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The difference between synthetic astaxanthin and natural astaxanthin
Oct 23, 2018

The production of astaxanthin has two methods: synthetic synthesis and biological acquisition. Synthetic astaxanthin is mainly prepared from carotene by chemical methods, and astaxanthin is mainly used as a feed additive for fish and livestock. Of course, other methods include: shrimp and crab waste extraction, and specific strain fermentation. The natural astaxanthin is mainly from Haematococcus pluvialis. The synthetic astaxanthin is completely different from natural astaxanthin in terms of structure, function, application and safety. Let's take a look at it.


1. Different in molecular structure

Astaxanthin has three isoforms of 3s-3's, 3r-3's, 3r-3'r (also known as levorotatory, meso-, dextrorotatory), among which three kinds of synthetic astaxanthin are synthesized. A mixture of astaxanthin (25% left-handed, 25% right-handed, 50% meso), very little antioxidant activity, astaxanthin in living organisms such as salmon (trans-structure - 3s) The -3s type is basically different. Yeast-derived astaxanthin is 100% dextrorotatory (3r-3'r) and has partial antioxidant activity; the above two sources of astaxanthin are mainly used in the coloration of non-food animals or substances. Only algae astaxanthin is a 100% left-handed structure (3s-3's), which has the strongest biological activity and is used as a health food product and a high-grade cosmetics.

2.Different in physiological functions

Synthetic astaxanthin has lower stability and antioxidant activity than natural astaxanthin. Since the hydroxyl group (-oh) at both ends of the astaxanthin molecule can be esterified to cause different stability, natural astaxanthin is present in more than 90% esterified form, so it is stable, and the synthetic astaxanthin exists in a free state, so stability Unlike the synthetic astaxanthin, it must be embedded to stabilize. Synthetic astaxanthin has only a quarter of its left-handed structure, so its antioxidant activity is only about a quarter of that of natural astaxanthin.

3.Different in application effect

The biosorption effect of artificial astaxanthin is also worse than that of natural astaxanthin. When the feeding concentration is low, the concentration of artificial astaxanthin in the blood of rainbow trout is significantly lower than that of natural astaxanthin, and it cannot be converted into natural configuration in vivo. Its biological effects are much lower than the same concentration of natural astaxanthin.

4.Different in biosafety

The chemical incorporation of astaxanthin will inevitably introduce impurity chemicals, such as non-natural by-products produced during the synthesis process, which will reduce its bioavailability safety.

From this point of view, synthetic astaxanthin is far less effective than natural astaxanthin in terms of efficacy and biosafety. 

So, what kind of astaxanthin should you choose? For more details, please consult Maxsun industries.

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