A small double-blind randomized placebo trial provides evidence that a dietary ingredient can help relieve stress.

In the study, supplements from a melon rich in a particular antioxidant enzyme relieved the signs and symptoms of perceived stress and fatigue in healthy volunteers.

Marie-Anne Milesi from Seppic, France, worked with a team of researchers to evaluate its anti-stress effects in 70 volunteers. Her research builds upon earlier studies that showed a link between psychological stress and intracellular oxidative stress.

“We wanted to test whether augmenting the body’s ability to deal with oxidative species might help a person’s ability to resist burnout,” said Milesi.

“The 35 people in our study who received capsules containing the enzyme superoxide dismutase showed improvement in several signs and symptoms of perceived stress and fatigue.”

The researchers found a strong placebo effect in the volunteers who received inactive starch capsules, as can be expected when studying subjective feelings like stress. However, the improvements seen in the supplement group were significantly greater, especially after 28 days.

According to Milesi, “The placebo effect was only present during the first 7 days of supplementation and not beyond. It will be interesting to confirm these effects and better understand the action of antioxidants on stress in further studies with a larger number of volunteers and a longer duration.”

Findings are published in the Nutrition Journal.

Source: BioMed Central