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Original Research

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1H NMR-based metabolomics approach for exploring the effect of astaxanthin supplementation on plasma metabolites after high-intensity physical exercise

  • Lei-Lei Wang1
  • Zhuo Sun2
  • An-Ping Chen1
  • Li-Jun Wu3

1College of Physical Education, Shanxi University, TaiYuan, Shanxi, China

2Department of Molecular biology, Gdansk University of Phisical Education and Sport, Gdańsk, Poland

3Department of Human Kinesiology, College of Physical Education, Shanxi University, TaiYuan, Shanxi, China

DOI: 10.31083/jomh.2021.020 Vol.17,Issue 3,July 2021 pp.122-131

Submitted: 28 September 2020 Accepted: 22 December 2020

Published: 08 July 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Zhuo Sun E-mail:
*Corresponding Author(s): An-Ping Chen E-mail:

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Purpose: In this study, proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy was used to evaluate the effect of astaxanthin (ASTA) supplementation on changes in human plasma elicited by high-intensity exercise.

Methods: Sixteen adult males were randomly divided into 2 groups (n = 8 per group), namely the control group C (placebo for 28 d, 4 weeks) and experimental group M (supplement medium dose ASTA: 12 mg/d for 28 d, 4 weeks). At 08:00 on the 29th day, fasting blood sampling was carried out on all the participants, and the samples were tested in the laboratory for the first time. Later, the participants performed acute exercise on a pedal-powered bicycle with full strength for 30 s × 3/3 min intervals (loading a weight of 0.075 kg/kg). Blood sampling was then respectively performed immediately, 1 h after the acute exercise, and 1 d after the acute exercise.

Results: (1) The metabolites of the subjects of the two groups were found to be diverse at different time points, and 34 types of metabolites were screened from the two groups. (2) The metabolites with differences between the two groups 1 h after exercise were β-hydroxybutyrate, creatine, and glycerol. The levels of β-hydroxybutyric acid and glycerol in group M were significantly lower than those in group C, while the level of creatine was significantly higher. Compared with the resting state 1 h after exercise, the metabolites in common between the two groups were leucine (Leu), valine (Val), and citric acid (CA), and their levels were significantly decreased. (3) During the period between 1 h and 1 d after exercise, the different metabolites between the two groups were methionine (Met) and glycerol. The glycerol levels of group M were significantly lower than those of group C, while the levels of Met were significantly higher. The co-metabolites of the subjects in groups C and M 1 d after exercise were creatine, glucose, and glycerol, the levels of which were all significantly increased.

Conclusions: (1) One hour after exercise, the consumption of creatine, amino acids, fatty acids, and CA was found to be obvious, and ASTA intake was conducive to their recovery. (2) After high-intensity exercise, changes occurred in the body's energy metabolism that involved the metabolism of glucose, lipids, and proteins, and basic recovery was found 1 d after exercise. The findings of this study suggest that ASTA intake can accelerate metabolic recovery induced by physical exercise.


Astaxanthin; High-intensity exercise; Human plasma; Metabolomics

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Lei-Lei Wang,Zhuo Sun,An-Ping Chen,Li-Jun Wu. 1H NMR-based metabolomics approach for exploring the effect of astaxanthin supplementation on plasma metabolites after high-intensity physical exercise. Journal of Men's Health. 2021. 17(3);122-131.


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