New research suggests PLX, an extract from lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla), may provide both mental and physical benefits to athletes recovering from exercise.
The study, soon to be published in an upcoming issue of Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, investigated the ability of PLX to address several symptoms commonly associated with poor recovery in athletes, including sleep difficulties, muscle pain, anxiety, and fatigue. Researchers at the University of Miguel Hernandez of Elche (Alicante, Spain) conducted the study, which was commissioned by PLX-supplier Monteloeder (Alicante, Spain).
Researchers found that, compared to a placebo treatment, athletes who consumed 1.2g of PLX per day for 21 days slept longer each night, reported less muscle pain, and had reduced levels of key blood markers for oxidative stress and inflammation that can inhibit recovery, according to Monteloeder.
“The results of this study show that our unique lemon verbena extract improves both the psychological and physiological symptoms that slow down recovery after exercise,” says Fernando Cartagena, global head of marketing, Monteloeder.
A total of 26 volunteers participated in the double-blind study, with 14 of them consuming 1.2g per day of PLX while the remaining 12 were given a placebo. All 26 participants followed the same aerobic routine and diet. Researchers quizzed volunteers daily about their “feelings of recovery following a night of sleep,” and each week participants were asked to take a “Profile of Mood States” test.
Participants in the PLX group reported a 44% improvement in quality of sleep over the course of the study, in addition to experiencing reduced levels of perceived fatigue and anxiety, compared to the placebo group, according to Monteloeder.
Additionally, blood tests performed at the beginning and end of the study measured for protein carbonyls, malondialdehyde, and myeloperoxide, key markers of oxidative stress and inflammation that can inhibit recovery. According to Monteloeder, the results suggested that “the PLX group presented significantly reduced levels of these markers in their blood.”
Cartagena celebrated the two-pronged approach of PLX’s mental and physical potential in a Monteloeder press release.
“In general, most sports supplements offering recovery benefits focus only on physical factors,” says Cartagena. “However, as any sports psychologist will tell you, there is more to it than just muscular pain. By improving sleep patterns and reducing anxiety and fatigue, PLX also enhance the mental recovery that is essential for sporting success.”
PLX is a proprietary extract from the leaves of the lemon verbena plant that contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components including verbascocide, phenylpropanoids, and flavoids such as luteolin, says Monteoloeder. It has been incorporated into finished products in Spain, Finland, Canada, Germany, Romania, Taiwan, and the United States.
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Study results released to media ahead of publication.
E Roche et al., “Biochemical and psychological changes in university students performing aerobic exercise and consuming lemon verbena extracts,” Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, vol. 13, no. 2 (2015)