Effects of dietary supplementation of astaxanthin and sesamin on daily fatigue: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-way crossover study.

Oxidative stress is implicated in exercise-induced fatigue, mental stress, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Astaxanthin and sesamin are potent antioxidants that could potentially mitigate fatigue-associated oxidative stress. Ataxanthin is a carotenoid found in shellfish, algae, and fish, and sesamin is one of the lignans in sesame seeds. Each of these has been studied separately in relation to fatigue, but never together. In a 4-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers evaluated the effect of a mixed supplement containing astaxanthin and sesamin on subjective fatigue.

Methods

A total of 24 healthy subjects (aged 30-60 years) were randomized to placebo or astaxanthin-sesamin supplementation. The supplement was delivered in softgel capsules, each containing 3 mg of astaxanthin (derived from Haematococcus pluvialis) and 5 mg of sesamin (derived from Sesamum indicum), dosed as 2 capsules per day after breakfast. Participants were challenged by a computer-based mental task day and then a physical task day. The primary outcome was subjective fatigue, measured by a visual analog scale and the Chalder fatigue questionnaire. Secondary outcomes were work efficiency, mood, autonomic nerve function, oxidative stress (plasma phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxide [POOH]), and safety. 

Sesamin, a lignan derived from sesame seeds, may promote recovery from fatigue.

Results

At the end of the mental task day, there was a significant difference in fatigue scores between the supplementation and placebo groups. The physical task day took place the day after the mental task day, and researchers decided these results could not be evaluated because of a carry-over effect. Plasma levels of POOH (indicating oxidative stress) increased in both groups during fatigue-inducing tasks, but the rate of change was significantly lower in the group supplemented with astaxanthin-sesamin. There were no significant differences in the other secondary outcomes, and no adverse effects were observed.

Conclusions

The results of this study suggest that supplementation with astaxanthin and sesamin could promote recovery from fatigue induced by computer-based mental tasks in healthy adults. The results further suggest that the ability of these compounds to attenuate oxidative stress may be the most plausible explanation for their effect. Safety was also demonstrated for the 4-week duration of this study.  

Imai, A., Oda, Y., Ito, N., Seki, S., Nakagawa, K., Miyazawa, T., & Ueda, F. (2018). Effects of dietary supplementation of astaxanthin and sesamin on daily fatigue: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, two-way crossover study. Nutrients, 10(3).