advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Is Astaxanthin A Better Antioxidant?

What can you tell me about astaxanthin? It is supposed to be many times more powerful than any other antioxidant out there.

A
Answer (Published 10/24/2014)

Originally published May 3, 2011. Updated October 24, 2014.

Astaxanthin is one of the many cancer-protective carotenoids found naturally in orange and red fruits and vegetables as well as dark leafy greens, wild salmon, trout, red sea bream and shrimp. Astaxanthin has been touted online as a supplement to protect the eyes, skin, joints and central nervous system as well as to boost immunity, reduce risks of cancer and prevent heart disease. It has also been suggested for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and high cholesterol, but according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database there’s insufficient evidence for astaxanthin’s effectiveness as a remedy for any of these health problems. I’ve seen no human study showing that astaxanthin as an isolated dietary supplement delivers any of these claimed benefits.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Supplements & Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

Some research indicates that astaxanthin may prove useful for treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle weakness or injury, high LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and male infertility. But here, too, more comprehensive studies are needed before we can say for sure that astaxanthin is effective in addressing any of these disorders.

If you're taking an astaxanthin supplement, you should be aware that it might lower blood pressure (evidence comes from studies in rats); if you're on medication for high blood pressure, tell your physician that you're taking it. Other potential side effects include increased skin pigmentation (astaxanthin is the compound that gives flamingos, salmon, and shrimp their pink color) and hair growth, hormonal changes, lowered blood levels of calcium, decreased libido, breast enlargement in men, and changes in blood tests. Astaxanthin isn't recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.

I see no reason to take astaxanthin as a single supplement, but it should be included as part of a complex of mixed carotenoids. However, it is more important to make sure that your daily diet contains a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables that provide many different health-protective antioxidants.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here