Sport: the cardio-respiratory benefits of astaxanthin
Whether you’re a professional or amateur sportsperson, this article should be of interest to you. A study published in the specialist journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise1
provides new scientific evidence of the benefits of astaxanthin for increasing endurance. Read on to find out how it can optimise your sports performance and help you stay in peak condition.
Astaxanthin, a widely-studied antioxidant for sportspeople
You may be unfamiliar with astaxanthin but it is actually the red pigment which gives salmon, shrimps and flamingos their pink colour. More than that, it is an active principle which has been studied extensively in recent years, particularly in the field of sports medicine. Last year, we discussed its cardio-protective effects in our article”Astaxanthin, an exceptionally powerful antioxidant”
. However, the benefits of this natural pigment extend beyond the cardiovascular system. Testing the effects of astaxanthin supplementation in rodents, scientists in 2007 and 2008 demonstrated that astaxanthin increases physical performance by improving fat-burning2,3
. Supplemented mice were found to have more stamina and to burn more fat than controls. In a similar study conducted on athletes in 2011, researchers observed improvements in energy production and time-trial performance4
Positive results for improving endurance and sports performance
Evaluation of the effects of long-term astaxanthin supplementation
Despite very positive results on the use of astaxanthin in in sportspeople, doubts were raised when contradictory findings were published in 20135
. To confirm the benefits of taking astaxanthin over the longer-term, researchers evaluated the effects of an eight-week course of supplementation among recreational runners. A group of 28 sports enthusiasts – 14 men and 14 women – were divided into two groups, one group receiving a placebo and the other a daily 12mg dose of astaxanthin. To assess astaxanthin’s effects on sports performance, a number of parameters were measured including heart rate.
Cardio-respiratory benefits of astaxanthin
At the end of the eight weeks, the researchers observed positive results in the supplemented group. Their heart rate at submaximal endurance intensities was 10% slower than that of the control group. This significant decrease in heart rate suggests a notable improvement in their cardio-respiratory performance.
This latest study suggests that astaxanthin supplementation improves endurance by reducing the heart rate. These findings are consistent with those observed in tests to evaluate astaxanthin’s antioxidant potential. Scientists have shown that this pigment has a protective effect on the cardiovascular system and may therefore offer benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain cardiac problems. The positive effects of this powerful antioxidant are available in the form of nutritional supplements.
> Sources :
1. Talbott Julie and al., Effect of Astaxanthin Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Function in Runners: 3299 Board #204 June 2 3: 30 PM - 5: 00 PM, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 5S - Page 941.
2. M. Ikeuchi and al., Effects of astaxanthin in obese mice fed a high-fat diet, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., 71 (4), 893-899, 2007.
3. W. Aoi and al., Astaxanthin improves muscle lipid metabolism in exercise via inhibitory effect of oxidative CPT I modification, Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications, 22 February 2008, Volume 366, Issue 4, Pages 892-897.
4. CP Earnest and al., Effect of astaxanthin on cycling time trial performance, International Journal of Sports Medicine, November 2011, 32(11):882-8.
5. Res and al., Astaxanthin supplementation does not augment fat use or improve endurance performance, Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2013 Jun;45(6):1158-65.
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