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Vegetarian Sources of Astaxanthin

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Vegetarian Sources of Astaxanthin
A plate of shrimp. Photo Credit serchio/iStock/Getty Images

Astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives certain foods a pink or red color, acts as an antioxidant to limit cell damage and inflammation. It may also improve your immune function, increase your beneficial high-density lipoprotein levels and decrease your triglycerides, according to an article published in "Alternative Medicine Review" in December 2011. Seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, trout, crayfish and krill, contains astaxanthin. But there are also vegetarian sources of this nutrient.

A Micronutrient From Microorganisms

Commonly eaten vegetarian foods usually don't contain astaxanthin unless this is added during processing. Much of the astaxanthin used commercially is made from a type of yeast called Phaffia rhodozyma or a type of algae called Haematococcus pluvialis, according to an article published in "Marine Drugs" in 2014. You can find supplemental astaxanthin in many forms, including energy drinks, capsules, extracts, oils and powders. Supplements containing astaxanthin from vegetarian sources will often state this on the label.

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