Orally Administered Plasmalogens Alleviate Negative Mood States and Enhance Mental Concentration: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 Jun 2;10:894734. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2022.894734. eCollection 2022.


Background: Plasmalogens have been shown to improve neurodegenerative pathology and cognitive function. We hypothesized that plasmalogens work in small amounts as a kind of hormone interacting with a G protein-coupled receptor, and then explored the effects of scallop-derived purified plasmalogens on psychobehavioral conditions in a randomized placebo-controlled trial of college athletes in Japan. Methods and materials: Eligible participants were male students aged 18-22 years who belonged to university athletic clubs. They were randomly allocated to either plasmalogen (2 mg per day) or placebo treatment of 4 weeks' duration. The primary outcome was the T-score of the Profile of Mood States (POMS) 2-Adult Short, and the secondary outcomes included the seven individual scales of the POMS 2, other psychobehavioral measures, physical performance, and laboratory measurements. The trial was registered at the Japan Registry of Clinical Trials (jRCTs071190028). Results: Forty participants (20 in the plasmalogen group and 20 in the placebo group) completed the 4-week treatment. The Total Mood Disturbance (TMD) score of the plasmalogen group showed a greater decrease at 4 weeks than that of the placebo group while the between-group difference was marginally significant (p = 0.07). The anger-hostility and fatigue-inertia scores of the POMS 2 decreased significantly in the plasmalogen group, but not in the placebo group, at 4 weeks. Between-group differences in those scores were highly significant (p = 0.003 for anger-hostility and p = 0.005 for fatigue-inertia). The plasmalogen group showed a slight decrease in the Athens Insomnia Scale at 2 weeks, and the between-group difference was near-significant (p = 0.07). The elapsed time in minute patterns on the Uchida-Kraepelin test, which is a marker of mental concentration, revealed significantly greater performance in the plasmalogen group than in the placebo group. There were no between-group differences in physical and laboratory measurements. Conclusion: It is suggested that orally administered plasmalogens alleviate negative mood states and sleep problems, and also enhance mental concentration.

Keywords: athlete; mental concentration; plasmalogen; psychobehavioral effect; randomized placebo-controlled trial; scallop-derived; sleep.