Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Effects of astaxanthin in animal models of obesity-associated diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Radice, Rosa Paola; Limongi, Antonina Rita; Viviano, Emanuele; Padula, Maria Carmela; Martelli, Giuseppe; Bermano, Giovanna


Rosa Paola Radice

Antonina Rita Limongi

Emanuele Viviano

Maria Carmela Padula

Giuseppe Martelli


Background and aim: Obesity is a major risk factor for several diseases, including metabolic syndrome (MetS), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The use of natural products, such as astaxanthin (ASX), a potent antioxidant compound produced by the freshwater green microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, has gained particular interest to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and to improve redox status, often associated with obesity. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to comprehensively examine the effects of ASX in animal models of diet induced obesity-associated diseases in order to inform the design of future human clinical studies for ASX use as supplement or nutraceutical. Methods: Cinahl, Cochraine, MEDLINE, Scopus and Web of Science were searched for English-language manuscripts published between January 2000 and April 2020 using the following key words: astaxanthin, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, diabetes mellitus type 2, NAFLD and metabolic. Results: Seventeen eligible articles, corresponding to 21 animal studies, were included in the final quantitative analysis. ASX, at different concentrations and administered for different length of time, induced a significant reduction in adipose tissue weight (P=0.05) and systolic blood pressure (P[less than]0.0001) in control animals. In animal models of T2D, ASX significantly reduced serum glucose levels (P=0.04); whereas it improved several disease biomarkers in the blood (e.g. cholesterol, triglycerides, ALT and AST, P[less than]0.10), and reduced liver (P=0.0002) and body weight (P=0.11), in animal models of NAFLD. Conclusions: Supplementation of ASX in the diet has positive effects on symptoms associated with obesity related diseases in animals, by having lipid-lowering, hypo-insulin and hypoglycaemic capacity, protecting organs from oxidative stress and mitigating the immune system, as suggested in this review.


RADICE, R.P., LIMONGI, A.R., VIVIANO, E., PADULA, M.C., MARTELLI, G. and BERMANO, G. 2021. Effects of astaxanthin in animal models of obesity-associated diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Free radical biology and medicine [online], 171, pages 156-168. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 5, 2021
Online Publication Date May 8, 2021
Publication Date Aug 1, 2021
Deposit Date May 13, 2021
Publicly Available Date May 9, 2022
Journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine
Print ISSN 0891-5849
Electronic ISSN 1873-4596
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 171
Pages 156-168
Keywords Astaxanthin; Meta-analysis; Metabolic syndrome; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations