Astaxanthin-Rich Microalgae May Help Support Immune Health
Astaxanthin is a blood-red nutrient that is produced naturally in Haematococcus pluvialis algae. It is a carotenoid with strong antioxidant properties. A new study has found that supplementation with an astaxanthin-rich microalgae powder may help support immune system health.
The researchers enrolled 32 recreational runners with an average age of 43 for the study. They were given a whole microalgae powder containing 8mg of astaxanthin or a placebo daily for 3 weeks before and one week after completing a marathon.
Participants filled out a health log at baseline and at the end of the study period that evaluated general health and upper-respiratory tract-related (URTI) symptoms. Psychological mood state was assessed using the Profile of Mood States questionnaire. Fecal samples were used to measure salivary cortisol levels and microbiome balance.
While participants in both groups saw an increase in URTI symptoms following the marathon, the total number of symptoms experienced by participants in the microalgae group were 78% lower compared to the placebo group.
Participants in the microalgae group saw a 14% improvement in mood state compared to no change in the placebo group. They also saw a 25% lower level of salivary cortisol compared to the placebo group. In addition, the microalgae group saw a 72% increase in the beneficial bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus, which suggests improved immune system regulation.
The study was conducted by researchers from Amare Global. It was published on August 24, 2022 in the journal EC Nutrition.
A previous study found that tea may help reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.