Whole algae powder reduces respiratory complaints in cohort of recreational runners

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - Jose Luiz Peleaz Inc
©Getty Images - Jose Luiz Peleaz Inc

Related tags Astaxanthin Algae Haematococcus pluvialis microalgae Carotenoid

An astaxanthin-rich whole algae ingredient showed significant immune system benefits in a cohort of healthy young subjects competing in recreational running events.

The new research used an ingredient manufactured by longtime player Solabia-Algatech Nutrition, located in Kibbutz Ketura, Israel.  The product is branded as AstaPure Arava, which is a whole algae powder sourced from Haematococcus pluvialis​ cells.  

Whole algae ingredient

The whole algae ingredient supplies 3% astaxanthin by weight, but also, according to the company, includes 50% polysaccharides and dietary fibers, 28% lipids, 14% proteins, and a variety of B-complex vitamins and trace minerals.

Solabia-Algatech also supplies astaxanthin extracted from the algae species, which produces the carotenoid when exposed to stress.  The company grows its algae in a closed tube farm in Israel’s far southern desert. 

Most of the research on Haematococcus pluvialis​ ingredients relates to extracted astaxanthin. However, the company said that, “Multiple studies have shown that astaxanthin and other compounds in H. pluvialis deliver an impressive variety of health supporting advantages.”

The new research, which was structured as a double-blind, placebo controlled trial, was published in the open access journal Ecronicon​.  It was conducted by an executive of the multi level marketing company Amare Global.  The journal claims to have a peer review process, but does operate on a rapid publishing cycle.

The goal of the research was to investigate the effect of a daily dose of AstaPure Arava in an amount that reportedly supplied 8 mg of astaxanthin on upper-respiratory tract complaints (URTCs) and psychological mood state  on fit adult male and female runners.  The subjects were training for and competed in marathons and half marathon races during the study period.

Training for distance races puts a strain on the system that has often been observed to suppress the immune system, leading to more upper respiratory tract infections and other complaints.  Thus, this model has often been used as a stand-in for looking at a diseased population directly, which has complications from a claims perspective.

The study design called for the recruitment of 16 male and 16 female recreational runners. The 32 subjects who finished the study completed a profile of mood state psychological assessment and a health log questionnaire assessing health status and URTCs, plus provided saliva and fecal samples for measurement of cortisol and microbiome balance.  The subjects took the investigational supplement or a placebo for three weeks before their event and for one week after.

Respiratory tract complaints reduced

The experiment group reported significantly fewer URTC complaint and a better overall sense of well-being. In the supplement group the total number of URTC symptoms reported such as cough, sore throat, sniffles, stuffiness, etc., were 78% lower compared to placebo, while the Global Mood State (i.e., "overall well-being") was improved by 14% compared to no change in the placebo group.

The microbiome analysis also saw a significantly greater amount of Streptococcus thermophilus​ in the experiment group, which the study characterized as indicative of better immune system regulation.

“AstaPure Arava whole microalgae complex significantly decreased upper-respiratory tract complaints (URTCs) and improved psychological mood state (global well-being) following intense endurance training and competition. These findings support a strong link for physical and mental benefits of AstaPure® Arava whole microalgae complex following the stress of endurance exercise,”​ the study concluded.

Volume 17, Issue 8 2022
AstaPure Arava Natural Astaxanthin Whole Algae Product Supports Immune Function and Improves Subjective Well-Being
Authors: Talbott S, Talbott JA

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