astaxanthin diphosphate (generic name)
treats Male infertility, Rheumatoid arthritis, Carpal tunnel syndrome, High cholesterol, Musculoskeletal injuries, and Muscle strength
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Top Learning Centers(Recursos en Español)
Alternate TitleDisodium disuccinate astaxanthin
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Alpha-carotene, Antarctic krill, AST, Astacarox®, astaxanthin-amino acid conjugate, astaxanthin diester, astaxanthin dilysinate tetrahydrochloride, ASX, Atlantic salmon, basidiomycete yeast, beta-carotene, BioAstin®, canthaxanthin, canthoxanthin, Cardax®, carotenoid, crayfish, crustaceans, DDA, disodium disuccinate astaxanthin, E161j, Euphausia superba, gamma-tocopherol, green microalgae, Haematococcus algae extract, Haematococcus pluvialis, krill, lutein, lycopene, meso-astaxanthin, microalgae, non-esterified astaxanthin, non-provitamin A carotenoid, ovoester, Phaffia rhodozyma, red carotenoid, retinoid, salmon, shrimp, sockeye salmon, tetrahydrochloride dilysine astaxanthin salt, tomato, trout, wild salmon, Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous, xanthophylls.
Astaxanthin is classified as a xanthophyll, which is a carotenoid pigment, and can be found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans, and the feathers of some birds. Haematococcus pluvialis, a green microalga and one of the richest sources of natural astaxanthin, was reviewed and cleared for marketing by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August 1999 as a new dietary ingredient by means of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) (21 CRF part 190.6).
Astaxanthin is most commonly used as an antioxidant and may be beneficial in decreasing the risks of certain chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Astaxanthin may also be effective in carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle strength and endurance, high cholesterol (LDL oxidation), musculoskeletal injuries, and male infertility.
Astaxanthin has been used as a feed supplement and food coloring additive for salmon, crabs, shrimp, chickens, and egg production. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, astaxanthin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when used as a color additive in salmon foods to obtain the desired pink to orange-red color.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Carpal tunnel syndrome:
There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of astaxanthin for carpal tunnel syndrome. Additional study is needed in this area.
High cholesterol (LDL oxidation):
There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of astaxanthin for LDL oxidation prevention. More research is needed to make a firm recommendation.
There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of astaxanthin for male fertility. Additional study is needed in this area.
Astaxanthin may have positive effects on muscle strength. Better-quality trials are needed before a recommendation can be made.
Astaxanthin does not appear effective for muscle injury prevention. Additional study is needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
There is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against the use of astaxanthin for rheumatoid arthritis. More study is warranted in this area.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antiandrogen (blocks male hormones), antibacterial, antihypertensive (lowers high blood pressure), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, asthma, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, prevention), autoimmune diseases, back pain (chronic), benign prostate hyperplasia, cancer, canker sores, cardiovascular disease (prevention and treatment), central nervous system disorders, dementia (vascular), diabetes, dyspepsia (upset stomach), exercise capacity improvement, eye problems, Helicobacter pylori infection, immune stimulant, neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases), stroke, ultraviolet light skin damage protection, weight loss.
Adults (18 years and older)
In general, manufacturers have reported that 3 gelcaps BioAstin® astaxanthin (6 milligrams) by mouth at each meal for eight weeks was safe in adults. Similarly, no toxicity or side effects were noted when taking up to 19.25 milligrams of AstaFactor® by mouth for 29 days.
Doses typically range from 2-12 milligrams per day for two weeks to six months. BioAstin® has been used for carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, musculoskeletal injury, and sunburn. For male infertility, 16 milligrams (AstaCarox®) by mouth daily for three months has been used. No dose has been proven safe or effective.
Various seafoods contain the astaxanthin pigment. A standard serving portion of 4 ounces of Atlantic salmon contains from 0.5-1.1 milligrams of astaxanthin, whereas the same amount of sockeye salmon may contain 4.5 milligrams of astaxanthin.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is currently a lack of available scientific evidence to recommend the use of astaxanthin in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to astaxanthin or related carotenoids, including canthaxanthin, or hypersensitivity to an astaxanthin algal source, such as Haematococcus pluvialis.
Side Effects and Warnings
According to the Code of Federal Regulations, astaxanthin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when used as a color additive in salmon foods. Astaxanthin is likely safe when used as an antioxidant and as adjunctive support in cancer treatment, cardiovascular disease treatment and ocular (eye) health promotion.
Side effects of astaxanthin use may include decreased blood pressure, increased skin pigmentation and hair growth, hormonal changes, lowered calcium levels in the blood, altered blood counts, decreased libido, and enlargement of the breasts (in men).
Astaxanthin should be used cautiously in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure), asthma, parathyroid disorders, or osteoporosis. Avoid use in patients with known allergies to astaxanthin, hormone-sensitive conditions or immune disorders.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Astaxanthin is not recommended for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Astaxanthin may be unsafe in pregnant women, as it may affect reproductive hormones.
Astaxanthin has been studied as an agent to treat male infertility, although results were inconclusive.