161a Flavoxanthin

Posted 21 Oct 2023
161a Flavoxanthin

What is flavoxanthin, and where is it used?

Flavoxanthin, E161a, is a natural pigment classified as a xanthophyll, belonging to the carotenoid family. It is responsible for the yellow colour found in various fruits, vegetables, and plants [1]. Flavoxanthin is commonly found in foods such as corn, bell peppers, and saffron. It is also present in certain algae and marine organisms. Due to its vibrant yellow hue, flavoxanthin is sometimes used as a natural food colouring agent in the food industry. Its colouring properties make it suitable for enhancing the visual appeal of products like beverages, confectionery, and processed foods [2]. Flavoxanthin is sought after as a natural alternative to artificial colourants, appealing to consumers who prefer clean label ingredients. Its use as a food colourant aligns with the growing demand for natural and plant-based additives in the food industry.

Purported Health Benefits

  • Antioxidant Activity: Flavoxanthin exhibits antioxidant properties, helping to neutralise harmful free radicals in the body and protect cells from oxidative stress and damage [3].

  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Research suggests that flavoxanthin may possess anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing inflammation in the body and supporting overall health [4].

  • Potential Anti-Cancer Properties: Some research suggests that flavoxanthin may possess anti-cancer properties, although further studies are needed to fully understand its effects on different types of cancer [4].

  • Eye Health: As a carotenoid, flavoxanthin is believed to contribute to eye health [5]. It is thought to protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts by filtering harmful blue light and acting as an antioxidant in the eyes.

  • Skin Health: Flavoxanthin's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may benefit skin health [6]. It is believed to help protect the skin from UV-induced damage, reduce inflammation, and promote a healthy complexion.

  • Cardiovascular Support: Studies indicate that flavoxanthin may have a positive impact on cardiovascular health [7]. It may help reduce the risk of heart disease by improving lipid profiles, reducing oxidative stress, and supporting healthy blood pressure levels.

  • Cognitive Function: Preliminary studies indicate that flavoxanthin may have neuroprotective effects, potentially supporting cognitive function and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline [8].

Recommendations for Safe Consumption

  • Balanced Diet: Include a variety of flavoxanthin-rich foods in a balanced diet for diverse nutrients.

  • Moderation: Consume flavoxanthin-containing foods in moderation to avoid adverse effects.


  1. Gateau H, Solymosi K, Marchand J, Schoefs B. Carotenoids of microalgae used in food industry and medicine. Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry. 2017 Sep 1;17(13):1140-72.

  2. EM R, Tolba KH, El-Gharably AM. Carotenoid pigments composition of Calendula flower and its potential uses as antioxidant and natural colorant in manufacturing of hard candy. Arab Universities Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 2008 Sep 1;16(2):407-17.

  3. Atodiresei GV, Tulbure EA, Ischimji N, Mocanu AM. Natural dyes, of vegetal origin, used in the food.

  4. Wang Z, Zhang J, Zhan J, Gao H. Screening out anti-inflammatory or anti-viral targets in Xuanfei Baidu Tang through a new technique of reverse finding target. Bioorganic Chemistry. 2021 Nov 1;116:105274.

  5. Mozaffarieh M, Sacu S, Wedrich A. The role of the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, in protecting against age-related macular degeneration: a review based on controversial evidence. Nutrition journal. 2003 Dec;2(1):1-8.

  6. Ashokkumar V, Jayashree S, Kumar G, Sharmili SA, Gopal M, Dharmaraj S, Chen WH, Kothari R, Manasa I, Park JH, Shruthi S. Recent developments in biorefining of macroalgae metabolites and their industrial applications-A circular economy approach. Bioresource technology. 2022 Sep 1;359:127235.

  7. Meng Q, Liu H, Wu H, Tang C, Fu X, Fang X, Xu Y, Chen B, Xie Y, Liu Q. A Network Pharmacology Study to Explore the Underlying Mechanism of Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) in the Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2022 May 14;2022.

  8. Pan J, Tang J, Gai J, Jin Y, Tang B, Fan X. Exploring the mechanism of Ginkgo biloba L. leaves in the treatment of vascular dementia based on network pharmacology, molecular docking, and molecular dynamics simulation. Medicine. 2023 May 5;102(21).


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.