Standardized black seed oil may improve immunity and wellbeing in endurance athletes

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

Standardized black seed oil may improve immunity and wellbeing in endurance athletes

Related tags Thymoquinone Nigella sativa Immunity mood Sports nutrition

A study funded by Israeli supplement supplier TriNutra demonstrates the benefits of its ThymoQuin black seed oil on immune and psychological health under high-stress physical conditions.

The findings, published in Food Science & Nutrition Research​, suggest that the cold-pressed oil acts on the gut-immune axis to improve microbiome diversity and modulate stress-related immune alterations induced by intense physical activity.

“Rather than being an ‘immune-booster’ to stimulate immune system activity, ThymoQuin may be a natural ‘immune-modulator’ and ‘stress reducer’ that can help balancing overall immune system activity,”​ Morris Zelkha, CEO of TriNutra, said in a press release. “When the entire system is balanced, as evidenced in the study in the supplemented group, there is a noticeable benefit for physical health and mental wellness.”​  

Nigella sativa: ‘the blessing seed’

Buried with Egyptian pharaohs and referenced in the Bible and the Koran as “the blessing seed”​, black seed (Nigella sativa​) oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to manage ailments from fatigue and chronic headache to joint pain and skin conditions. In more modern times, clinical trials have extended its positive effects to fighting cancer cells, kidney disease, asthma and allergies.

“A number of laboratory and animal studies have demonstrated immune modulation of black cumin seed via effects on hematopoietic stem cells, lymphocytes, macrophages, T cells, dendritic cells, natural killer cells and a variety of cytokines,” ​the researchers noted.

Most of the plant’s therapeutic properties are attributed to its essential oil constituent, the phytonutrient Thymoquinone. TriNutra’s full spectrum ThymoQuin – which received its US patent in October – is a proprietary blend of 3% cold-pressed Thymoquinone and 1.8% free fatty acid. In the US, the ingredient is distributed through Barrington Nutritionals.

Study details

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included experienced marathon runners who consumed 500mg daily of ThymoQuin or a maltodextrin placebo oil for four weeks. Before and after supplementation, participants completed ​the profile of mood state (POMS) psychological assessment and a standardized health log assessing health status and upper respiratory tracts symptoms. Objective measures of cortisol and microbiome balance were gathered through saliva and fecal samples.

During the treatment period (three weeks before and one week after an intense endurance run), the runners in the intervention group reported 62% fewer upper-respiratory tract complaints, better overall health and 11% more positive mood states compared to the placebo group. They also showed 66% higher levels of probiotic Streptococcus thermophilus​ and 44% lower levels of stress hormone cortisol – which the researchers say “properly primed” the immune system as linked through the microbiome and stress response pathways.

“These results suggest that ThymoQuin black cumin seed oil extract may improve immune system vigilance and overall well-being following the stress of endurance training and competition, and that these immune-mood benefits may be mediated through the gut-immune axis,”​ the study concluded.

Source: Food Science and Nutrition Research​ 2022; 5(1): 1-6
“Effect of ThymoQuin Black Cumin Seed Oil as a Natural Immune Modulator of Upper-Respiratory Tract Complaints and Psychological Mood State”
Authors: Talbott SM, Talbott JA, et al.

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