The effects of spirulina in exercise and sport
Spiralyne spirulina tablets contain powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants can inhibit the oxidation of other molecules, which is important because oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. And free radicals can cause oxidative stress and damage to DNA, RNA and cell structures.
When you exercise, your oxygen consumption increases more than 10 times1. Consequently, there is a significant increase in the production of oxidants that can damage cell structures and can contribute to muscular fatigue. Taking spirulina can increase the amount of intense exercise you can do and it may reduce the amount of muscle damage23 thanks to the variety of antioxidants in spirulina.
Spirulina has cardiovascular benefits; it contains the rare essential fatty acid, Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which promotes good health. According to a clinical trial in Korea, essential fatty acids like Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) can prevent cholesterol from concentrating in the body.
Spirulina can also reduce bad cholesterol. In a study where 15 male volunteers took 4.2 grams of spirulina per day showed a statistically significant reduction of LDL (bad cholesterol) with no significant change in HDL (good cholesterol). Researchers also measured a significant decrease in the atherogenic effect, a measure of fat desposition in arteries4.
Spirulina and C-phycocyanin can have a protective and preventative effect on heart attacks5 6 7. Studies have shown spirulina and C-phycoyanin can significantly protect from cardiotoxic effects (studies based on mice)8.
Spiralyne spirulina tablets can safely help improve endurance levels.
Amino acids can play an important role in exercise, especially the branched-chain amino acids; valine, isoleucine and leucine. The branched-chain amino acids are unique because they are not metabolized in the liver but in the muscle instead, hence the name, ‘muscle aminos’.
Branched-chain amino acids are important as they help muscle under intense training. In an experiment using swimmers, one group was given branched-chain amino acids and the other a placebo. The branched-chain amino acid group experienced less muscle breakdown after intense exercise9. Studies show that taking essential amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids, before exercise triggers anabolic processes – the increased blood flow you get from training increases the amino acid entry into muscle.
Branched-chain amino acids can lessen muscle damage during exercise and block what is called delayed-onset muscle soreness following intense training10. Sixteen women and 14 men took five grams of branched-chain amino acids before doing seven sets of 20-rep squats, resting two minutes between sets. Some of the subjects got a placebo. Those who took the branched-chain amino acids had significantly less soreness than the placebo group; the results were more significant in the male subjects. The researchers think that the results may be a combination the branched-chain amino acids’ decreasing muscle breakdown and leucine’s stimulation of muscle protein synthesis (anabolism).
Spiralyne spirulina tablets contain all the essential amino acids (including branched-chain amino acids).
1Dekkers J, van Doornen L, Kemper H (1996). “The role of antioxidant vitamins and enzymes in the prevention of exercise-induced muscle damage“. Sports Med 21 (3): 213–38. doi:10.2165/00007256-199621030-00005. PMID 8776010
2Peake J (2003). “Vitamin C: effects of exercise and requirements with training“. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 13 (2): 125–51. PMID 1294582
3Jakeman P, Maxwell S (1993). “Effect of antioxidant vitamin supplementation on muscle function after eccentric exercise“. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 67 (5): 426–30. doi:10.1007/BF00376459. PMID 8299614
4Nakaha, N. Y. Homa, Y. Goto. “Cholesterol lowering effect of spirulina“. Nutr. Rep Int. 1988:37:1329-1337
5Khan M, Shobha JC, Mohan IK, Naidu MU, Sundaram C, Singh S, Kuppusamy P, Kutala VK (2005) “Protective effect of Spirulina against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity“. Phytother Res 19(12) 1030-1037
6Khan M, Varadharaj S, Shobba JC, Naidu MU, Parinandi NL, Kutala VK, Kuppusamy P (2006) “C-Phycocyanin ameliorates doxorubicin-induced oxidative stress and apoptosis in adult rat cardiomyocytes“. J Cardiovasc Pharmacology 47(1) 9-20.
7Khan M, Varadharaj S, Ganesan LP, Shobha JC, Naidu MU et al (2005) “C-phycocyanin protects against ischemia-reperfusion injury of heart through involvement of p38 MAPK and ERK signalling“. Am J Physiol-Heart Circulatory Physiol 290(5) H2136-2145
8Mao TK, Van de Water J and Gershwin ME (2000) “Effect of spirulina on the secretion of cytokines from peripheral blood mononuclear cells.” J Med Food 3(3) 135-140
9Tang, F. (2006). “Influence of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on urinary protein metabolite concentrations after swimming.” J Am Coll Nutr. 25:188-94
10De Palo, E., et al. (2001). “Plasma lactate, GH and GH-binding protein levels in exercise following BCAA supplementation in athletes.” Amino Acids. 20:1-11.