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Astaxanthin, a substance in the carotenoid family, provides the pink color of salmon and many other sea creatures. Like other carotenoids, astaxanthin is a strong antioxidant . It has been advocated for treating or preventing a number of health conditions, but as yet none of these proposed uses is supported by meaningful scientific evidence.
Many health claims for astaxanthin are based on the fact that it is a strong antioxidant. However, in recent years, scientific confidence in the medical benefits of antioxidants has waned; study after gigantic study of antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene have failed to find the hoped-for benefits.
Other proposed uses of astaxanthin have at least marginal supporting evidence from double-blind studies . In one such study, 30 men with infertility were given either placebo or 16 mg of astaxanthin daily, for a period three months. 1 The results showed possible small benefits on laboratory measures of fertility.
Another study tested astaxanthin combined with the carotenoid lutein as a possible supplement for enhancing recovery from exercise . In this small...
A widely consumed nutritional substance, astaxanthin is expected to have a low order of toxicity. In human studies, no serious adverse astaxanthin side effects have been seen.2 Maximum safe doses in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or individuals with severe liver or kidney disease have not been determined.
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