Microalgae extract supports immune health in marathon runners, says recent study


Results showed that, compared to placebo, subjects taking the microalgae supplement had fewer upper respiratory tract complaints, better overall well-being, as well as lower cortisol and superior microbiome indices.

Photo © iStockphoto.com/peepo

Photo © iStockphoto.com/peepo

A recent study1 found that supplementation with a full-spectrum microalgae extract may support immune health and overall wellbeing. In the study, 32 male and female runners were given either placebo or a whole algae supplement of Haematococcus pluvialis that contains 8 mg of Astaxanthin (AstaPure Arava from Solabia Algatech, based in Kibbutz Ketura, Israel) daily for four weeks. The full spectrum microalgae provides 3% astaxanthin, 50% polysaccharides and dietary fibers, 28% lipids, 14% proteins, and a variety of B-complex vitamins and trace minerals. The study period took place three weeks prior to running a marathon or half-marathon, and one week after.

Researchers collected subjective and objective measures from subjects, including a profile of mood state (POMS) psychological assessment, a health log questionnaire assessing health status, upper-respiratory tract complaints (URTCs), as well as cortisol and microbiome measurements. Results showed that, compared to placebo, subjects taking the microalgae supplement had 78% fewer URTCs, better overall well-being, as well as 25% lower cortisol and superior microbiome indices, specifically 72% higher values of Streptococcus thermophilus, suggesting improved immune system regulation.

“Athletes building up for an endurance competition such as a half-marathon or marathon are exposed to strenuous physical and mental conditions,” explained Shawn Talbott, PhD, chief science officer at Amare Global Research and co-author of the study, in a press release. “The one-to-two-week period following intense endurance competition represents a period of particularly elevated susceptibility to immune deficiency and psychological stress.”

“These results suggest that AstaPure Arava could help improve the immune system’s acuity and improve the overall sense of well-being following stress conditions,” said Solli Brawer, DVM, chief scientific officer of Solabia-Algatech Nutrition. “The lower cortisol and superior microbiome parameters, suggest that immune vigilance and mental well-being are linked through the microbiome and stress response pathways. This research also adds to the growing scientific literature supporting the amazing arsenal of benefits astaxanthin together with other algal compounds, confers to our physical health and mental wellness.”


  1. Talbott SM et al. “AstaPure Arava natural astaxanthin whole algae product supports immune function and improves subjective well-being.” EC Nutrition, vol. 17, no. 8 (August 24, 2022)
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