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Study finds spearmint extract supplementation associated with improved agility in active adults

March 26, 2019

Findings from a trial reported on Dec. 12, 2018, in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reveal an association between supplementing with a proprietary spearmint extract and improved reactive agility, defined as any unplanned change in direction or speed, in a group of healthy, recreationally-active individuals. “Reactive agility is an aspect of physical performance; interestingly, however, data suggest that reactive agility may rely more on cognitive than physical parameters,” write authors Paul H. Falcone and colleagues, citing a study that found a stronger correlation between such agility and aspects of cognition (response time and decision-making time) than such measures of physical performance as sprint speed, change-of-direction speed and other measurements.

Previous research found that supplementation with a proprietary spearmint extract that contained a minimum of 14.5% rosmarinic acid and 24% phenolic content supported focus and concentration among older individuals with memory impairment. “To address the growing interest in connecting mental and physical performance, the present study examined whether the nootropic effects of proprietary spearmint extract translate into changes in reactive agility following daily supplementation.”

In the study, 142 men and women ages 18 to 50 received a placebo or 900 milligrams of proprietary spearmint extract daily for 90 days. At the beginning of the study and on days 7, 30 and 90, agility was evaluated with an audio-visual device that measured stationary, lateral and multidirectional reaction time. Blood samples collected at the beginning of the study and after 7, 30 and 90 days were analyzed for markers of stress and inflammation.

Subjects who received spearmint demonstrated significantly better performance in specific measures of agility. The spearmint group also exhibited a decrease in C-reactive protein levels, indicating reduced inflammation.

“The present study supports the use of proprietary spearmint extract as a safe nootropic with potential downstream benefits in athletic performance,” the authors conclude.

Apply What You’ve Learned: The Benefits of Spearmint

  • Spearmint-infused green tea is a staple beverage in Morocco. The herb is a delicious and refreshing addition to green or black tea or can be infused as a tea on its own.  
  • While the health effects of green tea are familiar to many of us, the Western world is beginning to recognize the benefits of spearmint. Spearmint was shown to support concentration, short-term memory and working memory in a recent randomized trial.1
  • Spearmint contains rosmarinic acid, which also occurs in rosemary.2 Rosmarinic acid has demonstrated antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities in research.2
  • While spearmint has been associated with increased alertness, consuming spearmint has also been associated with an easier time falling asleep.1
  • Spearmint is easy to grow on a patio or in a window box. A sprig of fresh spearmint makes an appealing addition to a glass of iced tea.
  • Spearmint leaves can be chewed as a breath freshener.

Reference
1. Herrlinger KA et al. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 Jan; 24(1):37-47.
2. Falcone PH et al. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018 Dec 12;15(1):58.

     

 

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