Human crossover pharmacokinetic study involving 12 subjects to determine the relative
bioavailability of astaxanthin in six commercially available oral formulations.
Astaxanthin is commercially available through several vendors. As a highly-lipophilic
compound, its oral bioavailability is likely limited by its solubility in the gut.
Pre-formulation strategies for addressing limited solubility include pre-dissolving the
astaxanthin in fatty solvents and encapsulating in gelatin capsules. This study will
evaluate the oral bioavailability of six different formulations of astaxanthin (12mg) in a
double blind crossover study involving 12 subjects.
All subjects will be asked to abstain from consuming any salmon 48hrs before and consuming
any food or alcoholic beverages 10 hours before reporting to the blood draw center at 8 AM.
They will be fed a standardized breakfast by choosing one of two Jimmy Dean brand breakfast
sandwiches (EGG, RED PEPPERS, ONIONS AND PEPPER JACK CHEESE CROISSANT or BACON, EGG & CHEESE
BISCUIT. Immediately following the standardized meal, they will take one of six different
formulations each containing 12 mg of astaxanthin. Bottled water (Zephyrhills® Brand 100%
Natural Spring Water) will be available to each subject ad lib. Blood will be collected
immediately before consuming the standardized meal and formulation (0 hr) and then again at
4, 8, 10, and 24 hours post dose by a licensed phlebotomist. In between blood draws, the
subjects will be allowed to leave the clinic and allowed to resume their normal diet and
lifestyle. However, they will be asked to abstain from consuming any alcoholic beverages or
salmon until after completion of the last blood draw at 24hrs. As a measure of quality
control, each subject will receive a breathalyzer test for alcohol prior to the 0 and 24 hr
blood draws. For each time point, blood will be collected in one 10ml Vacutainer Tube (BD
16x100 containing K2 EDTA) labeled using the randomization scheme to blind the samples.
Because 3 of the formulations are powders and the remaining 3 formulations are capsules,
which differ slightly size and appearance, neither the subjects nor investigators will be
blind to the formulation being tested on any given day. However, each subject will receive
separate random assignment to each of the 6 formulations tested over the course of the study
and all blood samples will be blinded to the quantitative analysis of astaxanthin plasma
levels. This process will be repeated six times for the entire subject population (with-in
subject design) with two-week washout periods between each pharmacokinetic (pK) run. The
blinded blood samples will be kept refrigerated and will be transported to the Center for
Excellence and Brain Repair (CEABR) lab within 24 hours, where it will be processed and
subjected to the High pressure liquid chromatograph (HPLC) analysis to quantify the
Inclusion Criteria:Subjects who have signed an informed consent form and who meet all of
the following entrance criteria may be enrolled in this clinical trial: Generally healthy
men and women who are 21 to 65 years of age, inclusive, at the baseline visit.
Exclusion Criteria:Subjects who meet any of the following exclusion criteria are not
eligible for participation in this clinical trial:
1. Are unwilling to follow the procedures of the trial, such as making visits or having
their blood drawn.
2. Have unintentionally lost or gained 10 or more pounds of body weight in the last 3
3. Have an acute illness (such as a severe cold or flu) or have been hospitalized within
the past month for certain conditions;
4. Have severe co-morbid disease including cardiac, pulmonary, renal, hepatic, carotid,
peripheral vascular disease, stroke, neurological, clotting disorders or active
5. Consume alcohol at an elevated level (Defined as consumption of more than 10 standard
alcoholic drinks per week. A standard alcoholic drink is defined as one bottle/can of
beer (12 ounces) equals one glass of wine (4 ounces) equals one ounce of hard
6. Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 15 or greater than 55 m/kg2;
7. Have participated in a clinical trial in the past 4 weeks;
8. Have any disease or condition that in the investigator's opinion compromises the
integrity of the clinical trial or the safety of the subject;
9. Severe co-morbid disease is defined as any condition that would cause severe
limitations or inability to carry out usual activities of daily living.
10. The exclusion criteria identified above are based upon general safety concerns
identified by the study supervisor with input from medical director, or confounders
identified by the biostatistician.