Runner? Try Spirulina
Scientists from the Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation in Greece found that supplementing the diet with Spirulina improved running capacity by 30% thus extending the time to exhaustion significantly. The study also found that Spirulina supplementation a) increased fat oxidation, b) reduced carbohydrate oxidation during a two hour run c) reduced oxidative stress and d) increased antioxidant activity after exercise. Reduced carbohydrate utilization and reduced oxidative stress due to increased antioxidant activity may have played a role in the effects observed.
The study utilized nine moderately trained individuals in a placebo controlled cross over study where the subjects received Spirulina supplementation or placebo for four weeks. The experiment was then repeated whereby the subjects who received placebo received Spirulina and vice versa. Before and after supplementation, all of the subjects ran on a treadmill at 70-75% VO2max for two hours and then at 95% VO2max to exhaustion.
This study supports a previous study from the Sport Science Research Center of the National Taiwan College of Physical Education that showed that supplementation with Spirulina prevented skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative damage. The researchers believe that this probably leads to postponement of the time to exhaustion during all-out exercise.
The new study was published in the current issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010, 42(1):142-51)
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