How Much Astaxanthin Should We Take?

Time: 4:44 Added: 4/13/2011
Views: 4661

Can you get too much of a 'good thing'? Dr. Rudi Moerck says 'yes'. Find out why, how much is a recommended dose and where we might find astaxanthin in our food.

Contributor(s): Moerck, Rudi Ph.D.
Tags: dosage, dose, lutein, beta-carotene, carotenoids, astaxanthin, skin color

Scott: Doctor, you talked about dosage a little bit. And can we have too much of a good thing, so to speak? And how much should one person take? Does it depend on the person, the size of the person? 

Dr. Rudi E. Moerck: Yeah. With Astaxanthin, there is some controversy about it, and I am very firm in using science to tell you how much Astaxanthin to take. 

First of all, it is a fat soluble antioxidant, and therefore, it does somewhat bioaccumulate. All right? It's T 1/2, and T 1/2 means the time it takes for half of it to disappear out of your blood. It's 16 hours, which means if you're taking it every 24 hours, there is some buildup. And a good example of that is that if you raise a salmon without any Astaxanthin, or without any algae that it eats that has Astaxanthin in it, the meat is white. But when you open up a Pacific salmon or an Atlantic salmon, it's pink on the inside. Well, that's Astaxanthin. It's bioaccumulated. And it's bioaccumulated in the membranes. And why do salmon have all this strength? How can salmon swim upstream and jump over rocks and stuff like that for days at a time? They must have some pretty strong antioxidants built into their system. And so, I think that's very important. 

But, let's talk specifically about dose. For Astaxanthin, my company recommends 2 to 4 milligrams a day. Even a 1 milligram a day dose is far better than no Astaxanthin. And even that 1 milligram, after 16 hours there's still a half milligram left. You take another 1 milligram, there's more Astaxanthin. It would accumulate slower. But I think the ideal dose is between 2 and 4 milligrams. I strongly caution, do not buy what people are saying about, "Hey, if a little bit is good, more is a lot better." 

Astaxanthin is not dangerous. It has an LD50 in rats, that's 450 milligrams per kilo. That is just a huge number. I mean, that's like, you know, water. So, it's very safe. But carotenoids do accumulate in your body. They accumulate in your skin, which will give you some sun protection. And there is a company that has a patent on the use of Astaxanthin for UV protection. A company called Scientech. And they recognized early on. But if you eat too much of a carotenoid, eventually you'll turn orange. You'll turn pink. And I've seen that. I've seen people taking 84 milligrams of Lutein per day, and they were yellow. Beta-carotene was another one, where people were taking a couple of hundred milligrams of Beta-carotene. And I think that that is wasteful. It makes economically no sense. And science clearly says that 2 to 4 milligrams a day is a safe and effective quantity to take. And I believe that that's an optimal amount. 

Scott: Now, if we can get it in our food sources, too, you mentioned salmon. You talked about a couple more of those. And if we are able to do that through our food, do we still need to supplement? And how does that work? 

Dr. Rudi E. Moerck: Yeah. We're a producer of Astaxanthin, so the beautiful thing for us is that you really can't get it in the food you're eating except for eating wild salmon.

Scott: Okay

Dr. Rudi E. Moerck: Okay? Farm-raised salmon will have Astaxanthin in it, but it's made in a chemical factory somewhere in Europe, and it is not the same. Only one quarter of the synthetic Astaxanthin is the active form. All right? And the other thing is that there's no vegetables that have Astaxanthin in them. There are no Marigolds. There's no fruits and vegetables. Now, with the other carotenoids, Lutein is readily available from plant sources. Spinach, green vegetables, broccoli has a lot of Lutein in it. And Ziaxanthin is also available in things like corn and things like that. So, those are available. I still believe in Lutein and Ziaxanthin supplementation, but Astaxanthin you will only get from wild salmon. And on average, if you eat like a 6 ounce piece of salmon, you'll get 3 to 4 milligrams of Astaxanthin.
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