There are lots of good reasons to take a multivitamin. Even the best eating plans can fall short of meeting all of the 40-plus nutrients you need each day. Most Americans fail to meet dietary recommendations for many reasons, including strict dieting, poor appetite, changing nutritional needs, or less-than-healthy food choices. Taking a once-daily multivitamin is an easy way to fill in small nutritional gaps.
But strolling down the vitamin aisle to choose the best multivitamin...
Astaxanthin can also reduce inflammation. It might be useful as a treatment for problems that involve inflammation, such as:
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Laboratory research has found that an extract from algae that makes astaxanthin slowed the growth of breast and skin cancer cells.
Astaxanthin might help the heart in a number of ways as well. It may be helpful in preventing plaque buildup in arteries in the heart.
It may also help protect heart muscle from damage from lack of oxygen. This can happen during a heart attack.
Also, by reducing oxidation in the brain, it may protect against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.
Astaxanthin may reduce the growth of H. pylori bacteria, which cause peptic ulcers. It may also help protect against kidney damage from diabetes. And it may stimulate the immune system.
More research is needed before astaxanthin can be recommended for any of these uses.
Supplement makers may suggest varying amounts of astaxanthin for different purposes. Most of the small research studies to date have used between 2 mg and 10 mg daily. However, optimal doses of astaxanthin have not been set for any condition. Quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely. This makes it very hard to set a standard dose.
Can you get astaxanthin naturally from foods?
One of the largest sources of astaxanthin is in certain types of marine algae.
Astaxanthin is also found in several types of seafood, including:
Four ounces of sockeye salmon contains about 4.5 milligrams of astaxanthin.
What are the risks of taking astaxanthin?
Side effects. Some laboratory studies have shown astaxanthin may hinder an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. As a result, it could keep testosterone from changing into the hormone DHT in the body. It's unclear what effect this may have, but prescription medicines that affect the same enzyme may cause side effects, such as:
Male breast growth
One small study showed astaxanthin combined with saw palmetto actually increased testosterone, which could help libido. More research is needed to better understand astaxanthin's effects on hormones.