Health Benefits of Astaxanthin

What are some of the reported benefits of taking astaxanthin? Facts versus Hype

Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant that is more than 10 times as potent as other carotenoids.

Experts agree that antioxidants are substances that the body uses to inactivate highly damaging oxygen free radicals.

Scientific evidence is mounting that the use of antioxidants such as astaxanthin may hold the key to protection against heart disease and cancer and to reverse the aging process.

Let's see what how much scientific evidences are available to support the use of this antioxidant and then you can decide if you want to take this as a supplement...

Scientific Evidence on the Health Benefits of Astaxanthin

Rating What astaxanthin is used for...
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(What's this?)
Enhances Fertility in Men (Male Infertility)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Prevention
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Enhances Immune Response
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Antioxidant Benefits
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Acid Reflux Symptoms (GERD)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Skin Care Anti-aging Benefits
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Wrinkles & Fine Lines
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Rheumatoid Arthritis
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal High Blood Pressure
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Cancer Prevention and Treatment
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal UV Rays Protections
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal Prevention of Neurodegenerative Disease
(Parkinson's & Alzheimer's Disease)
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Psoriasis & Other Skin Conditions

Suggested Benefits and Traditional Uses

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Antibacterial and antiviral benefits
  • Anti-inflammatory effects
  • Asthma
  • Carpel tunnel syndrome
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Endurance enhancement
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Muscle strength enhancement
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Upset stomach (dyspepsia)
  • Skin health
  • Stroke
  • Sunburn (topical)

Facts on Astaxanthin

Human studies show that it is a potent antioxidant that protects cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Unlike other carotenoids that convert to vitamin A, this one does not. (High doses of vitamin A are harmful to the body.)

It is approved by the FDA as a red food coloring for use in animal and fish foods and in Europe, it is considered a food dye.

It is naturally found in salmon, krill, arctic shrimp, phaffi yeast and the microalgae Haematoccocus pluvilis.

For comparison, 4 ounces of wild sockeye salmon would contain 4.5 mg of astaxanthin and Atlantic salmon would contain 0.5 to 1.1 mg.

health benefits astaxanthin chemical structure

Research Studies to Support Using Astaxanthin

Enhances fertility in men

A well-designed clinical study involving 30 men showed that taking 16 mg daily of astaxanthin increased sperm motility and other measured sperm parameters.

More importantly the fertility and pregnancy rates were significantly higher in the group taking astaxanthin.

This confirms previous animal studies that show positive benefits of astaxanthin supplements on reproductive health and fertility.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Taking a combination of astaxanthin along with vitamin C, vitamin E and several other vitamin and minerals for 12 months improved the visual function in those suffering from age-related macular degeneration

Antioxidant benefits and immune system booster

Taking astaxanthin was shown to reduce cellular DNA damage and to boost the immune response in young health females. This benefit was seen both at 4 weeks and 8 weeks. Acid reflux symptoms treatment

A well-designed clinical study showed that taking astaxanthin at dose of 40 mg daily was effective in reducing heartburn symptoms in 4 weeks.

It was much more effective in those who were infected with the stomach bacteria H. pylori.

Skin anti-aging cure and protection

Lab studies show that using astaxanthin for skin health protects against the damaging effect of UVA rays from the sun that causes the skin to age prematurely.

Researchers believe that astaxanthin could have a protective effect against sagging and wrinkles of the skin. Further studies will be needed to reconfirm all the reported health benefits of astaxanthin in protecting against skin damage.

Two small studies (Yamashita, 2002 & 2006) showed that taking the supplement as well as using a topical cream containing astaxanthin showed reduced wrinkles in justs 4 weeks.

What's the difference between astaxanthin and canthaxanthin?

Canthaxanthin is another beta-carotene carotenoid like astaxanthin. It also shows similar health benefits.

Astaxanthin Side Effects and Precautions

Astaxanthin has the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status in the United States.

There are no significant side effects or toxicity from using astaxanthin even at a high dose of 20 mg daily.

Other rare and minor side effects include lowering of blood pressure, hormonal changes and changes in blood counts.

When taken for long periods of time (e.g. months to years) at a high dosage there may be discoloration of the skin.

Astaxanthin Dosage

Typical dosage used ranges from 2 to 12 mg (milligrams) daily.

Bottom Line

Should I consider taking astaxanthin supplements to improve my health?

Probably not as preliminary clinical studies only show modest benefits.

As for the positive results shown in animals such as for treating cancer, it is a big unknown as to whether it would help in humans.

Although there are clinical trials that show that astaxanthin may be helpful with some health conditions such as boosting fertlity in men and reducing the risk of macular degeneration, these studies are small and the results are unclear.

Thinking of using astaxanthin for UV protection? Forget it. Suncreen works significantly better.

Additional clinical studies will need to be done to fully confirm these initial research findings.

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References for Benefits of Astaxanthin

Revised: July 11, 2013

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