A recent Iranian study found that obese men’s circulating lipid levels were lowered and their body composition was improved after 12 weeks of high-intensity functional training (HIFT) with astaxanthin administration.
Obesity-related adipokine proteins and growth differentiation factor (GDF) levels were decreased, and subjects who followed the treatment showed improvements in anthropometric indices, cardio-respiratory fitness, lipid profile, and metabolic indicators.
Researchers found that astaxanthin prevented the formation of pro-inflammatory phenotypes—phenotypes that harm pancreatic beta-cells, promote weight gain, and increase insulin resistance—while exercise altered aerobic capacity.
They also note that the antioxidant boosts total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in the plasma, which in turn helps improve dyslipidaemia and decrease metabolic diseases.
The 68 male participants were recruited from health clubs, medical offices, hospitals, and online social networks before being randomly divided into four groups of 17 for the study: a control group (CG), a supplement group (SG), a training group (TG), and a training plus supplement group (TPS) (TSG).
Twenty milligrams of astaxanthin or a placebo were taken once daily, and high intensity interval training (HIFT) was performed three times per week for 60 minutes.
The scientists indicate that because CTRP2 and CTRP9 are both secreted at higher rates in obese people, they can be used as therapeutic targets in the treatment of obesity.
However, decreased expression of GDF8 (or myostatin) is linked to weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and enhanced glucose absorption, while increased expression of GDF15 is positively correlated with obesity.
Twelve weeks after beginning treatment, participants in all three groups showed improvements in body composition (lower BMI, higher FFM, lower body fat percentage, lower glucose and insulin levels) but improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness were limited to the TG and TSG. Both the SG and TG groups had a reduction in their body fat percentages, however the TSG group saw the most improvement.
In earlier research, CrossFit exercise was shown to enhance muscle mass and improve insulin sensitivity, thus the authors conclude that fat loss is a natural consequence of the increased aerobic activity.
A combination of high-intensity intermittent fasting (HIFT) and astaxanthin was found to decrease body weight and lipid profiles while boosting high-density lipid cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. When astaxanthin was added to exercise, the results were more pronounced.
At 12 weeks, data showed that the TSG group had lower circulatory levels of GDF8 compared to each intervention alone, while significant declines were also seen in the SG and TG groups. CTRP2 reductions were more pronounced in the SG, TG, and TSG as compared to the control, while GDF15 was decreased most noticeably in the TSG, then the TG. Additionaly, at 12 weeks, the greatest decrease in CTRP9 was observed when training and supplementation was used. The findings support the use of astaxanthin in combination with HIFT to promote greater weight loss and mitigate the effects of CTRPs and GDFs and fat loss in those who are overweight or obese.