Protective effects of Haematococcus astaxanthin on oxidative stress in healthy smokers

J Med Food. 2011 Nov;14(11):1469-75. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2011.1626. Epub 2011 Sep 1.


Free radicals induced by cigarette smoking have been strongly linked to increased oxidative stress in vivo, contributing to the pathobiology of various diseases. This study was performed to investigate the effects of Haematococcus astaxanthin (ASX), which has been known to be a potent antioxidant, on oxidative stress in smokers. Thirty-nine heavy smokers (≥20 cigarettes/day) and 39 non-smokers were enrolled in this study. Smokers were randomly divided into three dosage groups to receive ASX at doses of 5, 20, or 40 mg (n=13, each) once daily for 3 weeks. Oxidative stress biomarkers such as malondialdehyde, isoprostane, superoxide dismutase, and total antioxidant capacity, and ASX levels in plasma were measured at baseline and after 1, 2, and 3 weeks of treatment. Compared with baseline, the plasma malondialdehyde and isoprostane levels decreased, whereas superoxide dismutase level and total antioxidant capacity increased in all ASX intervention groups over the 3-week period. In particular, isoprostane levels showed a significant dose-dependent decrease after ASX intake. The results suggest that ASX supplementation might prevent oxidative damage in smokers by suppressing lipid peroxidation and stimulating the activity of the antioxidant system in smokers.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Isoprostanes / blood
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Smoking / blood*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage
  • Xanthophylls / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Free Radicals
  • Isoprostanes
  • Xanthophylls
  • Malondialdehyde
  • astaxanthine
  • Superoxide Dismutase