Astaxanthin as a Potential Protector of Liver Function: A Review

J Clin Med Res. 2016 Oct;8(10):701-4. doi: 10.14740/jocmr2672w. Epub 2016 Aug 30.


Protecting against liver damage, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, is currently considered to be important for the prevention of adverse conditions, such as cardiovascular and cancerous diseases. Liver damage often occurs in relation to oxidative stress with metabolic disorders, including cellular lipid accumulation. Astaxanthin (3,3'-dihydroxy-β,β-carotene-4,4'dione), a xanthophyll carotenoid, is a candidate for liver protection. Here, we briefly review astaxanthin as a potential protector against liver damage. In particular, studies have reported antioxidative effects of astaxanthin in liver tissues. Astaxanthin treatment is also reported to improve hyperlipidemia, which indirectly induces the antioxidative effects of astaxanthin on liver pathologies. Furthermore, astaxanthin may alleviate liver damage independent of its antioxidative effects. Of note, there are still insufficient human data to observe the effect of astaxanthin treatment on liver function in clinical conditions. More studies investigating the relevance of astaxanthin on liver protection are necessary.

Keywords: Alanine aminotransferase; Antioxidant; Aspartate aminotransferase; Liver function; Oxidative stress; Reactive oxygen species; γ-glutamyltransferase.

Publication types

  • Review