The most commonly reported side effects of astaxanthin are harmless pigmentation changes, such as a slight orange tinge to the skin or stool. Even at high doses, no toxic effects were observed, either in animals or humans. Other less common side effects of astaxanthin have a greater impact, and side effects like low blood pressure and changes in hormone levels can have serious health implications.
Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that can be found in salmon.
Astaxanthin is most commonly used as an additive to animal feed and adds pigment to crabs, shrimp, lobsters and salmon, giving them their familiar reddish-orange color. As an animal feed supplement, astaxanthin is generally recognized as safe under the US Code of Federal Regulations, and most people are able to consume astaxanthin-fed seafood without any reaction. In 1999, the US Food and Drug Administration cleared astaxanthin as a food ingredient for human consumption.
Astaxanthin can cause a drop in blood pressure.
As a dietary supplement, astaxanthin is most often used as an antioxidant to lower cholesterol. Advocates also recommend astaxanthin for improving eye health and treating carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, muscle damage, gastrointestinal complaints, and male infertility. It should be noted, however, that there is not enough evidence to support any of these claims, and there is no proven health benefit from this supplement.
It is not recommended to consume foods rich in lycopene, such as tomatoes, when taking astaxanthin.
Common side effects of astaxanthin include increased pigmentation, hair growth, changes in hormone levels, and low blood pressure. Reduced calcium levels, decreased libido, and breast enlargement have also been seen in men, but these astaxanthin side effects are rarer. Allergic reactions are also possible and can be quite dangerous. Foods fed astaxanthin and astaxanthin should be avoided by anyone with a known allergy to the substance.
Astaxanthin can cause decreased libido and breast enlargement in men.
Drug interactions are another serious concern. For example, blood pressure medication can be amplified by astaxanthin and can cause blood pressure to drop dangerously. Hormone treatments and birth control can be affected by the supplement’s effects on hormone levels. Similar cross-reactions have been seen with some antihistamines, and asthma medications may not react well to astaxanthin. Liver enzymes, which are responsible for removing a variety of drugs from the blood, can also be affected, resulting in elevated levels of these drugs remaining in the circulation.
Reactions are also possible with other supplements and herbal remedies. Saw palmetto, black cohosh or other medications that affect hormones may react unpredictably. Astaxanthin side effects, such as low blood pressure and reduced calcium levels, can be amplified by substances with similar effects. Using other carotenoid antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, with astaxanthin will reduce absorption and is not recommended.