Lemon verbena extract aids sleep and recovery for athletes, says study

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT

Lemon verbena extract aids sleep and recovery for athletes, says study

Related tags: Oxidative stress

PLX, a supplement derived from lemon verbena, can help athletes sleep better, reduce muscle pain and improve recovery time, according to a new manufacturer-sponsored study.

The paper, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research​, shows participants taking 1.2g per day of the supplement reported a 44% improvement in sleep over the three-week trial, compared to those taking a placebo. Blood tests also showed reduced levels of protein carbonyls, malondialdehyde and myeloperoxide, markers associated with oxidative stress and inflammation.

Physical and psychological benefits

The results obtained in this study suggest that the PLX supplement is effective in restoring physiological parameters by favouring muscle tissue repair and minimising inflammatory and oxidative damage. Besides the beneficial effects in exercise recovery, the supplement also improved psychological parameters as observed from some scales of the POMS [Profile of Mood States] questionnaire and sleeping parameters​,” the study’s authors wrote.

Monteloeder, the manufacturer of PLX, describes the supplement as a proprietary extract of the leaves of the lemon verbena plant, which includes compounds such as verbascocide, phenylpropanoids, and flavonoids such as luteolin.

The firm commissioned the research from University Miguel Hernandez of Elche, where the supplement was originally developed as an antioxidant. Development of the lemon verbena extract began 10 years ago, and the product was launched commercially in 2007, according to Fernando Cartagena, marketing manager at Monteloeder.

Over the years we have been able to build more and more science to support these claims as well as learning new additional properties: anti-inflammatory, reduction of muscle damage, and finally this new study on the impact on different psychological parameters. All combined it adds up to eight published articles to date​,” said Cartagena.

The idea behind this study came from observing that most nutraceuticals designed to improve post-exercise recovery generally focused on the mechanisms of restoring biochemical parameters. However, no information had been collected regarding the ability of a nutraceutical to favor positive psychological changes during exercise recovery​,” he added.

Possible health claim application

PLX is derived from lemon verbena, which is included on the BELFRIT list of approved botanicals increasingly used across Europe, and so under tradition of use rules does not require EU novel foods approval for use in supplements, according to Cartagena.

But he said Monteloeder may look at adding to the product’s credentials at some point in the future: “Clearly, as science builds up and new properties are discovered, tested and proven we envision the possibility of applying for an EFSA health claim​.”

In the meantime, he said the new research may point the way to new uses for PLX: “The good results obtained in this study open the door for new potential projects. For instances, further deepening the research on the sleep-improving properties of the extract, not only in sports people but also in the elderly population. Or testing sports performance improvement in specific sports​.”

Source: Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research
Released by to the media ahead of publication
Biochemical and psychological changes in university students performing aerobic exercise and consuming lemon verbena extracts​”
Authors: A. Martinez-Rodriguez, M. Moya, Nestor Vicente-Salar, T. Brouzet, L. Carrera-Quintanar, E. Cervello, V. Micol and E. Roche

Related topics: Research

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