–Improves recovery from mental and physical fatigue
It’s not a secret that astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with numerous health benefits. There have been many reports on this oceanic dietary supplement’s ability to support good health across the body. Now, new research indicates that a potent combination of astaxanthin and sesamin could be the perfect, natural solution for people struggling to overcome mental and physical fatigue.
Researchers from Japan say that both astaxanthin, derived from microalgae, and sesamin, which is derived from the sesame seed, have been shown to have incredible antioxidant power — but these two superfoods have never been studied together.
The scientists from Tohoku University posited that oxidative stress plays a role in the onset of fatigue. The theory is that by supplementing with compounds known to reduce oxidative stress, you can indirectly also help reduce feelings of tiredness. To conduct their research, the team recruited 24 healthy adults to partake in their experiment.
They were divided into two groups of 12; one group was given the astaxanthin and sesamin supplement on testing days, while the other received an identical placebo capsule.
On test days, subjects were asked to take two capsules between breakfast and lunch. They were also asked to complete a series of mental or physical tasks for four hours, followed by a resting period.
Mental tasks included visual display terminal-based mental exercises. They would be asked to perform four working memory tests and four sets of selective attention and spatial working memory tests in 30-minute intervals. For physical task days, participants were asked to ride an ergometer bicycle, cycling at 80 percent of their target heart rate for four hours.
Multiple measures were used to gauge the outcome of supplementation. In addition to surveying the participants’ subjective feelings, the researchers also measured their work efficiency, autonomic nerve activity and their levels of an oxidative stress marker known as plasma phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxide (PCOOH).
The researchers summarized their findings as such:
AS [astaxanthin and sesamin] supplementation was associated with significantly improved recovery from mental fatigue compared with placebo. Increased PCOOH levels during mental and physical tasks were attenuated by AS supplementation. No differences between AS and placebo were detected in secondary outcomes, and no adverse effects of AS supplementation were observed. In conclusion, AS supplementation may be a candidate to promote recovery from mental fatigue which is experienced by many healthy people.
So, in addition boosting recovery, supplementation with astaxanthin and sesamin also reduced the presence of oxidative stress marker PCOOH.
The scientists say that more research is needed to grasp the full scope of benefits afforded by astaxanthin and sesamin supplementation — and they also note that one limitation of their study is that it’s impossible to know if continuous supplementation or “single ingestion” were the source of the supplement’s apparent benefits.
Other health benefits of astaxanthin and sesamin
The benefits of these two superfoods don’t end with reduced fatigue and faster recovery. In late 2017, reports revealed that astaxanthin could be the secret “fountain of youth” so many of us have been looking for.
Taking just four milligrams of this red, oceanic algae a day was found to reduce the presence of oxidative stress markers in the skin in just two weeks. After a full course of supplementation, participants’ skin boasted a 22 percent reduction in oxidative stress. Additionally, astaxanthin is thought to help prevent sun damage — making it the perfect addition to your skincare regime, as well as your medicine cabinet.
Sesame is no slouch, either. The sesame seed is known for boasting an array of nutritional benefits: fatty acids, protein, fiber and an array of essential micronutrients such as B vitamins, iron and zinc. And of course, the little seed also contains antioxidant phytonutrients, like sesamin, as well.