“A food supplement based on the combination of a chemically characterised pomegranate extract, B vitamins, and vitamin C, supplemented for two months of intake in healthy consumers, reduces prolonged fatigue,” concluded the authors from Italy.
The study investigated the efficacy of a new food supplement, Improve.
The authors hypothesise that the high content of ellagitannins in the pomegranate extract can reshape the gut microbiota by increasing eubiotic bacteria (Lactobacillaceae), likely through urolithins generated from the metabolism of polyphenolic components of pomegranate.
They note this is of interest due to the suggested role of gut microbiota in prolonged and chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition characterised by profound exhaustion lasting over 6 months.
The authors report that an estimated 5-8% of the general population experience prolonged or short-term fatigue, with CFS affecting 3-4% of individuals.
Prolonged fatigue can also impact work productivity, can lead to mood swings, reduced motivation, and diminished vitality, and it is also recognised as a risk factor for occupational accidents, affecting information processing and response capabilities.
Despite its prevalence, the authors of the new study note that effective treatments are lacking.
Pomegranate is recognised for its nutritional and medicinal properties.
It is rich in essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins (including vitamin C and niacin), and minerals (such as calcium, potassium, and iron).
It is also abundant in dietary polyphenols, including phenolic acids, flavonoids, and tannins, making it a functional food with numerous health benefits.
Studies have also shown its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, and antimicrobial, properties.
Additionally, hydro-soluble vitamins, including the B complex and vitamin C, play crucial roles in various physiological functions and have been linked to preventing chronic degenerative disorders.
Deficiencies in these vitamins have been associated with fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Previous research has shown the benefits of a combination of pomegranate extract and hydro-soluble vitamins in reducing prolonged fatigue.
Building on this, the new study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a food supplement containing standardised pomegranate extract and water-soluble vitamins in combating prolonged fatigue.
To assess the supplement's impact on fatigue, 58 participants were randomly divided into two groups. Group 1 and Group 2, consisting of 29 individuals each, received either the food supplement or a placebo.
The effects were measured using validated questionnaires at four time intervals: baseline, 28 days, 56 days, and at follow-up. Additionally, biochemical markers were analysed at baseline and after 56 days.
The results indicated a significant reduction in fatigue severity for participants who received the food supplement at the 56-day mark and during follow-up.
The authors stated: “At interval two and three following the intake of the food supplement, the FSS score decreased in a highly significant way in the treated group (p < 0.001), with values that dropped from 2.9 (t0) to 2.4 (t1), 2.3 (t2), and 1.7 (t3), showing an improvement in fatigue symptoms that continued even after the food supplement was discontinued.”
The report concludes that the tested food supplement effectively reduced prolonged fatigue in healthy individuals with mild symptoms after two months of supplementation.
The study also involved analysing the pomegranate extract using advanced UHPLC-HRMS techniques, revealing the presence of 59 compounds. Among these, gallotannins and ellagitannins emerged as the most abundant phytochemicals.
The authors do acknowledge some limitations, noting: “The effect on overall well-being, as measured by the 12-Item Short Form Survey (SF-12), was not as pronounced. Additionally, the supplement did not yield significant changes in biochemical parameters associated with fatigue and stress conditions.
“It was not possible to show an improvement in the quality of life after the supplementation, probably due to the way the sample number calculation was conducted on the primary outcome, namely the FSS questionnaire, the number of subjects is insufficient to provide a statistically significant conclusion for this increase in SF-12.”
“Combination of Chemically Characterized Pomegranate Extract and Hydrophilic Vitamins against Prolonged Fatigue: A Monocentric, Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.”
Authors: Hammad Ullah, Eduardo Sommella, Alessandro Di Minno, Roberto Piccinocchi, Daniele Giuseppe Buccato, Lorenza Francesca De Lellis, Costanza Riccioni, Alessandra Baldi, Hesham R. El-Seedi, Shaden A. M. Khalifa, Gaetano Piccinocchi, Pietro Campiglia, Roberto Sacchi and Maria Daglia.