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Nutrient - Human study supports astaxanthin's heart benefits

By Holly Taylor BSc(Hons) DipCNM MBANT NTCC

According to a new human trial from Japan, daily supplements of the carotenoid astaxanthin may improve ‘good’ HDL cholesterol levels in people with mildly abnormal blood lipids.

To carry out their research, the Japanese scientists recruited 61 people, aged 25-60 years, with mildly abnormal blood lipids. The participants were then randomly assigned to receive six, 12 or 18mg of astaxanthin or a dummy pill for 12 weeks. Body mass index (BMI) and the levels of different blood fats and hormones were measured before and after the test period.

The results showed that the 12 and 18mg per day doses of astaxanthin reduced the participant’s triglyceride levels by 25% and 24%, respectively. In addition, those receiving six or 12mg per day of astaxanthin experienced significant increases in their HDL cholesterol levels, of 10% and 15%, respectively.

The data also showed that those taking the two highest doses of astaxanthin demonstrated around a 20% increase in their levels of adiponectin. Adiponectin is a protein hormone that is known to be protective against heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.

Commenting on their results, the researchers wrote: “The present double-blind, placebo-controlled study could be the first to clearly demonstrate that the administration of astaxanthin at doses of 12 and 18mg/day significantly decreased triglyceride levels and increased HDL cholesterol and adiponectin in humans.”

Editor’s note: While this study is using high dosages of astaxanthin, there is much research to support its benefits when taken at much lower levels. 

Article References

Yoshida H et al. (2010) Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis. 209(2):520-3.

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