The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 16 No. 9 • October 2013

Astaxanthin Improves Swimming Endurance in Mice and Decreases Fat Accumulation, Possibly by Increasing Utilization of Fat as an Energy Source

The carotenoid astaxanthin has been reported to increase endurance capacity in male mice exercised to exhaustion.1 The mice were supplemented with astaxanthin by stomach intubation in doses of 1.2, 6, or 30 mg/kg body weight 5 days a week for 5 weeks or they received vehicle (olive oil). In another experiment, the mice received the same amount of astaxanthin or vehicle by the same route and had a weight attached to their tails, swimming to exhaustion. In experiment 3, the mice had to swim for a predetermined amount of time and were assessed for blood concentrations of exercise-induced metabolites.

In the control group, plasma glucose was decreased by 15 minutes of swimming exercise, but in the astaxanthin groups (receiving 6 mg/kg or 30 mg/kg) the plasma glucose was significantly higher than in the control group. This may suggest that the animals receiving astaxanthin used more fat as an energy fuel, thus sparing glycogen. The researchers in fact observed significantly higher levels of liver and muscle glycogen in the astaxanthin groups than in the control group after swimming for 15 minutes. That, and the lower levels of blood lactate in the astaxanthin groups also suggested a decrease in glucose utilization.


  1. Ikeuchi et al. Effect of astaxanthin supplementation on exercise-induced fatigue in mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 29(10):2106-10 (2006).

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