Astaxanthin, a substance in the
Astaxanthin is not an essential nutrient. However, it is possible that increased intake of astaxanthin could provide health benefits.
Salmon is an excellent source of astaxanthin. A typical serving of Atlantic salmon provides approximately 1 mg of astaxanthin, while a similar serving of Pacific salmon might provide 4-5 mg. Krill oil<![CDATA]> is another good food source of astaxanthin.
When consistently exposed to high levels of ultraviolet light, the algae Haematococcus pluvialis produces very large quantities of astaxanthin, presumably to protect itself from injury. Haematococcus raised in this way is used as a commercial source of astaxanthin.
In studies, astaxanthin has been given in doses ranging from 4-16 mg daily.
Some evidence suggests that astaxanthin is better absorbed when consumed in an oily base. 1<![CDATA]>
Many health claims for astaxanthin are based on the fact that it is a strong antioxidant. However, in recent years, scientific confidence in the medical benefits of antioxidants has waned; study after gigantic study of antioxidants such as
Other proposed uses of astaxanthin have at least marginal supporting evidence from
Another study tested astaxanthin combined with the carotenoid
Weak evidence additionally hints that astaxanthin might
Two studies failed to find astaxanthin significantly more effective than placebo for treating stomach irritation in people with
As a widely consumed nutritional substance, astaxanthin is expected to have a low order of toxicity. In human studies, no serious adverse effects have been seen. 2,3,7<![CDATA]> Maximum safe doses in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease have not been determined.
1. Mercke Odeberg J, Lignell A, et al. Oral bioavailability of the antioxidant astaxanthin in humans is enhanced by incorporation of lipid based formulations. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2003;19:299-304.
2. Comhaire FH, El Garem Y, Mahmoud A, et al. Combined conventional/antioxidant "Astaxanthin" treatment for male infertility: a double blind, randomized trial. Asian J Androl . 2005;7:257-62.
3. Bloomer RJ, Fry A, Schilling B, et al. Astaxanthin supplementation does not attenuate muscle injury following eccentric exercise in resistance-trained men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab . 2005;15:401-412.
4. Wu TH, Liao JH, Hou WC, et al. Astaxanthin protects against oxidative stress and calcium-induced porcine lens protein degradation. J Agric Food Chem . 2006;54:2418-2423.
5. Hussein G, Goto H, Oda S, et al. Antihypertensive potential and mechanism of action of astaxanthin: III. Antioxidant and histopathological effects in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol Pharm Bull . 2006;29:684-688.
6. Higuera-Ciapara I, Felix-Valenzuela L, Goycoolea FM. Astaxanthin: a review of its chemistry and applications. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr . 2006;46:185-196.
7. Spiller GA, Dewell A. Safety of an astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis algal extract: a randomized clinical trial. J Med Food. 2003;6:51-56.
8. Iwamoto T, Hosoda K, Hirano R et al. Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin. J Atheroscler Thromb . 2001;7:216-222.
9. Andersen LP, Holck S, Kupcinskas L, et al. Gastric inflammatory markers and interleukins in patients with functional dyspepsia treated with astaxanthin. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2007 May 23. [Epub ahead of print]
10. Kupcinskas L, Lafolie P, Lignell A, et al. Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without Helicobacter pylori infection: A prospective, randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine. 2008 May 6
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board<![CDATA]>
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