Canthaxanthin is a xanthophyll and phytonutrient (health boosting, plant based chemical compounds) that can be sourced from certain types of fish and mushrooms. It is a powerful antioxidant that can keep your body’s cells safe from dangerous free radicals. In this article I will be providing a full overview of canthaxanthin and its role in human health.
Canthaxanthin was first discovered in 1970 by the British chemist Basil Weedon.
2) HEALTH BENEFITS:
As discussed above, canthaxanthin is a highly effective antioxidant that can keep your body’s cells safe from free radicals. Free radicals are dangerous substances that get released into your body’s cells during oxygen based reactions. They have been linked with accelerated ageing, an increased risk of cancer (a health disorder where your body’s cells start to grow in a rapid, out of control way), an increased risk of diabetes (a health disorder where your blood glucose levels become dangerously high) and a weak immune system.
Early studies indicate that this xanthophyll may also prevent ultraviolet (UV) damage to the skin cells. However, additional studies are required before this can be confirmed.
3) FOOD SOURCES:
Canthaxanthin can be sourced from algae, chanterelle mushrooms, various crustaceans and various fish. However, the exact amounts these foods contain is not known.
4) OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS:
There are no reported overdose symptoms associated with canthaxanthin sourced from natural foods. However, this xanthophyll is often added to illegal sunless tanning products. When taken in this unnatural form it can lead to aplastic anemia (a blood disorder where the body’s bone marrow stops producing enough new blood cells), canthaxanthin retinopathy (a disorder where yellow deposits form on the retina of the eye) and urticarial (a skin rash that causes red itchy patches to develop). Due to these health hazards you should avoid any sunless tanning products that list canthaxanthin as an ingredient.
The research on canthaxanthin is still in the very early stages. Whilst there is very little information available on this xanthophyll, I highly recommend that you include it in your diet by consuming fish at least twice a week. Not only will fish provide you with canthaxanthin but it will also give you plenty of other health boosting nutrients such as omega 3 essential fatty acids, protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. You can incorporate fish into your diet either by having it as part of your main meal, eating it for lunch or even eating it for breakfast.