Astaxanthin is most frequently used as an additive to animal feeds. It adds pigment to salmon, crabs, lobsters and salmon. It provides them with the familiar reddish orange color. Generally, as an animal feed supplement, astaxanthin is considered to be safe as stated by the Code of Federal Regulations of America. Most individuals are able to eat astaxanthin-fed seafood with no reactions at all. In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration of the United States cleared astaxanthin as a food component for the consumption of humans.
The common side effects of astaxanthin are low blood pressure, increased pigmentation, shifts in hormone levels and increased hair growth. In men, breast enlargement, reduced levels of calcium and decreased libido have also been noted. However, these side effects are uncommon. Also, allergic reactions are possible and could be quite harmful. Astaxanthin and astaxanthin-fed foods must not be used by anybody who has a known allergy to the substance.
Another serious concern is drug interactions. For example, medication for blood pressure may be intensified by astaxanthin. As a result, blood pressure may become dangerously low. In addition, birth control and hormone treatments can be affected by the effects of supplements on the levels of hormone. There have been similar cross-reactions observed with a few antihistamines. Even medications for asthma will not react well to astaxanthin. Liver enzymes which are responsible for the removal of a variety of drugs from the blood may also be affected. Consequently, levels of these drugs which remain in the circulation will increase.
Additionally, reactions are possible with other supplements and herbal remedies. Other medications, saw palmetto and black cohosh affecting the hormones may have unpredictable reactions. The side effects of astaxanthin such as reduced levels of calcium and low blood pressure will be intensified by substances with similar effects. Absorption is reduced, if astaxanthin is used together with other carotenoid antioxidants such as lycopene and beta carotene. Therefore, it is not recommended.
January 31, 2013