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Astaxanthin: A Heart-Healthy Ingredient

Friday October 2, 2020
Astaxanthin: A Heart-Healthy Ingredient

A review of the clinical studies

Astaxanthin is an aquatic carotenoid with a bright red pigment, that has a reassuring clinical history of use in skin and eye health. But a recent systematic review and meta-analysis has suggested a variety of other health benefits. In particular, supporting individuals with cardiovascular-related conditions and diseases such as high cholesterol and atherosclerosis.

In this new meta-analysis, 14 eligible articles were included in the final quantitative analysis. Astaxanthin was given at variable doses for each, over different periods of time. The study found that astaxanthin, when given a reasonably high doses (12mg/day) for relatively long periods of time (12 weeks and over), levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) decreased1.

Reducing C-Reactive Protein inflammation

CRP is an inflammation biomarker, and elevated levels of CRP is linked to chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a chronic slowly progressive disease and one of the most frequent cause of mobility impairment and disability, common in the elderly population2. Symptoms include pain, swelling and cartilage breakdown. So, this new review shows an overall positive correlation between astaxanthin supplementation and reduced levels of CRP inflammation. Thus improving cardiovascular health.


Raising good cholesterol

The current meta-analysis concluded that supplementation with astaxanthin also showed an overall increase in levels of HDL-c, widely known as the good cholesterol. HDL helps take cholesterol out of your bloodstream by carrying it to the liver, where it is used or removed from circulation. An overall increase in HDL results in a greater percentage of cholesterol being transported to the liver for removal. Therefore, this research indicates that astaxanthin may well have a role in reducing cholesterol levels.


However, it was not clear exactly how much astaxanthin would be needed to see this benefit in the current review. Lowered HDL Levels have previously been identified to be a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, one of the highest causes of mortality worldwide3, so the current meta-analysis indicates a potential benefit of using astaxanthin for increasing HDL levels, therefore reducing cholesterol levels. 


Improving blood lipid profiles

Further to this, astaxanthin is a natural antioxidant. Antioxidant therapy, such as astaxanthin supplementation, has been reported to improve blood lipid profiles and reduce oxidative damage to blood vessels4. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are both contributors of atherosclerosis, which causes plaque to clog and narrow your arteries over time and cause detrimental cardiovascular disease. 


The current research shows promising benefits from taking astaxanthin as a daily supplement for health reasons other than skin and eye health. Astaxanthin clearly has important roles in cholesterol and inflammation, alongside natural antioxidant properties. However, more research needs to be completed to understand fully the amount needed for such benefits.


Author: Amy Hipwell is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc in Nutrition.


Related articles:

 More on Astaxanthin


 More on Heart Health


1. WeiXia, NieTang, HamedKord-Varkaneh, Teck YewLow, Shing ChengTan, XinWu, YingZh., 2020. The effects of astaxanthin supplementation on obesity, blood pressure, CRP, glycemic biomarkers, and lipid profile: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacological Research., vol 161, 105113.

2. Babaei, M., Javadian, Y., Narimani, H., Ranaei, M., Heidari, B., Basereh, H., Gholinia, H., & Firouzjahi, A. (2019). Correlation between systemic markers of inflammation and local synovitis in knee osteoarthritis. Caspian journal of internal medicine, 10(4), 383–387.

3. Mahdy Ali, K., Wonnerth, A., Huber, K., & Wojta, J. (2012). Cardiovascular disease risk reduction by raising HDL cholesterol--current therapies and future opportunities. British journal of pharmacology, 167(6), 1177–1194.

4. Kishimoto, Y., Yoshida, H., & Kondo, K. (2016). Potential Anti-Atherosclerotic Properties of Astaxanthin. Marine Drugs, 14(2), 35.

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: NewsAstaxanthin, Skin Health, Cardio


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