Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Find a Vitamin or Supplement

CANTHAXANTHIN

Other Names:

4,4-diketo-beta-carotene, Beta,beta-carotene-4,4-dione, Cantaxantina, Cantaxantine, Canthaxanthine, Carophyll Red, CI Food Orange 8, Colour Index No. 40850, E161, Roxanthin Red 10.

CANTHAXANTHIN Overview
CANTHAXANTHIN Uses
CANTHAXANTHIN Side Effects
CANTHAXANTHIN Interactions
CANTHAXANTHIN Dosing
CANTHAXANTHIN Overview Information

Canthaxanthin is a dye that is similar to the chemical that makes carrots orange. It occurs naturally and can also be made in a laboratory. People use it as medicine.

Canthaxanthin is used to reduce sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity) experienced by people who have a rare genetic disease called erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). In these people, sunlight can cause skin reactions such as rash, itch, and eczema. Canthaxanthin is also used to reduce sun sensitivity caused by certain medications. Some people also try it for relieving itching caused by sun exposure.

Orobronze (canthaxanthin) is sold in Canada as a nonprescription “tanning pill.” In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved tanning pills containing canthaxanthin. Nevertheless, these products seem to be readily available to people in the U.S. through mail order and tanning salons.

In foods, canthaxanthin is used as food coloring and is added to animal feed to improve the color of chicken skins, egg yolks, salmon, and trout.

In manufacturing, canthaxanthin is used in cosmetics and in medications.

How does it work?

Canthaxanthin is a dye similar to the carotenes in vegetables such as carrots. It deposits in the skin to produce an artificial “tan.” It might protect against sun sensitivity through antioxidant activity.

CANTHAXANTHIN Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Sensitivity to sunlight (photosensitivity) associated with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), an inherited disorder. Taking canthaxanthin seems to reduce rash, itching, or eczema in EPP due to sunlight exposure.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Treating sun sensitivity caused by certain medications.
  • Treating itching caused by the sun.
  • Causing artificial sun tanning.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of canthaxanthin for these uses.


CANTHAXANTHIN Side Effects & Safety

Canthaxanthin seems to be safe when taken in food amounts. But it appears to be UNSAFE when taken in amounts needed for artificial tanning or as a medicine for treating sun sensitivity. Some people who have taken canthaxanthin for these purposes have experienced eye damage and vision loss.

At high doses, canthaxanthin has caused a serious, potentially fatal blood disorder called aplastic anemia. Canthaxanthin can also cause diarrhea, nausea, stomachcramps, dry and itchy skin, hives, orange or red body secretions, and other side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Canthaxanthin is UNSAFE when used at the doses needed to produce a tan or treat sun sensitivity. It can cause eye damage and other harmful effects.

Vitamin Aallergy: People who are allergic to vitamin A and related chemicals called carotenoids might also be sensitive to canthaxanthin.

CANTHAXANTHIN Interactions What is this?

We currently have no information for CANTHAXANTHIN Interactions

CANTHAXANTHIN Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For reducing and treating rash, itch, and/or eczema (symptoms of photosensitivity) in people with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) when they are exposed to sunlight: 60 to 90 mg of canthaxanthin daily on average for three to five months per year.

See 5 Reviews for this Treatment - OR -

Review this Treatment

Learn about User Reviews and read IMPORTANT information about user generated content

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

Search for a Vitamin or Supplement

Ex. Ginseng, Vitamin C, Depression

Today on WebMD

Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
Man taking a vitamin or supplement
Article
 
clams
Quiz
Woman in sun
Slideshow
 
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
!!69X75_Vitamins_Supplements.jpg
Evaluator
 
Woman sleeping
Article
Woman staring into space with coffee
Article
 
Related Newsletters

Stay Informed with the latest must-read information delivered right to your inbox.

IMPORTANT: About This Section and Other User-Generated Content on WebMD

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.