High intensity exercise with astaxanthin can reduce male obesity

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT

Getty | Artemidovna
Getty | Artemidovna

Related tags Astaxanthin Weight management Sports nutrition Research

High-intensity functional training (HIFT) with astaxanthin supplementation for 12 weeks reduced circulatory lipid levels and improved the body composition of obese men in an recent Iranian study.

Subjects following the protocol demonstrated improved anthropometric indices, cardio-respiratory fitness, lipid profile and metabolic markers, in addition to reduced adipokine proteins and growth differentiation factor (GDF) levels, associated with obesity.

The authors explain that while physical activity changes aerobic capacity, astaxanthin inhibits adipocyte hypertrophy and therefore production of pro-inflammatory phenotypes that damage pancreatic beta-cells, stimulate weight gain, and exacerbate insulin resistance.

“Astaxanthin reduces the infiltration of inflammatory macrophages into hypertrophied adipocytes, which mitigates the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, reduces the release of free fatty acids into circulation and improves insulin sensitivity,” ​the authors write.

The antioxidant also accelerates fatty acid oxidation during physical activity and can improve dyslipidaemia and reduce metabolic disorders by increasing plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels, they add.

Study design

The 68 male subjects were volunteers recruited from gyms, medical clinics, hospitals, and social networks, and randomly allocated to four study groups of 17: the control (CG), supplement group (SG), training group (TG), and training plus supplement group (TSG).

Astaxanthin or placebo was administered once daily at a dose of 20 mg and training involved 60-minute sessions of HIFT three times weekly (36 in total).

Dietary intake was monitored using three-day food records (twice weekly and once during weekends) and fasting blood samples taken 12 hours before the first exercise session and 72 hours after the final session to monitor plasma lipids, glucose, adipocytes (CTRP2 and 9) and growth differentiation factors (GDF8 and 15).

Secretion of CTRP2 and 9 increase in individuals with obesity, making them targets for the medical management of the condition, the authors explain.

On the other hand, GDF15 positively correlates with obesity and reduced expression of GDF8 (or myostatin) is associated with fat loss, increased insulin sensitivity, and increased glucose uptake.

Global reductions

After 12 weeks, all three interventions reduced subject body mass index (BMI), increased post-test values of fat-free mass (FFM), and decreased body fat percent, glucose and insulin levels, but cardio-respiratory fitness (measured by VO2​peak) only increased in the TG and TSG.

While percentage of body fat decreased in both the SG and TG groups, the greatest improvement was found in the TSG cohort, the authors note.

“Notably, the significant differences between TG and TSG may be due to the intensity of exercise. Our finding of increased fat utilisation is consistent with previous reports indicating that HIFT reduced body fat levels in active healthy individuals.”

Fat reductions inevitably reflect increased aerobic activity, as demonstrated by other studies where CrossFit exercise increased muscle mass and improved insulin sensitivity, the authors comment.

HIFT and astaxanthin reduced body weight and lipid profiles, while increasing high-density lipid cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. “These changes were greater when exercise was supplemented with astaxanthin,”​ they add.

Positive indications

Data revealed lower circulatory levels of GDF8 in the TSG group at 12 weeks, compared to either intervention in isolation, although significant decreases were also noted in the SG and TG.

The largest decrease in GDF15 was also observed in the TSG, followed by the TG, and CTRP2 reductions were more elevated in the SG, TG and TSG, compared to the control. Moreover, training plus supplementation produced the highest reduction in CTRP9 at 12 weeks.

Results indicate the potential of astaxanthin with HIFT to increase weight loss and attenuate the effects of CTRPs and GDFs and fat loss in individuals with obesity, the authors conclude.

Source: Nutrients

Published online, January 6, 2023: http://doi.org/10.3390/nu15020286

‘Astaxanthin Supplemented with High-Intensity Functional Training Decreases Adipokines Levels and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Men with Obesity’

Authors: Ayoub Saeidi, Akbar Nouri-Habashi, Omid Razi, Ali Ataeinosrat, Hiwa Rahmani, Shirin Shirzad Mollabashi, Behnam Bagherzadeh-Rahmani, Shahin Mahmoudi Aghdam, Leila Khalajzadeh, Maisa Hamed Al Kiyumi, Anthony C. Hackney, Ismail Laher, Katie M. Heinrich and Hassane Zouhal

Related products

show more

Premium Partially Hydrolysed Whey Protein Isolate

Premium Partially Hydrolysed Whey Protein Isolate

Glanbia Nutritionals | 25-Jan-2023 | Product Presentation

Hydrolysed whey proteins offer consumers even more than the standard whey protein isolates and whey protein concentrates on the market. Provon IsoHi provides...

Give joint health consumers what they want

Give joint health consumers what they want

Lonza | 17-Jan-2023 | Insight Guide

It’s no secret the pandemic had a profound effect on the way we live and move. Consumers of all ages now want to get back to doing the things they love,...

eBook: Press reset on joint health with Lonza

eBook: Press reset on joint health with Lonza

Lonza | 23-Sep-2022 | Technical / White Paper

It’s no secret the pandemic had a profound and prolonged effect on the way we live and move. Now, consumers of all ages are looking to press reset on their...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more