New study shows spearmint extract may improve performance under stress

January 30, 2019

Spearmint extract containing rosmarinic acid may improve performance under stress, according to new study.

An exploratory randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study1 published in the Journal of Special Operations Medicine examined the effect of a proprietary spearmint extract containing rosmarinic acid (Neumentix by Kemin Industries, Inc.; Des Moines, IA) on the physical, cognitive, and executive functioning of volunteers from an elite counterterrorism unit following a high-risk tactical operation while sleep deprived for 24 hours. Ten volunteers were randomized to either take 900 mg/day of the spearmint extract or placebo for 17 days, with the tactical operation taking place on the 17th day. Physical, cognitive, and executive functioning was tested prior to supplementation and then within one hour of the operation’s conclusion.

Results showed that subjects who took spearmint extract said changes in subjective feelings of energy, alertness, and focus were “very likely,” “likely,” and “possibly better,” respectively. Analysis of executive function under pressure was assessed by having participants shoot or not shoot a target on the basis of recognition after undergoing cognitive and physical stress. These tests showed that prior to supplementation, all members of the placebo group engaged the correct target, whereas four out of five volunteers assigned to take the spearmint extract engaged the correct target. However, following supplementation and the high-risk operation, all volunteers who took the spearmint extract engaged the proper target, while only three of five subjects in the placebo group engaged the correct target. Other measures saw no significant differences between the groups or the differences were unclear. Since this is a preliminary study, additional research with a larger cohort is required. 

“Today, many healthy adults are operating in high stress environments between juggling the demands of a high-pressure job and balancing the numerous activities of a personal life. An ingredient that can aid performance in a situation like this has the potential to benefit a great number of people,” stated Brenda Fonseca, senior global technical service manager with Kemin Human Nutrition and Health. “This study helps support our findings that Neumentix may also help to improve subjective feelings of energy when in a stressed environment.”

References:

1. Ostfeld I et al. “Effect of spearmint extract containing rosmarinic acid on physical and executive functioning after a tactical operation.” Journal of Special Operations Medicine, vol. 18 (2018), no. 4: 94-98