Severe fatigue can negatively affect quality of life, and oxidative stress may play a role in its mechanism. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary supplementation of astaxanthin and sesamin (AS), strong food-derived antioxidants, on fatigue. Twenty-four healthy volunteers were supplemented with AS and placebo, each for four weeks. After each supplementation period, participants underwent tasks inducing mental and physical fatigue (visual display terminal task and ergometer task, respectively). Subjective fatigue was evaluated using a visual analogue scale during and after the mental and physical tasks, and daily subjective fatigue was evaluated by the Chalder fatigue questionnaire. Secondary outcomes included other subjective feelings, work efficiency, autonomic nerve activity, levels of an oxidative stress marker (plasma phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxide (PCOOH)) and safety. AS supplementation was associated with significantly improved recovery from mental fatigue compared with placebo. Increased PCOOH levels during mental and physical tasks were attenuated by AS supplementation. No differences between AS and placebo were detected in secondary outcomes, and no adverse effects of AS supplementation were observed. In conclusion, AS supplementation may be a candidate to promote recovery from mental fatigue which is experienced by many healthy people.
Keywords: astaxanthin; fatigue; phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxide; sesame seed extract; sesamin; visual analogue scale.