One of the key findings was that blood serum levels of lactate and myoglobin, which are fatigue-related biochemical parameters, had reduced.
Conducted by researchers from South Korea, including LG Household & Healthcare Research – which sponsored the study, the findings were recently published in the journal Nutrients.
This is also believed to be the first human clinical trial to analyse the effects of fermented porcine placental on fatigue recovery.
The double-blind, parallel, randomised, placebo-controlled trial took place between December 2016 and November 2017.
Eighty-four healthy males and females aged 30 to 60 who had previously complained about fatigue were involved in the trial.
They were randomised to take in 320mg of fermented porcine placental or placebo daily for eight weeks.
The fermented porcine placental supplement tablets were provided by Horus Co. Ltd, a firm based in Tokyo.
After which, the subjects’ fatigue levels were assessed via a treadmill exercise, as well as a self-reported questionnaire that reflects their fatigue severity scale (FSS).
Fermented porcine placenta had reduced fatigue levels by regulating inflammatory responses, said the researchers.
This is because the serum level of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) – a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays a significant role in fatigue induction – had decreased significantly in the intervention group as compared to the placebo by the end of the trial.
For instance, the mRNA expression of IL-1β at 30 minutes post exercise was 1.79 ± 0.10 in the intervention group and 1.90 ± 0.11 in the placebo group.
“The IL-1β mRNA expression showed significant group × time interaction after 8 weeks of treatment (p = 0.005).
“It is suggested that the anti-fatigue effect of FPP is mediated via regulation of inflammation, and the anti-fatigue effects result via downregulation of metabolite accumulation in exercise-induced fatigue,” said the researchers.
Age, weight effects
Subjects of different ages and body mass indexes (BMI) have reacted differently to fermented porcine placental.
Findings showed that fermented porcine placental had significantly lowered the serum level of the stress hormone, cortisol, in younger subjects (45 years old and below).
In this case, their cortisol level was 18.2 ± 2.4 ng/dL × min while that of the placebo was 22.8 ± 2.5 – a significant difference with p-value at 0.017.
Cortisol was measured as it is a known biomarker of stress induced by physical or psychological stimuli.
However, there was no significant differences in cortisol levels in the older subjects regardless of fermented porcine placental intake.
“In our subjects, serum cortisol levels increased by treadmill exercise were significantly reduced with FPP treatment, similar to a previous study.
“These findings indicate that suppressing exercise-induced physical stress with supplements might effectively alleviate fatigue,” said the researchers.
On the other hand, fermented porcine placental intake had significantly reduced the amount of lactate and myoglobin – both fatigue-related biochemical parameters – in subjects with a larger BMI (more than 23kg/m2).
Taking in view the above changes, the researchers hypothesised that fermented porcine placental alleviated fatigue by increasing anti-inflammatory activities mediated by IL-1β, lactate and myoglobin activation.
They have called for additional evidence based on clinical trial studies to corroborate the hypothesis.
Self-assessment shows limited reliability
The self-assessment questionnaire showed that the intervention group had experienced lesser fatigue when compared to the placebo group.
By the end of the trial, the fatigue severity score in the intervention group was −9.79 ± 1.28 and −5.20 ± 1.38 in the placebo.
However, the researchers cautioned against the reliability of the data since a person’s subjective feeling of fatigue could be influenced by sleep quality and psychological status as well.
As such, they said that psychological factors should be taken into account in future studies.
The Effect of Fermented Porcine Placental Extract on Fatigue-Related Parameters in Healthy Adults: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial
Authors: Wook Song et al