Derived from Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae cultivated under pristine conditions, esterified astaxanthin is a stable, fat-soluble antioxidant from the carotenoid family. Astaxanthin protects the phospholipid membranes of cells from oxidative damage. In a recent U.S. study, it demonstrated the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and protect the retina in animals, suggesting its potential for supporting the brain and nervous system from free radical damage. Initial trials with astaxanthin suggest that it may support the skin's natural antioxidant defenses against free radicals induced by sun exposure. In a human clinical evaluation, supplementation with astaxanthin provided enhanced antioxidant protection for the skin. Additional studies suggest astaxanthin's immune, cellular and cardiovascular support potential.