Pharmacokinetics of beta-carotene and canthaxanthin after ingestion of individual and combined doses by human subjects

J Am Coll Nutr. 1994 Dec;13(6):665-71. doi: 10.1080/07315724.1994.10718463.


Objective: This study investigated effects of ingestion of a combined dose of beta-carotene and canthaxanthin on their individual pharmacokinetics in serum.

Methods: During three 5-day study periods, two subjects ingested either a 25 mg dose of beta-carotene, a 25 mg dose of canthaxanthin, or a combined dose of 25 mg each of beta-carotene and canthaxanthin. Pharmacokinetics of the individual and combined doses were compared within subjects.

Results: Ingestion of a concurrent beta-carotene dose reduced the peak serum canthaxanthin concentration by 38.8 +/- 6.5%, and the 24- and 72-hour areas under the serum canthaxanthin concentration-time curves by 38.1 +/- 6.4 and 34.4 +/- 7.4%, respectively. The suggested antagonism between beta-carotene and canthaxanthin was not reciprocal; beta-carotene inhibited the appearance of canthaxanthin in serum but canthaxanthin did not inhibit the appearance of beta-carotene.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that ingestion of a combined pharmacologic dose of beta-carotene and canthaxanthin reduces the bioavailability of the canthaxanthin dose.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Biological Availability
  • Canthaxanthin / administration & dosage
  • Canthaxanthin / blood
  • Canthaxanthin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Carotenoids / administration & dosage
  • Carotenoids / blood
  • Carotenoids / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • beta Carotene


  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • Canthaxanthin