Microphyt explores microalgae for weight management, identifies side benefits

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Zorica Nastasic / Getty Images
© Zorica Nastasic / Getty Images

Related tags microalgae Weight management exercise

A microalgae extract produced by French biotech company Microphyt may not directly promote fat loss as hypothesized, but it could help overweight women with some of the pain points of exercise, according to a recently published study.

“Most significant findings are related to improvement in V̇O₂ max and decrease in resting heart rate to improve exercise capacity and cardiovascular fitness, which are major components during weight management interventions, in particular for long-term adherence,” Christel Lemaire, marketing manager at Microphyt, told NutraIngredients-USA.

The Microphyt-sponsored study was conducted in collaboration with global consulting firm Increnovo and the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab at the Human Clinical Research Facility at Texas A&M University.

Microalgae and weight management

Previous studies link marine algae and fucoxanthinol (a metabolite of carotenoid fucoxanthin) with anti-obesity, lipid-lowering and glucose management properties. 

“Theoretically, dietary supplementation with a microalgae extract from Phaeodactylum tricornutum​ containing fucoxanthin could promote greater fat loss and/or improvement in health outcomes during an exercise and weight loss intervention,” the researchers wrote.

Primary outcomes of the current study included changes in body composition. Secondary outcomes spanned exercise and diet-induced changes in aerobic capacity, muscular strength and endurance, inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers, hemodynamic status and appetite-regulating hormones. 

“Beyond weight and fat mass loss, comprehensive weight management interventions should prioritize overall health improvement by reducing cardiovascular risk, enhancing exercise and functional capacity, and preventing musculoskeletal injuries—the most common adverse side effects of exercise in overweight populations,” the study noted. 

Microphyt launched the Phaeodactylum tricornutum​ microalgae extract as PhaeOptim​ at the most recent SupplySide West natural ingredients trade show in Las Vegas, positioning it as an aid to improve exercise adaptations for a more effective and comfortable workout.

Study details

The counterbalanced, randomized, double-blind study recruited 37 overweight healthy women between the ages of 18 and 50. Participants consumed either a Phaeodactylum tricornutum ​microalgae extract standardized to 4.4 mg of fucoxanthin or a sunflower oil and maltodextrin placebo for 12 weeks. They also followed a calorie-restricted diet and supervised exercise program, including resistance training and walking. 

“Dietary supplementation with microalgae extract from PT containing fucoxanthin for 12 weeks did not promote additional weight loss or fat loss in overweight but otherwise healthy females initiating an exercise and diet intervention designed to promote modest weight loss,” the researchers reported. 

“However, fucoxanthin supplementation preserved bone mass, increased bone density and saw greater improvements in walking steps/day, resting heart rate, aerobic capacity, blood lipid profiles, adherence to diet goals, functional activity tolerance and measures of quality of life.”

Lemaire said that based on this promising proof of concept study, Microphyt will continue clinical research to evaluate the efficacy of PhaeOptim in other populations and consider factors like study duration, ingredient dosage and exercise training intensity in the current line of study.

“It's very important to note that regarding body composition, PhaeOptim may protect against bone damage induced in particular by diet restriction (well described in literature),” she added. “Initially not expected, this result opens new application perspectives in the area of joint health.”

The study also called for further investigation into potential health benefits in sedentary and active men and women with and without diet intervention, as well the effects on bone turnover, bone mineral content and bone mineral density in post-menopausal women and individuals with glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus, high blood lipids, functional capacity limitations and perceptions of limited quality of life.

Source: Nutrients
doi: 10.3390/nu16070990
“Effects of Supplementation with Microalgae Extract from Phaeodactylum tricornutum​ (Mi136) to Support Benefits from a Weight Management Intervention in Overweight Women”
Authors: Broderick Dickerson et al.

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