Norbixin annatto extract, powder, achiote health benefit and research studies
August 1 2017

Norbixin is an unusual dicarboxylic water-soluble carotenoid present as a component in the pericarp of the seeds of Bixa orellana (from the Bixaceae family), a tropical shrub commonly found in Brazil. The main carotenoids present in these seeds, bixin and norbixin, form a coloring material, known as annatto, which is mainly used in the food industry. Annatto and its derivatives are members of carotenoids with long-chain conjugated polyenes, which are widely used as food additives.

As of 2017, we could not find human studies with norbixin supplements taken orally as pills.

Norbixin research studies, antioxidant
Antigenotoxic and antimutagenic potential of an annatto pigment (norbixin) against oxidative stress.
Genet Mol Res. 2005. Júnior AC, Asad LM, Felzenszwalb I. Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcântara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.
We evaluated the effect of norbixin on the response of Escherichia coli cells to DNA damage induced by UV radiation, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and superoxide anions (O2*-)) and found that norbixin protects the cells against these agents. Norbixin enhanced survival at least 10 times. The SOS induction by UVC was inhibited 2.3 times more when cells were grown in the presence of norbixin. We also found that norbixin has antimutagenic properties, with a maximum inhibition of H2O2-induced mutagenic activity of 87%, based on the Salmonella mutagenicity test.

Norbixin does not influence liver cancer
Absence of liver tumor promoting effects of annatto extract norbixin, a natural carotenoid food color, in a medium-term liver carcinogenesis bioassay using male F344 rats.
Cancer Lett. 2003. Daiyu-kai Institute of Medical Science, Nishiazai, Ichinomiya, Japan. 
Modifying potential of annatto extract norbixin on liver carcinogenesis was investigated in male rats initially treated with N-nitrosodiethylamine. Two weeks after a single dose of N-nitrosodiethylamine intraperitoneally, rats were given annatto extract norbixin at dietary levels of 0, 0.03, 0.1 and 0.3%, or phenobarbital sodium as a positive control for 6 weeks. Annatto extract norbixin did not significantly increase the quantitative values for glutathione S-transferase placental form positive liver cell foci observed after DEN initiation, in clear contrast to the positive control case. The results thus demonstrate that annatto extract norbixin at a dietary level of 0.3% lacks modifying potential for liver carcinogenesis in our medium-term bioassay system.

Can norbixin be taken together with eurycoma herb?
    We have not seen such studies with this combination