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Front. Sports Act. Living | doi: 10.3389/fspor.2019.00017

Asthaxanthin improves aerobic exercise recovery without affecting heat tolerance in humans

 Chen Fleischmann1, 2, 3*,  Michal Horowitz3, Ran Yanovich1, 2, Hany Raz4 and Yuval Heled2
  • 1Other, Israel
  • 2Heller Institute of Medical Research, Sheba Medical Center, Israel
  • 3Laboratory of environmental physiology, Dentistry faculty, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • 4The faculty of agriculture, food and environment, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Objectives: To examine the supplementation effects of the xanthophyll carotenoid Astaxanthin on physical performance and exertional heat strain in humans.
Design: A randomized double blind placebo controlled trial.
Methods: 22 male participants (Age: 23.14±3.5y, height: 175±6cm, body mass: 69.6±8.7kg, % body fat: 16.8±3.8) received placebo (PLA, n=10) or Astaxanthin (ATX, n=12) 12mg/day Per os (P.O), for 30 days, and were tested pre and post-supplementation with a maximal oxygen uptake (VO2Max) test and the heat tolerance test (HTT) (2h walk at 40oC, 40% relative humidity (RH), 5kph, 2% incline).
Gas exchange, Heart rate (HR), Relative perceived exertion (RPE), and blood lactate were measured during the VO2Max test. Heart rate (HR), rectal (Trec) and skin (Tskin) temperatures, RPE, and sweat rate (SR) were monitored in the HTT. Serum heat shock protein 72 (HSP72), Creatine phospho-kinase (CPK), C-reactive protein (CRP) and lipid profile were measured before and after the test.
Results: The rise in blood lactate caused by the VO2Max test was significantly diminished in the ATX group (9.4±3.1 and 13.0±3.1 mmole*l-1 in the ATX and PLA groups, respectively P<0.02), as was the change in oxygen uptake during recovery (-2.02±0.64 and 0.83±0.79 % of VO2Max in the ATX and PLA group, respectively, p=0.001). No significant differences were observed in the anaerobic threshold or VO2Max. In the HTT, no significant physiological or biochemical differences were observed.
Conclusions: Astaxanthin improved exercise recovery. No benefit was observed for ATX in response to heat stress. Further examination of Astaxanthin in higher exertional heat strain is required.

Keywords: astaxanthin, supplementation, Exercise physiology, aerobic exercise, Exercise recovery, heat tolerance, Nutritional physiology

Received: 13 Jun 2019; Accepted: 16 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Fleischmann, Horowitz, Yanovich, Raz and Heled. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Chen Fleischmann, Other, Tel-Hashomer, Israel,