You already know that antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can be a powerful tool for better health, helping to reduce the amount of oxidized LDL-cholesterol—the type that contributes to the formation of plaque buildup inside your arteries—within the body.
But have you heard about astaxanthin?
This potent little antioxidant is derived from algae and can help with certain gastrointestinal ailments (among other things). While there are no known toxic side effects even when higher levels are reached, we want to make sure you have all the information you need when making decisions about your diet and health.
That’s why we’re giving you the 4-1-1 on some things to consider before adding astaxanthin to your diet, as well as how it may react with certain medications.
After all, you know what they say—knowledge is power.
If you have a known allergy or hypersensitivity to astaxanthin or related carotenoids, a hypersensitivity to an astaxanthin source or algae, hormone-sensitive conditions, or immune disorders, you should not include astaxanthin in your daily regimen,
2. Side Effects
The Code of Federal Regulations has deemed astaxanthin generally recognized as safe (GRAS). It’s a healthy additive to seafood, and a useful antioxidant that can help treat cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Of course—as with most things—there can be side effects; while non-toxic, these can include:
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Increase in skin pigmentation
- Additional hair growth
- Changes in hormonal balance
- Lowered calcium levels in the blood
- Decreased libido
It’s also important to use caution if you have any cases of hypertension, asthma, parathyroid disorders, or osteoporosis.
A study of astaxanthin as an agent to help treat male infertility came up with inconclusive results, showing no major effects or benefits. However, astaxanthin is potentially dangerous for pregnant women as it may possibly affect the reproductive hormones.
Astaxanthin Effects on Biological Functions
Long story short, astaxanthin may have some effects on your biological functions, possibly interacting with medications for asthma, menopause, birth control, parathyroid disorders, and cholesterol-lowering medications.
In addition, it may:
- Decrease blood pressure
- Have hormonal effects
- Have effects similar to those of antihistamines like etirizine dihydrochloride and azelastine
- Lower levels of calcium in the blood
- Decrease low density lipoprotein (LD) oxidation
At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure you know all the possible effects of any new addition to your wellness regimen. When armed with the right level of information, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your individual needs.