Are there any dangers or side effects associated with astaxanthin?
As long as natural astaxanthin (from Haematocuccus pluvialis) has been in use, there has never been a report of:
• an indication of toxicity
• negative interaction with a drug
• negative interaction with a supplement
• negative interaction with food
• allergic reaction
There have been at least eight clinical studies using more than 180 humans using astaxanthin to assess its safety, bioavailability and clinical aspects relevant to oxidative stress, inflammation or the cardiovascular system. No adverse outcomes have been reported.
One study ascertained the safety of taking astaxanthin by enrolling thirty-five healthy adults, age 35-69 years, were enrolled in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nineteen of the participants took three gelcaps per day, one at each meal, algal extract in safflower oil, containing 2 mg of astaxanthin each. The rest received a placebo containing safflower oil only. The researchers found no significant differences between the treatment and the placebo groups after eight weeks, and concluded that “6 mg of astaxanthin per day from an H. pluvialis algal extract can be safely consumed by healthy adults.”1
Astaxanthin side effects
According to numerous human studies utilizing natural astaxanthin from a variety of sources and in a wide range of dosages, there are no side effect concerns. Although certain websites have parroted one another’s information that astaxanthin side effects may include decreases in blood pressure, hormonal changes, decreased libido, and more, WellWise has found no scientific documentation whatsoever for these claims.
However, astaxanthin derived from mutated strains of Phaffia rhodozyma yeast (as opposed to natural astaxanthin), has been approved for certain animal feeds, but its use for humans is very restricted in the United States and not allowed at all in some other nations. Not enough is yet known about this strain to speak definitively about its dangers or side effects.
1. Spiller GA, et al. Safety of an astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis algal extract: a randomized clinical trial. J Med Food 2003;6(1):51-6.