astaxanthin will react in our bodies long term.”

Questions remain not only about the efficacy of artificial astaxanthin, but also about its safety and regulatory status.  Dr. Corish concluded, “There has not been one published safety study on direct human consumption of this synthesized molecule and it hasn’t gone through the FDA’s NDI (New Dietary Ingredient) process.  Frankly, we’re amazed that DSM launched it in the US market without going through these necessary steps.”

Algae Astaxanthin Association Formed by Three Leading Astaxanthin Producers

Natural Algae Astaxanthin manufacturers Fuji Chemical Industry Co Ltd. (AstaREAL®), Tokyo, Japan, Algatechnologies Ltd. (AstaPure®), kibbutz Ketura, Israel and Cyanotech Corporation (BioAstin®), Hawaii, US, announce that they will form the “Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association,” (NAXA) a trade organization dedicated to educating the public and dietary supplement industry about the health benefits of Natural Astaxanthin and the major differences between sources.  These three founding members will welcome other algae-based astaxanthin producers to the Association in the near future.

Vincent Wood, GM International Sales & Marketing of Fuji Chemical Industry commented, “Each company faces different challenges in each market, yet we also share common goals. This organization can be the platform where the scientific and regulatory needs of algae astaxanthin can be addressed effectively.”

“The natural astaxanthin market has benefitted from great publicity over the last three years and the demand remains high” added Bob Capelli, Vice President Sales & Marketing of Cyanotech. “We understand that consumers still need a clearer understanding about the health benefits of natural algae astaxanthin so there is a strong desire amongst the natural astaxanthin players to educate.”

“It is an opportune time to get involved” notes Efrat Kat, Sales & Marketing Director, of Algatechnologies. “The popularity of astaxanthin has fuelled the entry of other players including synthetic astaxanthin suppliers and may potentially confuse the market. An organization dedicated to promoting and researching natural algae astaxanthin should improve public knowledge while enhancing the credibility of each company”.

NAXA will meet in January to formalize the organization and identify short to long term targets.

In the meantime, the founding members have agreed in principle that the association works on three objectives:

i.              To improve the awareness and promote the sales of natural algae astaxanthin to consumers and industry;

ii.             To differentiate natural algae astaxanthin from other sources;

iii.            To strengthen the regulatory position of natural algae astaxanthin.