Astaxanthin: Up to the Hype?

What makes flamingos and salmon pink and is now being touted as the subsequent tremendous complement? Astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin was promoted by a visitor on The Dr. OzShow as “the No.1 complement you’ve by no means heard of that you have to be taking.” It was promoted on Oprah, too. It’s stated to combat coronary heart illness, cut back most cancers danger, enhance fertility, relieve reflux, ease joint issues, improve muscle endurance, promote wholesome pores and skin and eyes, and gradual getting old. You title it, it does it—or so entrepreneurs say.

Astaxanthin is an orange-red pigment within the carotenoid household, which additionally consists of beta carotene. Made by sure algae and different microorganisms, it’s thought to assist defend towards ultraviolet rays from the solar. Crustaceans (like krill and shrimp) that feed on algae retailer the pigment of their shells; in flip, fish (like wild salmon and trout) that eat the crustaceans (or the algae) retailer it of their pores and skin and tissue. Some birds, like flamingoes, have pink feathers as a result of astaxanthin of their diets. People get it primarily from seafood.

Astaxanthin’s most important business use has been as a feed ingredient in aquaculture to make farmed salmon pink. It’s additionally “typically acknowledged as protected” by the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) as a colorant to be used in quite a few meals.

The place’s the proof?

Analysis, principally in animals and take a look at tubes, has proven that astaxanthin acts as an antioxidant and helps cut back irritation. A handful of research in individuals have discovered that the dietary supplements decrease C-reactive protein (a marker for irritation within the physique) and blood strain and enhance elements of the immune system. In a company-sponsored research in Atherosclerosis in 2010, astaxanthin elevated HDL (“good”) ldl cholesterol and decreased triglycerides. And in a brand new research within the British Journal of Diet, it lowered substances in crimson blood cells that, no less than in concept, could be linked to dementia.

The few human trials have been small and quick time period, with blended outcomes, nevertheless. Complement entrepreneurs cite quite a few research on web sites that sound promising however weren’t properly designed and/or haven’t been revealed in peer-reviewed journals.

Furthermore, the Pure Normal, which evaluates complementary and different medication, provides astaxanthin solely a C ranking—unclear or conflicting proof—for its use for prime ldl cholesterol, male infertility, muscle energy, musculoskeletal accidents, carpal tunnel, and rheumatoid arthritis. There’s restricted or no analysis in any respect to assist its use for eye issues, bronchial asthma, dementia, train capability, sunburn safety, or different situations for which it’s promoted.

Extra crimson flags

We don’t suggest astaxanthin. The dietary supplements appear to be protected, however that’s what we used to consider beta carotene capsules, which, at excessive doses, had been ultimately proven to extend lung most cancers danger in people who smoke.

Not solely is the science behind astaxanthin dietary supplements lower than stable, however interactions with some medicine, in addition to unwanted side effects—together with yellow- or orange-colored pores and skin, orange or crimson feces, undesirable hair progress, lowered calcium ranges, decreased libido, and male breast enlargement—are attainable. You have to be particularly cautious about taking astaxanthin if you happen to’re being handled for hypertension or have bronchial asthma, parathyroid problems, or osteoporosis.

As for the Dr. Ozand Oprah exhibits, they might be good leisure, however their medical recommendation is commonly questionable.

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