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Astaxanthin is a compound found in ocean animals and plants. It has been used for its bright orange color in some cosmetics. It is also used as an antioxidant to slow damage to cells. It can be taken as a pill or used as a paste.


5 to 40 milligrams once per day

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

  • High Cholesterol —may lower triglycerides and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterolA1, A2.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to use astaxanthin for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Astaxanthin can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People with carotenemia should talk to their doctor before taking astaxanthin as it may worsen their symptoms.



A1. Yoshida H, Yanai H, et al. Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia. Atherosclerosis. 2010;209(2):520-523.

A2. Choi HD, Youn YK, et al. Positive effects of astaxanthin on lipid profiles and oxidative stress in overweight subjects. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2011 Nov;66(4):363-369.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 9/9/2019