What is rhodoxanthin, and where is it used?
Rhodoxanthin, also known as E161f, is a natural carotenoid pigment used as a food additive. It belongs to the carotenoid family and is derived from a variety of plant sources such as red peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit . Rhodoxanthin imparts a pink to red colour, and finds applications in various food and beverage items, including dairy products, baked goods, and candies. Rhodoxanthin's stability during processing and storage further contributes to its popularity as a food colouring agent .
Purported Health Benefits
Antioxidant Activity: Rhodoxanthin possesses potent antioxidant properties, contributing to the neutralisation of harmful free radicals . Its unique chemical structure enables it to scavenge free radicals and protect cells from oxidative stress.
Skin Health Promotion: As an antioxidant, rhodoxanthin may aid in supporting healthy skin . This may contribute to maintaining skin integrity and a youthful appearance.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Rhodoxanthin exhibits anti-inflammatory effects, potentially helping to reduce inflammation in the body . By inhibiting inflammatory pathways, it may benefit individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions.
Potential Anti-Cancer Effects: Preliminary studies suggest that rhodoxanthin may possess anti-cancer properties [3-4]. It may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and offer protection against certain types of cancer. However, further research is needed to fully understand its specific mechanisms and effectiveness.
Cardiovascular Health: Preliminary research suggests that rhodoxanthin may have cardiovascular benefits . It may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by preventing oxidative damage, inflammation, and the formation of arterial plaques.
Eye Health Support: Rhodoxanthin has been suggested to promote eye health due to its presence in the macula, a part of the retina . It may help protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and support optimal visual function.
Recommendations for Safe Consumption
When consuming rhodoxanthin as a food additive, it is generally considered safe for the general public within recommended limits. As with many food additives, moderation is key.
Regarding cooking methods, the recommendations for rhodoxanthin may align with those for other carotenoids. Cooking techniques like steaming or roasting can break down plant cell walls, enhancing the absorption of rhodoxanthin . Steaming helps retain nutrient content, while roasting adds flavour without significant nutrient loss. It is important to avoid overcooking or subjecting rhodoxanthin-rich foods to high temperatures that may degrade the pigment.
While the information regarding pairing rhodoxanthin-rich foods with a source of fat for enhanced absorption is generally applicable to fat-soluble carotenoids, such as cryptoxanthin, there is limited specific research on this aspect for rhodoxanthin . However, incorporating healthy fats like olive oil when consuming rhodoxanthin-rich foods may aid in the absorption of the carotenoid.
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We do our best to source robust information from a number of credible sources. There is, however, a large amount of information on various aspects of nutritional elements along with claims in terms of their contribution to helping in body health which may contradict the above.