Introduced as the “health expert doctors love to hate,” Dr. Joseph Mercola appeared on the Dr. Oz show today to discuss the supplement astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is a powerful antioxidant. Currently, astaxanthin is used as a food supplement and preliminary research shows that it may be beneficial in immune, inflammatory and neurodegerative diseases, according to an article published in Future Cardiology. It can come from natural or synthetic sources.
Although the benefits of astaxanthin may be real, consumers may do well to be wary of Dr. Mercola’s advice. He is selling the supplement on his website, which claims astaxanthin is the “Most powerful nutrient for eye health.” Mercola claims to espouse “Natural” medicine, and by doing so rejects microwaves, pasteurized milk, immunizations and the fluoridation of water.
NewsWeek is highly critical of Mercola, saying “a master promoter, using every trick of traditional and Internet direct marketing to grow his business,” including scare tactics. The articles points out the conflict of interests between the claims of providing information about alternative health care advice while at the same time selling these “miracle” products directly though his website.
As with adding any supplement to your daily diet, it’s best to consult with your personal physician first.