Black seed oil with astaxanthin may improve mood and immunity in endurance athletes

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Peopleimages / Getty Images
© Peopleimages / Getty Images

Related tags black seed oil astaxanthin Immunity respiratory health mood

A blend of TriNutra’s ThymoQuin black seed oil and Algatech’s AstaPure astaxanthin improved mood and immunity in endurance runners, according to research funded by the two Israeli companies.

“This study continues to add to the arsenal of published studies demonstrating ThymoQuin’s potent and powerful effects as a stand-alone ingredient and a powerful and synergistic ingredient,” ​Morris Zelkha, CEO of TriNutra, said in a press release this week.

The study, published in the Scholarly Journal of Food and Nutrition​, is the latest research announced in a series of trials evaluating the effects of TriNutra’s black seed oil formula alone and in combination with other ingredients. ThymoQuin received its US patent in October and is distributed through Barrington Nutritionals.

‘Priming’ endurance athletes 

Mental and physical stress brought on by intense training puts endurance athletes at greater risk of upper respiratory tract infections and other complaints. The researchers frame black cumin seed oil (used in Middle Eastern and Ayurvedic traditional medicine) and astaxanthin (derived from microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis​) as natural “immune modulators” rather than “immune boosters”, which act by “priming” the body and mind to counteract stressful conditions.

In this fashion, a properly primed immune system ‘pays attention’ better to factors that it should fight (e.g. viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, etc.), while ‘ignoring’ factors that should be considered non-harmful (e.g. pollen, mucus membranes, joint cartilage, etc).”

They note the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of black seed oil’s phytonutrient Thymoquine on macrophages, lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells and various immune-related cytokines. Astaxanthin continues to demonstrate its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, neuroprotective and immune-modulatory effects in a wide range of clinical trials.

Study details

Over the four-week test period, 40 healthy half-marathon and marathon runners consumed either an oil blend of 500 mg of ThymoQuin and 8 mg of AstaPure or a maldodextrin placebo. Four in each group were lost to follow up.

Before and after supplementation, participants completed ​the profile of mood state (POMS) psychological assessment and a standardized health log assessing health status and upper respiratory tracts symptoms. Objective measures of cortisol and microbiome balance were gathered through saliva and fecal samples.

“Subjects in the supplementation group (black seed/astaxanthin blend) reported significantly fewer URTCs and better overall well-being, as well as lower cortisol and superior microbiome indices, compared to placebo,”​ the researchers wrote.

“These results suggest that the combination of black cumin seed oil plus astaxanthin oleoresin may improve immune system vigilance and overall well-being following the stress of endurance training and competition, possibly via improvements in the microbiome and gut-immune-brain-axis.”

Following the treatment period (three weeks before and one week after an intense endurance run), the runners in the intervention group reported 78% fewer upper-respiratory tract complaints and 11% more positive mood states compared to the placebo group. They also showed 63% higher levels of probiotic Streptococcus thermophilus​ and 20% lower levels of stress hormone cortisol.

Source: Scholarly Journal of Food and Nutrition
“Combination of Black Cumin Seed Oil and Astaxanthin Supports Gut-Immune-Brain-Axis and Improves Mood”
Authors: Talbott SM, Talbott JA, et al.

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