Carotenoids are biological pigments which are the coloring of living organisms and valuable molecules needed for important metabolic reactions. They are distributed everywhere in leaves, flowers, fruits, and roots of plants. Carotenoids are also found in many animals, especially in marine invertebrates and in the brightly colored feathers of tropical birds. Carotenoids that are found in animals are derived from plant or algae sources.
The carotenoids consist of two main groups: the carotenes and the xanthophylls. Beta carotene, which nearly everyone is familiar with, is the most common carotene. On the other hand, canthaxanthin is a xanthophyll. A difference worth noting is that beta carotene converts in the mammalian system to vitamin A. Canthaxanthin, as well as all xanthophylls, do not convert to any extent to vitamin A.
Carotenoids have powerful antioxidant properties which defend against damaging singlet and triplet oxygen, a by-product of ultra violet rays and photosynthetic metabolism. These free radical scavengers prevent harmful and uncontrolled oxidation. Carotenoids also protect plants from direct ultra violet damage by absorbing high energy ultra violet photons and then safely defusing the energy along hydrocarbon chains.
Canthaxanthin is an all natural, organic, nutritional supplement. Found in many plants, it's what gives the red color to many fruits, vegetables and flowers. Manufacturers use it as a non-toxic food coloring for many items such as fruit drinks, spaghetti sauce, and bar-b-que sauce. People taking 30mg tablets of Canthaxanthin as a nutritional supplement have noticed a pleasant side effect. Canthaxanthin can give color to the second layer of skin known as the subcutaneous (fat) layer. The results... Since the top layer of your skin is transparent, it can give the appearance of a natural-looking golden-bronzed tan, evenly spread throughout the body - minus the ultra violet exposure associated with sun tanning and indoor tanning beds. Still it is also used with tanning beds or outdoor tanning for an even deeper bronzing.