3 easy ways to identify fake astaxanthin supplement

[China, Global] The China Health Care Association and the Chinese Academy of Science came out with a guideline to advise consumers on how to identify genuine astaxanthin healthcare products in China. This guideline consists of 3 easy ways as described as follow:

1. Identify the product’s label and the China Food and Drug Administration’s logo.

Since September 2012, China’s FDA restricts the use of all forms of tablet, capsule and soft gel as food. Under the new law, all forms of tablet, capsule and soft gel must be sold as drug or health supplement, which clinical trials and extensive clinical testings are required.

Identify this "blue cap" logo on the product. The present of this logo shows that the product is approved by the China's FDA.
Identify this “blue cap” logo on the product. The present of this logo shows that the product is approved by the China’s FDA.

Besides, the content, such as the raw ingredients and the bioactive components of a particular health supplement, must be written clearly on the product’s label. All astaxanthin products without FDA’s approval logo or label of content description are not the products approved by the FDA, and consumers are advised not to purchase such products.

The raw ingredients and bioactive component of the astaxanthin product should be indicated clearly on the label.
The raw ingredients and bioactive component of the astaxanthin product should be indicated clearly on the label.

Consumers are also advised to visit China’s FDA official website to find out a list of astaxanthin products which have been registered and approved. Consumers are warned that all the FDA approved astaxanthin healthcare products sold in China are produced locally in China. Up to date, the China’s FDA has not approved any imported astaxanthin healthcare product to be sold in China’s market.

 

2. Test the content of astaxanthin soft gel with water or oil

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, which exist in liquid form of oil. Capsules that consist of powder in red color are probably the algae biomass (in most case, Haematococcus pluvialis dried powder). Astaxanthin is lipid soluble, which means it is readily dissolve in oil. Cut a soft gel and release its content into a bottle of cooking oil, the cooking oil’s color will turn red after gentle mixing. Fake astaxanthin, which may be in the form of water in red color, will not mix with cooking oil.

Mixing the content of the soft gel with cooking oil. Astaxanthin is readily dissolve in oil.
Mixing the content of the soft gel with cooking oil. Astaxanthin is readily dissolve in oil.

On the other hand, we may also test the astaxanthin with water.  Cut a soft gel and release the content into a glass of water, real astaxanthin will spread evenly on the surface of water just like an oil drop on the surface of water. It does not diffuse well into the water.

Glass of water on the left shows the astaxanthin spread evenly on the surface of water, whereas the glass of water on the right shows fake or poor quality astaxanthin which is in a clump.
Glass of water on the left shows the astaxanthin spread evenly on the surface of water, whereas the glass of water on the right shows fake or poor quality astaxanthin which is in a clump.

3. Expose the content of astaxanthin soft gel to light 

Cut a astaxanthin soft gel and spread its content on a piece of white paper. Expose paper to light.

Spread the liquid on a piece of paper.
Spread the liquid on a piece of paper.

Astaxanthin is very sensitive to light, and will undergo photodegradation and oxidation within 48 hours, or even shorter. A normal red dye or food grade red dye is resilient to light. Some astaxanthin product, which is not at its absolute 100% purity, may consist of trace amount of chlorophyll, which will be revealed when the color of astaxanthin faded. This represents the quality of astaxanthin product. If the astaxanthin is a synthetic one, there will be no chlorophyll residue in it.

The color fading experiment of astaxanthin after exposing to light at various time point
The color fading experiment of astaxanthin after exposing to light at various time point. The sample on the left of each picture represents the real astaxanthin, whereas the sample on the right represents a normal red dye. Note that green color started to appear after 20 hours for the real natural astaxanthin extract.

Here is the video produced by one of the astaxanthin supplier in China.

 

Exclusively reported by Algae World News

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “3 easy ways to identify fake astaxanthin supplement”

  1. The National Algae Association is a non-profit algae production trade association. NAA  receives information from Chinese companies claiming to grow HP for astaxanthin interested in selling into the US market. We have asked for samples of their HP along with a C of A.  To date we have received nothing.

    We are interested in collaboration and welcome any Chinese HP grower or supplier for astaxanthin to join the Algae Biomass Exchange on Linkedin who can provide samples with a C of A.  NAA has an unreleated third-party US lab willing to  test the HP samples and issue a Cerificate of Analysis.  Once confirmed we will endorse their product.  For information contact: info@nationalalgaeassociation.com

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