Zinc-rich oysters as well as zinc-yeast- and astaxanthin-enriched food improved sleep efficiency and sleep onset in a randomized controlled trial of healthy individuals

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 May;61(5). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600882. Epub 2017 Feb 27.


Scope: Zinc is an essential mineral that plays an important role in the body. We previously reported that orally feeding zinc-enriched yeast to mice induces nonrapid-eye-movement sleep. In addition, astaxanthin, an antioxidant abundant in seafood such as salmon and krill, is able to chelate minerals and may promote zinc absorption, which in return may also improve sleep. The purpose of our study was to examine the effect of zinc-rich and astaxanthin-containing food on sleep in humans.

Methods and results: We conducted a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled parallel group trial of 120 healthy subjects and recorded their night activity by actigraphy for 12 weeks. These subjects were divided into four groups: placebo, zinc-rich food, zinc-, and astaxanthin-rich food, and placebo supplemented with zinc-enriched yeast and astaxanthin oil. Compared with the placebo group, the zinc-rich food group efficiently decreased the time necessary to fall asleep and improved sleep efficiency, whereas the group that ingested zinc-enriched yeast and astaxanthin oil significantly improved the sleep onset latency.

Conclusion: Actigraphic sleep monitoring demonstrated that eating zinc-rich food improved sleep onset latency as well as improved the sleep efficiency in healthy individuals.

Keywords: Actigraphic measurement; Astaxanthin; Randomized controlled trial; Sleep; Zinc.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet
  • Diet Records
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ostreidae / chemistry*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae*
  • Seafood / analysis*
  • Sleep / drug effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacology
  • Young Adult
  • Zinc / blood
  • Zinc / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine
  • Cholesterol
  • Zinc