Astaxanthin, the ‘perfect summer supplement’? Study indicates skin protection effects

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dietary supplements such as astaxanthin should not act as a replacement to sunscreen, says Algatech CSO, Dr Tair Lapidot. ©GettyImages/Marko_Marcello
Dietary supplements such as astaxanthin should not act as a replacement to sunscreen, says Algatech CSO, Dr Tair Lapidot. ©GettyImages/Marko_Marcello

Related tags: Astaxanthin, skin health, healthy aging, Algatech, Carotenoid, microalgae

A new study analyzing the protective role astaxanthin plays in UV-induced skin deterioration found that it may have innate skin protection benefits against direct UV radiation damage.

The astaxanthin supplement sourced from microalgae cultivated and produced by Algatech, was tested among 23 healthy Japanese adults (aged 30- to 56-years-old) over the course of nine weeks with one additional week for base measurement at the beginning of the study.

“We have scientific pieces of evidence from human, animal and cellular models, demonstrating that astaxanthin enhances the innate sun protection and reduces the UV damage and skin aging,”​ Dr Tair Lapidot, CSO for Algatech, told NutraIngredients-USA.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trial conducted by Fujifilm under their brand ASTOTS included 21 females and two males in Osaka, Japan split into two groups of 11 and 12. Each group was given either a daily 4mg astaxanthin supplement or a placebo capsule identical in shape and size over the course of nine weeks.

“To assess the protective role of astaxanthin for UV-induced skin deterioration, we determined the minimal erythema dose (MED) and analyzed UV-induced changes of moisture and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) at baseline and after nine weeks of supplementation,”​ researchers wrote.  

Results: 'Astaxanthin seems protective'

Researchers assessed skin conditions by a subjective visual analog scale measuring “improvement of rough skin​” and “texture”​.

According to the study results, at the end of nine weeks, the astaxanthin group showed increased MED and a reduced loss of skin moisture in the irradiated area compared with the placebo group.

Subjective skin conditions such as improved texture and reduced roughness of the skin were also observed in the astaxanthin group.

“Astaxanthin seems protective against UV-induced skin deterioration and helps maintain healthy skin in healthy people,”​ researchers continued.

As Dr Lapidot highlights, through oral supplementation astaxanthin arrives in the skin layers “from the inside... enhancing the innate power of our cells to fight the damage caused by UV radiation by scavenging reactive free radicals and inducing our internal enzymatic mechanism."

“The study nicely demonstrates that a daily supplement of 4mg natural astaxanthin, sourced from Haematococcus Pluvialis microalgae cultivated and produced by Algatech, enhanced the innate skin protection against direct UV radiation damage,”​ she said.

"We know from the results that a daily intake is needed in order to maintain a sufficient [astaxanthin] level in our body."

Viability of an oral skin protection supplement

While Dr Lapidot described astaxanthin as the “perfect summer supplement”​, she stressed that it is just one part of the equation to protecting against the full spectrum of sun damage.

“We need a combination of tools to reduce skin cancer occurrence,”​ Dr Lapidot said.

“Dietary supplements are not a replacement for sunscreen blockers​ and avoiding exposure to the sun at the high-risk hours. As unique a dietary supplement like astaxanthin is, it is an additional instrument in our toolkit for better skin protection, as used in wildlife for ages.”

 

Source: Nutrients
Published online ahead of print, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10070817
“The Protective Role of Astaxanthin for UV-Induced Skin Deterioration in Healthy People—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial”​​
Authors: Naoki Ito

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