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Molecules 2012, 17(2), 2030-2048; doi:10.3390/molecules17022030

Astaxanthin in Cardiovascular Health and Disease

School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4000, Australia
Department of Renal Medicine, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, 4029, Australia
The School of Human Movement Studies, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland, 4072, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 January 2012 / Revised: 13 February 2012 / Accepted: 13 February 2012 / Published: 20 February 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids)
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Oxidative stress and inflammation are established processes contributing to cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis. However, antioxidant therapies tested in cardiovascular disease such as vitamin E, C and β-carotene have proved unsuccessful at reducing cardiovascular events and mortality. Although these outcomes may reflect limitations in trial design, new, more potent antioxidant therapies are being pursued. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid found in microalgae, fungi, complex plants, seafood, flamingos and quail is one such agent. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Limited, short duration and small sample size studies have assessed the effects of astaxanthin on oxidative stress and inflammation biomarkers and have investigated bioavailability and safety. So far no significant adverse events have been observed and biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation are attenuated with astaxanthin supplementation. Experimental investigations in a range of species using a cardiac ischaemia-reperfusion model demonstrated cardiac muscle preservation when astaxanthin is administered either orally or intravenously prior to the induction of ischaemia. Human clinical cardiovascular studies using astaxanthin therapy have not yet been reported. On the basis of the promising results of experimental cardiovascular studies and the physicochemical and antioxidant properties and safety profile of astaxanthin, clinical trials should be undertaken.
Keywords: antioxidants; marine carotenoids; inflammation; oxidative stress; cardiovascular disease antioxidants; marine carotenoids; inflammation; oxidative stress; cardiovascular disease
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Fassett, R.G.; Coombes, J.S. Astaxanthin in Cardiovascular Health and Disease. Molecules 2012, 17, 2030-2048.

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