Astaxanthin may help with heartburn and other digestive disorders
Americans, in general, have lots of heartburn and poor digestive health in general.
Dyspepsia (indigestion, heartburn and general abdominal discomfort) symptoms are all too common, affecting one-quarter of adults. Most of these symptoms are often associated with infection with Helicobacter pylori. The hostile environment of the stomach generally resists infection by most common bacteria taken in by ingestion of non-sterile food and drink.
H. pylori is exceptional among bacteria in being able to thrive in stomach fluids. It is estimated that 20 percent of people under the age of 40 and 50 percent of those over the age of 60 are infected with H. pylori. H. pylori infection increases the production of reactive-oxygen species, resulting in much higher levels of oxidative stress in the stomach lining, as well as inflammation.
In a pilot trial, ten patients with H. pylori infection took astaxanthin and found considerable relief from indigestion symptoms like heartburn. Based on these positive findings, researchers followed up with a larger double-blind study.1 In this study, different dosages of astaxanthin (16 mg or 40 mg) were compared to placebo in a group of 132 adults with dyspepsia over a four-week period. The higher dosage of astaxanthin significantly reduced the symptoms of heartburn and this effect was most pronounced in the patients found to be infected with H. pylori.
Additional work with patients with dyspepsia has documented astaxanthin’s ability (at 40 mg. daily) to decrease stomach inflammation in patients tested positive for H. pylori infection.2
Kupcinskas L, et al. Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without Helicobacter pylori infection. Phytomedicine 2008;15:391-9.
Andersen LP, et al. Gastric inflammatory markers and interleukins in patients with functional dyspepsia treated with astaxanthin. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol 2007;50(2):244-8.