WHAT IS CANTHAXANTHIN?
Canthaxanthin is a carotenoid and phytonutrient. It is most famous for being a sunless tanning product but this natural nutrient may have further health benefits in humans. In this article I will be providing you with a full overview of canthaxanthin and its role in the human body.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANTHAXANTHIN?
Canthaxanthin was discovered by the British chemist Basil Weedon in 1970 along with a selection of other carotenoids.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF CANTHAXANTHIN?
Canthaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that can protect the body’s cells from dangerous free radicals (harmful by-products which are released during oxygen based reactions). It may also be able to protect the skin cells from ultraviolet (UV) damage but further evidence is required before this can be confirmed.
Canthaxanthin most common use is as a sunless tanning product. However, tanning products which contain this phytonutrient should be avoided. They are illegal and also highly hazardous to human health. Consuming tanning products containing canthaxanthin can lead to aplastic anemia (a blood disorder where the body’s bone marrow does not produce enough new blood cells), canthaxanthin retinopathy (the formation of yellow deposits on the eye’s retina) and urticarial (a skin rash which leads to the development of red itchy patches).
HOW MUCH CANTHAXANTHIN DO YOU NEED?
Canthaxanthin is not classed as an essential nutrient so no official recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been established.
WHICH FOODS CONTAIN CANTHAXANTHIN?
Canthaxanthin can be found in algae and chanterelle mushrooms. It can also be found in certain crustaceans and fish. However, the exact amounts of canthaxanthin these foods contain is not known.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CONSUMING TOO MUCH CANTHAXANTHIN?
Naturally sourced canthaxanthin is believed to have no adverse side effects. However, as discussed above, the high levels of canthaxanthin found in some tanning products can be dangerous and lead to:
– Aplastic anemia.
– Canthaxanthin retinopathy.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FAILING TO CONSUME ENOUGH CANTHAXANTHIN?
Canthaxanthin is not classed as an essential nutrient so no deficiency symptoms have been established.
Canthaxanthin is not classed as an essential nutrient and is also found in very few foods so missing out on this phytonutrient is not going to harm your health. However, make sure you avoid unnatural tanning products that contain canthaxanthin. These can be highly hazardous to your health and can cause some serious damage.