Positive Effects of Astaxanthin on Lipid Profiles and Oxidative Stress in Overweight Subjects


Astaxanthin, a carotenoid, has antioxidant activity as well as many positive effects, such as anticancer and anti-inflammatory effects. We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effects of astaxanthin on lipid profiles and oxidative stress in overweight and obese adults in Korea. In total, 27 subjects with body mass index >25.0 kg/m2 were enrolled and randomly assigned into two groups administered astaxanthin or placebo capsules for 12 weeks. Total cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1), and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) were measured before and after intervention. Malondialdehyde (MDA), isoprostane (ISP), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and total antioxidant capacity (TAC), as oxidative stress biomarkers, were measured at baseline and at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after intervention. LDL cholesterol and ApoB were significantly lower after treatment with astaxanthin, compared with the start of administration, whereas none of the lipid profiles was changed in the placebo group. At the baseline, all four biomarkers were not significantly different between the two groups. Compared with the placebo group, MDA and ISP were significantly lower, but TAC was significantly higher in the astaxanthin group at 12 weeks. These results suggest that supplementary astaxanthin has positive effects by improving the LDL cholesterol, ApoB, and oxidative stress biomarkers.

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Fig. 1



Apolipoprotein A1


Apolipoprotein B


Body mass index


High-density lipoprotein




Low-density lipoprotein


Lipid profiles




Oxidative stress


Standard deviation


Superoxide dismutase


Total antioxidant capacity


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This work was supported by a grant of the Korea Health 21 R&D project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, South Korea (A050376). The authors would like to thank all subjects participated in this study. No writing assistance was acquired for this paper. The contributions of the authors to the manuscript are as follows. H.C.: study design, data collection, samples analyses, data analyses and writing of the manuscripts; Y.Y.: study design and coordination; W.S.: study design, coordination and reviewing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


The authors declared no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Wan Gyoon Shin.

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Choi, H.D., Youn, Y.K. & Shin, W.G. Positive Effects of Astaxanthin on Lipid Profiles and Oxidative Stress in Overweight Subjects. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 66, 363–369 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-011-0258-9

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  • Astaxanthin
  • Carotenoids
  • Lipid profiles
  • Overweight
  • Oxidative stress