Ergogenic and Antioxidant Effects of Spirulina Supplementation in Humans

Maria Kalafati; Athanasios Z. Jamurtas; Michalis G. Nikolaidis; Vassilis Paschalis; Anastasios A. Theodorou; Giorgos K. Sakellariou; Yiannis Koutedakis; Dimitris Kouretas

Disclosures

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42(1):142-151. 

In This Article

Results

Washout, Compliance, and Diet

The comparison of the data from the first and the third trials revealed no significant interaction and no significant main effect of trial on any of the dependent variables measured. Therefore, the 2-wk washout period proved adequate to have similar physiological and biochemical values before the two periods of supplementation. Supplementation compliance was 97.6% and 96.4% for placebo and spirulina, respectively, as revealed by the counting of the capsules provided upon return of the bottles. No adverse effects were reported after spirulina supplementation. Dietary intake, assessed during the 3-d period, showed no differences between groups in any of the assessed variables (Table 1).

Exercise Performance

The average exercise intensity during the 2-h submaximal run for the placebo and spirulina trials was 70.6 ± 2.4% and 71.0 ± 1.9 % of V·O2max, respectively (P > 0.05). Time to fatigue after the 2-h run was significantly higher after spirulina supplementation (2.05 ± 0.68 vs 2.70 ± 0.79 min for the placebo and spirulina groups, respectively, P = 0.048; Fig. 2). Time to fatigue at 95% V·O2max was reproducible in preliminary trials (coefficient of variance (CV) 6.2 ± 0.7%).

Figure 2.

Exercise performance at 95% V·O2max in the placebo and spirulina trial (mean ± SEM). *Significantly different from the placebo trial (P < 0.05).

Fat and Carbohydrate Oxidation

Supplementation of spirulina significantly decreased carbohydrate oxidation rate by 10.3% (P = 0.008) and increased fat oxidation rate (P = 0.003) by 10.9% during the 2-h run compared with the placebo trial (Fig. 3).

Figure 3.

Oxidation rate in the placebo and spirulina trial during the 2-h run (mean ± SEM). *The carbohydrate and fat rates were significantly different between the placebo and the spirulina trials (P < 0.05).

Plasma Volume

Plasma volume did not change during the 48-h postexercise period in both groups (P > 0.05); nevertheless, the values were corrected for any nonsignificant plasma volume changes.

Creatine Kinase

There was no significant main effect of group or time × group interaction concerning serum creatine kinase (Fig. 4). However, there was a significant main effect of time (P < 0.001), with creatine kinase activity increasing 24 and 48 h after exercise in both groups.

Figure 4.

Creatine kinase (CK) activity in the placebo (open rectangles) and spirulina exercise trials (filled rectangles; mean ± SEM). *Significantly different from the resting value in the same trial (P < 0.05).

GSH Status

There was no significant main effect of time or group × time interaction concerning GSH (Fig. 5A). However, there was a significant main effect of group (P = 0.049), with GSH level being higher after the spirulina supplementation at rest and 24 h after exercise. There were no significant main effects or interactions for GSSG and GSH/GSSG ratio (Figs. 5B and C).

Figure 5.

GSH (A) and GSSG concentrations (B) as well as GSH/GSSG (C) ratio in the placebo (open rectangles) and spirulina exercise trials (filled rectangles; mean ± SEM). #Significantly different between placebo and spirulina trial at the same time point (P < 0.05).

TBARS and Protein Carbonyls

There was no significant main effect of group or time concerning serum TBARS (Fig. 6A). However, there was a significant group × time interaction (P = 0.007), with TBARS levels increasing after exercise after placebo but not after spirulina supplementation. There was no significant main effect of group or time × group interaction concerning serum protein carbonyls (Fig. 6B). However, there was a significant main effect of time (P < 0.001), with protein carbonyls levels increasing immediately after and 1 h after exercise in both groups.

Figure 6.

TBARS (A) and protein carbonyl (B) concentrations in the placebo (open rectangles) and spirulina exercise trials (filled rectangles; mean ± SEM). *Significantly different from the resting value in the same trial (P < 0.05). #Significantly different between placebo and spirulina trial at the same time point (P < 0.05).

Catalase and TAC

There was no significant main effect of group or group × time interaction concerning serum catalase (Fig. 7A). However, there was a significant main effect of time (P < 0.001), with catalase activity increasing immediately after and 1 h after exercise in both groups. There was no significant main effect of group or group × time interaction concerning serum TAC (Fig. 7B). However, there was a significant main effect of time (P < 0.001), with TAC increasing immediately after and 1 h after exercise in both groups.

Figure 7.

Catalase activity (A) and total antioxidant capacity (B) in the placebo (open rectangles) and spirulina exercise trials (filled rectangles; mean ± SEM). *Significantly different from the resting value in the same trial (P < 0.05).

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