Deep ocean minerals may boost high-intensity running capacity

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Ryan McVay
© Getty Images / Ryan McVay
Supplements containing over 70 minerals and trace elements derived from the deep ocean may improve high-intensity running capacity after short-term recovery, says a new study with soccer players.

The desalinated deep ocean minerals (DOM) used in the study were provided by Taiwanese company Pacific Deep Ocean Biotech, which also funded the study. The more than 70 minerals and trace elements are derived from water collected at a depth of more than 600 meters in the West Pacific Ocean. The water is micro-filtered to remove any microorganisms, and then ultra-filtered to remove any macromolecules and/or viruses.

Consumption of DOM during a recovery phase after high intensity exercise was associated with boosting the higher running capacity afterwards by about 25%

“Oral ingestion of DOM seems likely to promote ergogenic benefits for recreationally active soccer players after recovery from prolonged exercise in thermoneutral environmental conditions; however, given the somewhat variable results, an individual approach to supplementation is warranted,” ​wrote researchers from University of Derby (UK) and the University of Taipei (Taiwan) in Marine Drugs​.

Why deep ocean water?

The deep ocean minerals concept is anchored to paleobiology, which suggests that life on earth originated from the deep oceans (deeper than 0.5 km) and that our transition from sea to land led to compromised nutritive complexity. Photosynthetic organisms living at the surface may deplete certain biogenic components from the water, but these can still be found in the deep ocean water where sunlight cannot reach. Therefore, ingestion of these deep ocean components may, “replenish any innate incomplete molecular complexity and increase the physical capacity of humans against entropic physical challenges”, ​said the authors.

A previous proof-of-concept study appeared to have supported this concept for both recovery and leg muscle power (Hou et al. 2013, J. Int. Soc. Sports Nutr​. 10​:7​). The new study sought to test the effects of DOM in young and middle-aged men, with a particular focus on the so-called cerebral hemodynamics.

This was followed by a 2017 study in Frontiers in Physiology​,​ which found that the consumption of DOM before, during, and after exhaustive cycling exercise was associated with significantly elevated cerebral hemoglobin levels in both young and middle-aged men, compared with placebo.

Commenting on the study’s findings, Michael Chernyak, president of CK Nutraceuticals, which supplies the Deep Ocean Minerals in Canada and the US, told us that this is the third published human study on DOM.

“It gives further scientific credibility to DOM’s hydration and sports recovery benefits,” ​he said. “With the continued growth in the sports nutrition market, there is a need for safe and effective natural products that promote better performance and recovery.  As a result, this additional research on DOM is very timely.”

Study details

The researchers recruited 9 healthy recreational male soccer players with an average age of 22 to participate in their study. The men were asked to complete a graded incremental test to determine their peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), two familiarization trials, and two experimental trials. This was done in a double-blind, repeated measures, crossover, counterbalanced design.

The experimental trials were the same as the familiarization trials except that the participants were provided with the DOM supplement or a placebo, both mixed with 6% sucrose water.

Results showed that DOM was associated with a 25% increase in high-intensity running capacity after the two-hour recovery period, compared to placebo.

On the other hand, there were no differences between the groups for blood lactate levels, blood glucose levels, or the concentration of urine, said the researchers.

“The minerals and trace elements within DOM, either individually or synergistically, appear to have augmented high-intensity running capacity in healthy, recreationally active male soccer players after short-term recovery from an initial bout of prolonged, high-intensity running in thermoneutral environmental conditions,” ​wrote the researchers.

“To date, the mechanism for this effect is unclear, and further work is required to establish the mechanism(s) behind the ergogenic effects of DOM to maximize its potential performance and health benefits in the wider community,” ​they concluded.

Source: Marine Drugs
2019, Volume 17, Issue 5, Page 309; doi: 10.3390/md17050309
“Oral Ingestion of Deep Ocean Minerals Increases High-Intensity Intermittent Running Capacity in Soccer Players after Short-Term Post-Exercise Recovery: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Crossover Trial”
Authors: M.F. Higgins et al.

Related topics: Research, Sports nutrition, Minerals

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