“Dietary interventions should be the initial step in the treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD).” Risk factors for CVD include hypertension, hyperlipidemia, insulin resistance or diabetes, and obesity. People at risk for CVD should reduce animal fats, cholesterol and sodium. They should increase consumption of plant chemicals such as carotenoids.
Oxidative stress seems to be involved in CVD. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables result in reduced oxidative stress, CVD and other chronic diseases. Carotenoid antioxidants must be obtained from the diet since they cannot be manufactured in our bodies.
Astaxanthin and fucoxanthin are the primary marine carotenoids.* Astaxanthin treats various disorders, such as cancer, chronic inflammatory disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and CVD, as well as gastrointestinal, liver and neurodegenerative disease. Astaxanthin is a superior antioxidant to beta-carotene.
A study of dyslipidemia showed a combination of berberine, policosanol, red yeast extracts, folic acid and astaxanthin to be beneficial in treatment of high cholesterol, high triglycerides and of low HDL-cholesterol.
Fucoxanthin is a brown pigment with the rare ability to have antioxidant activity under conditions of reduced oxygen and is able to increase the production of energy from fats. Fucoxanthin also protects the heart in CVD. It also reduces the risk of stroke in stroke-prone hypertensive rats. It is even used in the treatment of metabolic syndrome and obesity.
CONCLUSION: Astaxanthin and fucoxanthin are carotenoids which have shown promise for reducing risk factors for CVD.
NOTE: *Marine carotenoids are found primarily in algae and in animals which eat algae.