Deep ocean minerals show post-exercise blood flow and anti-inflammation benefits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / raspirator
© Getty Images / raspirator
Supplements containing over 70 minerals and trace elements derived from the deep ocean may improve blood flow and hemoglobin levels in the brain after exercise, says a new study.

The desalinated deep ocean minerals (DOM) used in the study were provided by Taiwanese company Pacific Deep Ocean Biotech. The more than 70 minerals and trace elements are derived from water collected more than 600 meters below the earth’s surface in the West Pacific Ocean. The water is micro-filtered to remove any microorganisms, and then ultra-filtered to remove any macromolecules and/or viruses.

Consumption of DOM before, during, and after exhaustive cycling exercise was associated with significantly elevated cerebral hemoglobin levels in both young and middle-aged men, compared with placebo, scientists from Taiwan, Thailand, and the UK report in Frontiers in Physiology​.

“Vascular function is known to deteriorate with age, which may have ramifications on cerebral hemodynamic regulation during a physical challenge,” ​explained the scientists. “In this study, we found that mineral and trace elements from deep oceans can substantially increase the cerebral hemodynamic response during high-intensity cycling. The enhanced hemodynamic response with DOM was somewhat more pronounced in middle-aged men compared with young men at the same relative exercise intensity.”

Why deep ocean water?

The deep ocean minerals concept is anchored to paleobiology, which suggests that life on earth originated from the deep oceans (deeper than 0.5 km) and that our transition from sea to land led to compromised nutritive complexity. Photosynthetic organisms living at the surface may deplete certain biogenic components from the water, but these can still be found in the deep ocean water where sunlight cannot reach. Therefore, ingestion of these deep ocean components may, “replenish any innate incomplete molecular complexity and increase the physical capacity of humans against entropic physical challenges”, ​said the authors.

A previous proof-of-concept study appeared to have supported this concept for both recovery and leg muscle power (Hou et al. 2013, J. Int. Soc. Sports Nutr​. 10​:7​). The new study sought to test the effects of DOM in young and middle-aged men, with a particular focus on the so-called cerebral hemodynamics.

Study details

The researchers recruited 12 young men (average age of 21) and 9 middle-aged men (average age of 47) to participate in their double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study. The men were randomly assigned to consume the DOM drink or placebo before, during, and after cycling exercise. The men observed a two-week washout period before crossing over to the other interventions. Erythritol was used to mask flavor differences between the DOM and placebo beverages.

Results showed that, while there were no significant differences between the beverages and age groups for lactate response when cycling at 75% VO2max, significant differences between the beverages were observed for the so-called cerebral hemodynamic response (hemoglobin levels) in the men. The effects were greater in the middle-aged men versus the younger men.

In addition, DOM consumption was also associated with an attenuation in increases in the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in middle-aged men after the exercise.

“The attenuated NLR increase suggests that DOM might either reduce the amount of damage or increase recovery rate after exercise,” ​explained the researchers. “NLR is a commonly used marker of systemic inflammation and has been shown to be elevated 2 h following aerobic exercise, in an exercise volume dependent manner. The lowered systemic inflammation after exercise suggests that the increased molecular complexity provided by DOM supplementation improves the robustness of the cells against an entropic challenge.”

The authors concluded: “Our data suggest that minerals and trace elements from deep oceans possess great promise in developing supplements to increase the cerebral hemodynamic response against a physical challenge and during post-exercise recovery for middle-aged men.”

The study was supported financially by Pacific Deep Ocean Biotech and the University of Taipei.

"We think that we are about to see a new category emerging in sports nutrition"

A spokesperson for Pacific Deep Ocean Biotech told NutraIngredients-USA that two companies have launched products formulated with DOM in North America: Natural Factors under its Whole Earth and Sea​ brand, and Patriot Health. The ingredient is distributed in North America by CK Ingredients​. 

“We have had a number of major nutraceutical companies evaluate and review DOM. We needed this additional clinical work to demonstrate the application benefits,” ​said the spokesperson. “We think that we are about to see a new category emerging in sports nutrition. Particularly as Danone has started investing in this category through Kona Deep.”  

Source: Frontiers in Physiology
Published online, doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.01016
“Deep Ocean Mineral Supplementation Enhances the Cerebral Hemodynamic Response during Exercise and Decreases Inflammation Postexercise in Men at Two Age Levels”
Authors: C-Y. Wei et al. 

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