The European Commission has recently launched restrictions on the use of Astaxanthin for the youngest segment of the population, children. Astaxanthin is an ingredient that develops in the haematococcus pluvialis algae and is one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature. It is already present in the normal diet, however it is commonly used in different types of supplements to take even better advantage of its interesting properties, documented by numerous studies. For example, it is used in synergy with Vitamins C and E to amplify the antioxidant action and the immune response, as well as in products to increase memory and concentration. In addition, it is also used for the well-being of the eye because it is a fat-soluble nutrient, able to cross the eye barrier to carry out its beneficial action. Amongst other properties, there are also reports of use in skin products, in order to improve photosensitivity.

Precisely because of its common and versatile use, the Commission has decided to confirm the maximum daily intake level of 8.0 mg. Moreover, being Astaxanthin since it is already present in a normal day by day diet, it was decided to limit its additional use to the population over 14 years of age.

The consequences are not expected to be particularly disruptive. To be fair, data from the market seem to indicate that dietary supplements containing ≤ 8.0 mg of  Astaxanthin, in practice  are not taken by children and adolescents, but almost exclusively by the adult population.

Consequently, the impact of the new regulation on the market is quite limited: it establishes the obligation to indicate clearly on product labels the limit for infants, children and adolescents under the age of 14 years. The measure entered into force on 9th  September 2021. Any supplement not complying with the new labelling provisions, but that were lawfully placed on the market before that date, may be commercialized up to stock termination. A similar approach is adopted also for imported products.


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