Astaxanthine, Astaxantina, Dihydroxy-3,3’ dioxo-4,4’ bêta-carotène, Microalgae, Microalgue, Micro-Algue, Ovoester, 3,3'-dihydroxy-4,4'-diketo-beta-carotene, 3S,3'S-astaxanthin, 3R,3'R-astaxanthin, 3R,3'S-astaxanthin.
Overview InformationAstaxanthin is a reddish pigment that belongs to a group of chemicals called carotenoids. It occurs naturally in certain algae and causes the pink or red color in salmon, trout, lobster, shrimp, and other seafood.
Astaxanthin is taken by mouth for treating Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, high cholesterol, liver diseases, age-related macular degeneration (age-related vision loss), and preventing cancer. It is also used for metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It is also used for improving exercise performance, decreasing muscle damage after exercise, and decreasing muscle soreness after exercise. Also, astaxanthin is taken by mouth to prevent sunburn, to improve sleep, and for carpal tunnel syndrome, dyspepsia, male infertility, symptoms of menopause, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Astaxanthin is applied directly to the skin to protect against sunburn, to reduce wrinkles, and for other cosmetic benefits.
In food, it is used as a coloring for salmon, crabs, shrimp, chicken, and egg production.
In agriculture, astaxanthin is used as a food supplement for egg-producing chickens.
How does it work?Astaxanthin is an antioxidant. This effect might protect cells from damage. Astaxanthin might also improve the way the immune system functions.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Age-related vision loss (age-related macular degeneration; AMD). AMD occurs when a portion of retina becomes damaged. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and copper by mouth improves damage in the center of the retina in people with AMD. It does not improve damage in the outer areas of the retina.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Early research shows that taking a combination product containing astaxanthin, lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamin E by mouth does not reduce pain in people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia). Early research shows that taking 40 mg of astaxanthin daily reduces reflux symptoms in people with indigestion. It seems to work best in people with indigestion due to H. pylori infection. A lower dose of 16 mg daily does not improve reflux symptoms. Neither dose reduces stomach pain, indigestion, or the amount of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach of people with indigestion.
- Muscle damage caused by exercise. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin for 90 days does not reduce muscle damage caused by exercise in male soccer players.
- Muscle soreness caused by exercise. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, lutein, and safflower oil by mouth does not reduce muscle soreness or improve muscle performance 4 days after exercise compared to taking only safflower oil.
- Exercise performance. Research regarding the effects of astaxanthin on exercise performance is conflicting. Some early research shows that taking astaxanthin decreases the time needed to complete a cycling exercise in trained male athletes. But other research shows that using astaxanthin does not improve the time needed to complete a timed exercise.
- Fatigue. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin and sesamin does not seem to improve overall fatigue in healthy adults.
- High cholesterol. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin by mouth reduces blood fats called triglycerides and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good") cholesterol in people with high cholesterol. Other early research shows that taking a combination of astaxanthin, berberine, policosanol, red yeast rice, coenzyme Q10, and folic acid increases HDL cholesterol levels and lowers total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with abnormal cholesterol levels.
- Male infertility. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin increases the pregnancy rates of partners of men considered to be infertile.
- Menopausal symptoms. Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, vitamin D3, lycopene, and citrus bioflavonoids daily reduces menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, joint pain, moodiness, and bladder problems.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early research shows that taking a product containing astaxanthin, lutein, vitamin A, vitamin E, and safflower oil reduces pain and improves feelings of satisfaction in people with RA.
- Sunburn. Astaxanthin might reduce skin damage caused by the sun. Taking astaxanthin by mouth for 9 weeks appears to reduce redness and loss of skin moisture caused by rays of the sun called "UV" rays.
- Wrinkled skin. Early research shows that taking astaxanthin by mouth improves how quickly skin bounces back (elasticity) and reduces fine lines and wrinkles in middle-aged women and men. It also seems to improve the moisture content in the skin. Other research shows that taking astaxanthin by mouth, along with applying astaxanthin cream to the face twice daily, improves the appearance of skin wrinkles.
- Other conditions.
Side Effects & SafetyAstaxanthin is LIKELY SAFE when it is consumed in amounts found in food.
Astaxanthin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth as a supplement. Astaxanthin has been used safely by itself in doses of 4 to 40 mg daily for up to 12 weeks, or 12 mg daily for 6 months. It has been used safely in combination with other carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals at 4 mg daily for up to 12 months. Side effects of astaxanthin may include increased bowel movements and red stool color. High doses of astaxanthin may cause stomach pain.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of astaxanthin during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
We currently have no information for ASTAXANTHIN Interactions.
The appropriate dose of astaxanthin depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for astaxanthin. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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- O'Connor I, O'Brien N. Modulation of UVA light-induced oxidative stress by beta-carotene, lutein and astaxanthin in cultured fibroblasts. J Dermatol Sci 1998;16:226-230.. View abstract.
- Parisi V, Tedeschi M, Gallinaro G, et al. Carotenoids and antioxidants in age-related maculopathy italian study: multifocal electroretinogram modifications after 1 year. Ophthalmology 2008;115:324-33. View abstract.
- Res PT, et al. Astaxanthin supplementation does not augment fat use or improve endurance performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013;45(6):1158-65. View abstract.
- Ruscica M, Gomaraschi M, Mombelli G, Macchi C, Bosisio R, Pazzucconi F, Pavanello C, Calabresi L, Arnoldi A, Sirtori CR, Magni P. Nutraceutical approach to moderate cardiometabolic risk: results of a randomized, double-blind and crossover study with Armolipid Plus. J Clin Lipidol. 2014;8(1):61-8. View abstract.
- Sila A, Ghlissi Z, Kamoun Z, et al. Astaxanthin from shrimp by-products ameliorates nephropathy in diabetic rats. Eur J Nutr. 2015;54(2):301-7. View abstract.
- Takemoto M, Yamaga M, Furuichi Y, Yokote K. Astaxanthin improves non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Werner Syndrome with diabetes mellitus. J Am Geriatr Soc 2015;63(6):1271-3. View abstract.
- Tanaka T, Makita H, Oshnishi M, et al. Chemoprevention of rat oral carcinogenesis by naturally occurring xanthophylls, astaxanthin, and canthaxanthin. Cancer Res 1995;55:4059-64. View abstract.
- Tanaka T, Morishita Y, Suzui M, et al. Chemoprevention of mouse urinary bladder carcinogenesis by the naturally occurring carotenoid astaxanthin. Carcinogenesis 1994;15:15-9. View abstract.
- Tominaga K, Hongo N, Karato M, Yamashita E. Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects. Acta Biochim Pol. 2012;59(1):43-47. View abstract.
- van den Berg H. Carotenoid interactions. Nutr Rev 1999;57:1-10. View abstract.
- Yamashita E. The effect of a dietary supplement containing astaxanthin on skin condition. Carotenoid Sci. 2006;10:91-95.
- Yoshida H, Yanai H, Ito K, Tomono Y, et al. Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis 2010;209:520-23. View abstract.
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