Healthy living * Mental wellbeing

Chill out - have some melon

mellow melon Nutrient in melons relieves stress

Few things are as refreshing as a cool slice of melon. Now a new study has found that a supplement derived from the fruit can also help relieve stress.

Psychological stress can cause negative changes in the activities of the body's cells. If the body is primed to fight these physical changes, it could help relive the mental stress, and this is what the study set out to investigate.

The study looked at 70 healthy volunteers. Some were given the supplement, while others were given a dummy (placebo) pill, but neither the volunteers nor the people giving the pills knew which was which. This is what is called a double-blind trial.

Subjects then reported on their feelings of stress and fatigue, and were observed for known symptoms of these conditions.

The placebo pill worked well, which is common when people are given treatments for self-reported symptoms such as stress. However the melon supplement was much more effective.

Interestingly the placebo's effect wore off after 7 days, whereas the melon supplement continued to provide relief even after 28 days of use.

Marie-Anne Milesi, who led the study, said: "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".

The supplement used contained superoxide dismutase enzymes - known antioxidants chemicals.

The study was reported in BioMed Central's open access Nutrition Journal.

This article was published on Tue 15 September 2009

Image © studiovespa -

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