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Efficacy of spirulina supplementation on isometric strength and isometric endurance of quadriceps in trained and untrained individuals – a comparative study


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Objective: To determine the efficacy of spirulina supplementation in enhancing isometric muscle strength and endurance in trained and untrained human beings. Design: Placebo controlled, different subject experimental. Setting: University level athletes and college students of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India. Subjects: Forty healthy subjects (20 trained and 20 untrained) participated in the study and were divided into 4 groups, supplemented untrained (n=10), placebo untrained (n=10), supplemented trained (n=10), placebo trained (n=10). Subjects in both supplemented groups volunteered to take spirulina for 8 weeks in addition to their normal diet. Subjects in the placebo groups served as control and were given capsules filled with flour. Outcome measures: Peak force, average force and fatigue index of dominant quadriceps muscle were measured before and after 8 week of supplementation. Values were compared within and between the groups. Results: The results show that spirulina supplementation is effective with time in increasing peak force (p<0.01), average force (p<0.01) and decreasing fatigue index (p<0.01) on paired t-test. Significant group and supplementation effects were also found with ANOVA analysis for peak and average force. However no significant effects (p>0.05) were found between the groups with ANOVA in decreasing fatigue index. Conclusion: Spirulina for 8 weeks is effective in increasing the isometric muscle strength and isometric muscle endurance. Spirulina supplementation with training was found to be better than the spirulina only and training only in increasing muscle strength but no group was found to be better in increasing muscular endurance.
Content may be subject to copyright.   ISSN:1947-489X
IbnosinaJournalofMedicineandBiomedicalSciences(2010) 79
Efcacy of Spirulina Supplementation on Isometric Strength and Iso-
metric Endurance of Quadriceps in Trained and Untrained Individu-
als – a comparative study
Sandhu J.S*, Bhardwaj Dheera, Shenoy Shweta
Objective: To determine the efcacy of spirulina
supplementation in enhancing isometric muscle strength
Setting: University level athletes and college students of
Subjects: Forty healthy subjects (20 trained and 20
(n=10), supplemented trained (n=10), placebo trained
to take spirulina for 8 weeks in addition to their normal
diet.Subjects in the placebogroupsservedascontroland
Outcomemeasures:Peak force, average force and fatigue
index of dominant quadriceps muscle were measured
beforeand after 8week of supplementation.Values were
Results: The results show that spirulina supplementation
is effective with time in increasing peak force (p<0.01),
on paired t-test. Signicant group and supplementation
effects were also found with ANOVA analysis for peak
the isometric muscle strength and isometric muscle
endurance. Spirulina supplementation with training was
Key words: Spirulina–MuscleStrength–Fatigue–Sports
Spirulina,microscopic bluegreenalgaehavebeenknown
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J.S.Sandhuetal EfcacyofSpirulina   ISSN:1947-489X   
to be consumed since ancient times as a nutritional
whiletrainingfor track andeldevents (2). The Chinese
daily during their training and competition (3). These
suggest some strength or exercise performance related
Ithas been foundto be excellent foodfor rapid recovery
inchildren from malnutrition related diseases in Mexico,
weightbasiswhich is higher thananyother natural food,
14% carbohydrates (Ramnose, Glucane, Phosphorolated
Cyclitols, Glucosamine, Muramic acid, Glycogen), 6%
lipids(Palmiticacid, Linoleic acid,Gammalinoleic acid,
Alpha linolenic acid, Beta carotene), all eight essential
amino acids (Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine,
Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophane, Valine), several
vitamins and trace minerals like Ni, Cu, Fe, Ca, Co etc
According to previous evaluations, spirulina seems to
be a good alimentary protein source for human subjects.
Spirulina supplementation has shown to increase the
Initially the interest in spirulina focused on its nutritive
value, more recently, some preclinical testing suggests it
induced oxidative stress (9). It is evident that muscular
exercise promotes production of free radicals, which are
responsible for exercise-induced protein oxidation and
beenobserved both afterexhaustive aerobic aswell after
isometric exercises (11). However, spirulina’s effects in
in normal healthy subjects have not been documented.
used dosage ranging from 0.5gms to 10gms for various
therapeutic purposes. We intended to study the effects of
at the minimal therapeutic dose of 2gm/day for 8 weeks
Performance in sports and in any physical task depends
upon neuromuscular, psychological, environmental and
work and essential elements for repairing existing cells
and synthesizing new tissues, forming the foundation for
physicaland muscularperformance. Muscle performance
contract repeatedly against a load, generate and sustain
to increase resistance to infection and improve general
health. This is important in reducing the interruptions to
supplementsaim at increasing lean body mass ormuscle
mass by stimulation of protein synthesis and at reducing
bodyfatcontent (14).Thisprovokedustocheckwhether
spirulina due to its high protein content and antioxidant
performance by increasing the muscular strength and
Materials and Methods
A different subject experimental design for inter group
and untrained male and female subjects volunteered in
who have been consistently involved in university level
competition.This group included subjectsparticipatingin
‘untrained’was used to refer to subjects not involved in
Subjects wereinformedofthe possiblerisksandbenets
of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar who further
approvedthe protocols therein. 20 untrained subjects (10
(60±7.8), mean height (165.5±9.8) were selected and
randomlydivided into 2groups- Supplemented untrained
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IbnosinaJournalofMedicineandBiomedicalSciences(2010) 81
20 trained subjects (12 males, 8 females) with mean age
(24.4±3.4),mean weight(68±6.3),meanheight (170±8.8)
were selected and randomly divided into 2 groups-
Supplemented trained (group III) and Placebo trained
Characteristic Untrained Trained
Age (year) 25.2±3.5 24.4±3.4
Weight (kg) 60±7.8 68±6.3
Height (cm) 165.5±9.8 170±8.8
Trained subjects were found to have greater weight and
training sessions which involved predominantly strength
training (exercise machines and resistance bands) and
not participating in any sporting activity, not having any
history of lower limb injury and not taking any dietary
supplementfor past6months.Exclusioncriteriaincluded
Inclusion criteria for trained subjects included regular
participation in university level sporting activity and
dietary supplement. Exclusion criteria were same as for
Testing Protocol
Instructions to subjects were given prior to the testing
protocol. Subjects were asked not to consume coffee,
tea, heavy meal or other stimulants within 2-3 hours of
testing.All were asked to refrain from strenuous activity
instrument (HUR, Finland) was used for evaluating the
isometricanglespecic peak torque.Eachsubject visited
the laboratory before the start of the actual study and
performed 2 maximum voluntary isometric contraction
the quadriceps muscle of the dominant leg measured at
optimal standardized angle of knee joint (for which the
Isometric Strength Measurement
The torque (Newton–metre) was measured at 10 sec.
isometricholdat60° knee exion for quadricepsinboth
groups.Itwas normalized to force(Newton)by dividing
Isometric endurance measurement
After 2 min rest with no activity,fatigue index (FI) was
calculated as a measure of isometric endurance with the
Torquein1stsec(T1)and torque at 60th sec (T60) were
and F60 respectively. Fatigue Index designed by Milner
No visual or verbal feedback was given during the test
session to the subject so that no external stimuli were
Experiment Protocol
The study utilized a placebo controlled different subject
measurement of isometric strength and endurance were
done.Thesubjectsassignedtosupplementedgroup (both
trained and untrained) consumed organic Spirulina (by
Parry Nutraceuticals, Tamil Nadu, India, USDA - NOP
themorningand in evening andnotto alter their regular
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J.S.Sandhuetal EfcacyofSpirulina   ISSN:1947-489X   
therapeutic dose (12). The subjects assigned to placebo
group (both trained and untrained) consumed empty
capsules lled with our.At the end of supplementation
Statistical Analysis
for Social Sciences (SPSS)/14.0. (Copyright© SPSS Inc)
.Resultsis expressedas mean ± standard deviation (SD).
comparethe mean differencebetween pre- and post-tests
withingroup. Intergroupcomparisonshavebeenmadeby
and after supplementation by paired t-test analysis. Peak
force (t=5.83, p<0.01), average force (t=6.67, p<0.01)
and fatigue index (t=6.03, p<0.01) showed signicant
differencein supplemented trainedgroupbeforeandafter
p<0.01),average force (t=5.73, p<0.01)andfatigueindex
(t=9.92, p<0.01) before and after supplementation. No
signicantdifference was foundfor any parameterin the
Pre supplementation values were compared by ANOVA.
Theresults (table3) showed that the pre- values ofpeak
force differ signicantly (F=3.599, p<0.05) between the
signicant difference was found in trained and untrained
groups. No statistically signicant difference was found
between trained and untrained groups for average force
and average force when compared between groups after
supplementation.ANOVAfollowed by Post HocMultiple
Scheffe Range Test after completion of supplementation
yielded(F = 5.622,p < 0.01)group III to be statistically
by group I (p<0.05) when compared to placebo groups.
This implies spirulina supplementation with training was
p<0.01) was found with ANOVA. On applying multiple
scheffe,groupIIIwasfoundtobemostsignicantbut no
The present study was undertaken with the objective of
Peak force, average force and fatigue index have been
Peakforce(inNewton) Averageforce(inNewton) Fatigueindex
Pre Post t Pre Post t pre post t
Trained 326.50
±84.77 5.83** 268.80
±77.40 6.67** 34.60
±12.32 6.03**
Untrained 231.30
±59.15 6.29** 198.40
±61.18 5.73** 41.05
±17.43 9.92**
Trained 295.40
±62.20 0.451 252
±56.42 0.818 36.34
±15.43 0.221
Untrained 286.50
±75.53 0.678 230.
±68.29 0.047 43.06
±17.84 0.641
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IbnosinaJournalofMedicineandBiomedicalSciences(2010) 83
Spirulina, blue green algae have been widely used as
a nutritional supplement all over the world. It has high
acids.Besidesthis it is also arichsourceofvitaminsand
 Many studies have proven the antioxidant and disease
modifying potential of spirulina and its effectiveness in
various oxidative stress or free radical induced diseases
(8,22-24). However its effect in delaying the muscular
fatigue which incur due to this free radical production
of 92% when compared to 100% values for casein (17).
This implies that about 92% of dietary nitrogen (amino
acids) supplied has been converted to proteins. Amino
acids play an important role in regulating muscle protein
synthesisand this modulation may beaffected by dietary
proteinqualityandquantity.Fabricioetal foundincreased
Table 3: Comparison of peak force, average force and fatigue index in between the groups before and after
supplementation by ANOVA
SumofSquares df MeanSquare F Sig.
Peak Force
BetweenGroups 47163.275 3 15721.092 3.599 .023*
WithinGroups 157271.500 36 4368.653
204434.775 39
Peak Force (post-
BetweenGroups 85426.675 3 28475.558 5.622 .003**
WithinGroups 182352.300 36 5065.342
Total 267778.975 39
Average Force (pre-
BetweenGroups 27748.400 3 9249.467 2.612 .066
WithinGroups 127492.000 36 3541.444
Total 155240.400 39
Force (post-
BetweenGroups 63500.075 3 21166.692 4.815 .006*
WithinGroups 158249.700 36 4395.825
221749.775 39
Fatigue Index (pre-
BetweenGroups 468.961 3 156.320 .587 .628
WithinGroups 9588.333 36 266.343 
Total 10057.294 39
Fatigue Index (post-
BetweenGroups 1583.816 3 527.939 2.086 .119
WithinGroups 9111.284 36 253.091 
Total 10695.100 39
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J.S.Sandhuetal EfcacyofSpirulina   ISSN:1947-489X   
Peak force and average force exerted by dominant
Huczel et al (25) compared the strength trained and the
untrained subjects and concluded that muscular strength
was enhanced in women engaged in a training program
designed primarily to increase muscular strength and
hypertrophy, but fatigability is not affected. We found
before supplementation (pre-values) were analyzed by
groups (F=3.599, p<0.05). This is because the trained
groupsshowed high peak forcevalues than the untrained
groups due to the training effect. Similarly the trained
group also showed better values before supplementation
for the average force than the untrained groups but the
result was not statistically signicant (F=2.612, p>0.05).
asustained isometriccontractionfor60sec, didnotshow
any signicant difference (F=0.587, p>0.05) between the
The pre and post values of peak force exerted showed
foundin any of the placebo group. Signicantdifference
On applying multiple scheffe, signicant difference was
found between the supplemented trained and placebo
trained groups and between the supplemented trained
The pre and post values of average force exerted also
showed signicant increase (p<0.01, table 2) in both the
increasedfrom 268to337N insupplementedtrainedand
difference was found in post values of average force by
difference was only found in between supplemented
trained and placebo trained. This implies that spirulina
supplementation is better with training in enhancing
average force compared to only training but is equally
Huang et al (3) found that spirulina supplementation
decreased free radicals and increased soleus superoxide
dismutase activities signicantly in rats after exhaustive
exercise. Hsueh kuan et al (9) also found that 3 week
spirulina supplementation decreased activity of creatine
kinase and LDH, which are indicators of skeletal muscle
toremove freeradicalscouldlead tooxidativedamageof
cellularbiomolecules(18). These reactiveoxygenspecies
contribute to muscle fatigue (9). These muscle-derived
ROS primarily act on myobrillar proteins to inhibit
calcium sensitivity and depress force (19). Free radicals
In our study, the pre and post values of fatigue index
change(p<0.01, table2)inboththe supplementedgroups
untrained. Decrease in fatigue index implies increase in
muscular endurance. No signicant difference was found
onANOVA analysis in between the groups. This implies
human supplementation with spirulina has the effect of
Adverse Reaction
No level of any adverse effects has been found with the
dosage we used (2gm/day) after 8 weeks of spirulina
with studies done in animals where no body or organ
thanarticial concentratedcompounds.Iftaking spirulina
has the effect on exercise related advantage, it could
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IbnosinaJournalofMedicineandBiomedicalSciences(2010) 85
probably decrease the side effect and dependence, which
Limitations of study
that only isometric force could be studied. Psychological
and motivational component of the subject  during the
testingof maximal voluntary isometric contraction might
vsplacebo)effects for theisometricmusclestrengthafter
spirulina supplementation. Spirulina with training is
effectiveinincreasingmuscle strengththanonlyspirulina
muscular endurance but no signicant group effect was
found. So it can be used as a nutritional supplement by
Conict of Interest:Nonedeclared
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... Sixty-five percent of Spirulina's dry weight is a whole protein source that reportedly has a high protein efficiency ratio (87%) and net protein utilization (92%) when compared to casein (Sandhu et al., 2010). Some attention on the possible ergogenic effects Spirulina might have on isolated muscular strength, power, and endurance has therefore transpired (Chaouachi et al., 2021;Pappas et al., 2021;Sandhu et al., 2010). ...
... Sixty-five percent of Spirulina's dry weight is a whole protein source that reportedly has a high protein efficiency ratio (87%) and net protein utilization (92%) when compared to casein (Sandhu et al., 2010). Some attention on the possible ergogenic effects Spirulina might have on isolated muscular strength, power, and endurance has therefore transpired (Chaouachi et al., 2021;Pappas et al., 2021;Sandhu et al., 2010). Sandhu et al. (2010) investigated how Spirulina may influence isometric quadriceps strength and endurance performance in trained and untrained participants. ...
... Some attention on the possible ergogenic effects Spirulina might have on isolated muscular strength, power, and endurance has therefore transpired (Chaouachi et al., 2021;Pappas et al., 2021;Sandhu et al., 2010). Sandhu et al. (2010) investigated how Spirulina may influence isometric quadriceps strength and endurance performance in trained and untrained participants. Following a 2 g/day, 8-week intervention, results revealed that Spirulina supplementation can augment peak and average force in the quadriceps. ...
... Early in vitro reports demonstrating the high radical scavenging activity of the algae (18), probably involving the activation of the NRF2 signaling pathway (6,19) and the prevention of lipid peroxidation (18), have sparked a lot of interest in how the antioxidant effects of SP supplementation may support exercise performance. Other authors have shown that SP could accelerate recovery by reducing creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and C-reactive protein (CRP) (9,20); strengthen the immune system (21)(22)(23); and improve performance in various situations (9,24). ...
... As shown in Figure 1, the primary search identified 981 relevant articles, 428 of which were assessed after duplicates had been removed and the titles and abstracts screened. According to the search topic and the inclusion criteria, 13 studies were included in the present systematic review (8,9,20,22,24,(36)(37)(38)(39)(40)(41)(42)(43) ( Table 1). ...
... In total, 267 participants were analyzed. Only 3 studies involved female participants (9,24,43). The majority of the studies dealt with adult participants with a mean age of between 20 and 30 years; only two studies had participants with a mean age of 40 ± 8 (42) and 51 ± 3 years (43). ...
Full-text available
Arthrospira platensis , also known as spirulina, is currently one of the most well-known algae supplements, mainly due to its high content of bioactive compounds that may promote human health. Some authors have hypothesized that spirulina consumption could protect subjects from exercise-induced oxidative stress, accelerate recovery by reducing muscle damage, and stimulate the immune system. Based on this, the main goal of this review was to critically analyze the effects of spirulina on oxidative stress, immune system, inflammation and performance in athletes and people undergoing exercise interventions. Of the 981 articles found, 428 studies were considered eligible and 13 met the established criteria and were included in this systematic review. Most recently spirulina supplementation has demonstrated ergogenic potential during submaximal exercise, increasing oxygen uptake and improving exercise tolerance. Nevertheless, spirulina supplementation does not seem to enhance physical performance in power athletes. Considering that data supporting benefits to the immune system from spirulina supplementation is still lacking, overall evidence regarding the benefit of spirulina supplementation in healthy people engaged in physical exercise is scarce and not consistent. Currently, spirulina supplementation might be considered in athletes who do not meet the recommended dietary intake of antioxidants. Further high-quality research is needed to evaluate the effects of spirulina consumption on performance, the immune system and recovery in athletes and active people. Systematic review registration [ ], identifier [CRD42021262896].
... For muscular strength and power, Sandhu et al. (2010) examined the effects of eight weeks of Spirulina supplementation (2 g/d) in trained and untrained subjects. They reported significant improvements in isometric peak force (+22% and +30% for trained and untrained respectively), average force (+19% and +34%), and fatigue index (-36% and −24%) due to the use of Spirulina for both groups. ...
... Recently, Gurney et al. (2022) reported that both peak and average power during repeated sprint performance test significantly increased in trained cyclists after 3 wk of Spirulina supplementation (6 g/d). These results are consistent with other studies for peak and average force (Sandhu et al. 2010) and short high-intensity performance (Chaouachi et al. 2021). Contrary to these conclusions, Juszkiewicz et al. (2018) showed that 6 wk of Spirulina supplementation (1.5 g/d) was not able to enhance the mean power output or total run time during a 2000-m test on a rowing ergometer with a Polish rowing team. ...
Spirulina species are photosynthetic and filamentous bacteria, commonly called 'blue-green microalgae'. Spirulina has a high nutrient content. It contains 60-70% protein with all essential amino acids present, and is rich in several vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds. Spirulina is also rich in essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. This rich nutritional content provides to Spirulina several health benefits including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulation, and insulin-sensitizing properties as well as positive effects in various diseases which could be also interesting for athletes. This paper mainly aims to review the interest and effects of Spirulina supplementation in athletes at rest, and in relation to exercise/training. Spirulina's biochemical composition, health properties/effects in humans, and effects in athletes including nutritional status, body composition, physical performance and intense exercise-related disorders were discussed in this review. Literature data showed that Spirulina seems to have positive effects on body composition especially in overweight and obese subjects which could not be the case in other pathologies and athletes. Spirulina appears to be also effective in improving aerobic fitness especially in untrained and moderately trained subjects. Results reported in the literature suggest that Spirulina may improve strength and power performance despite the minor or no significant effects in highly trained subjects. Most studies have shown that Spirulina improves antioxidant status, prevents and accelerates the recovery of exercise-induced lipid peroxidation, muscle damage and inflammation in trained and untrained subjects. Taken together, the results from these studies are encouraging and may demonstrate the potential benefits of Spirulina supplementation in athletes despite methodological differences.
... Despite antioxidants being the major focus in algae supplementation for exercise performance, a few studies have offered differing perspectives on their constituents, and therefore mechanisms that might be the cause for the observed improvements in performance. Reports that spirulina can improve peak and average muscular force (15,37) have led to one group of authors suggesting that spirulina's high protein efficiency ratio (87%) and net protein ultilisation (92%) may have played an important role in achieving the positive results whilst administering alongside a training programme (37). Though this may well be a contributing factor, and despite roughly 65% of spirulina's dry weight being a complete protein source, it is important to note that a substantial dosage of algae would have to be consumed to achieve the daily recommended protein intake. ...
... Despite antioxidants being the major focus in algae supplementation for exercise performance, a few studies have offered differing perspectives on their constituents, and therefore mechanisms that might be the cause for the observed improvements in performance. Reports that spirulina can improve peak and average muscular force (15,37) have led to one group of authors suggesting that spirulina's high protein efficiency ratio (87%) and net protein ultilisation (92%) may have played an important role in achieving the positive results whilst administering alongside a training programme (37). Though this may well be a contributing factor, and despite roughly 65% of spirulina's dry weight being a complete protein source, it is important to note that a substantial dosage of algae would have to be consumed to achieve the daily recommended protein intake. ...
Full-text available
Nutritional clinical trials have reported algae such as spirulina and chlorella to have the capability to improve cardiovascular risk factors, anemia, immune function, and arterial stiffness. With positive results being reported in clinical trials, researchers are investigating the potential for algae as an ergogenic aid for athletes. Initial studies found spirulina and chlorella supplementation to increase peak oxygen uptake and time to exhaustion, with the mechanistic focus on the antioxidant capabilities of both algae. However, a number of oxidative stress biomarkers reported in these studies are now considered to lack robustness and have consequently provided equivocal results. Considering the nutrient complexity and density of these commonly found edible algae, there is a need for research to widen the scope of investigation. Most recently algae supplementation has demonstrated ergogenic potential during submaximal and repeated sprint cycling, yet a confirmed primary mechanism behind these improvements is still unclear. In this paper we discuss current algae supplementation studies and purported effects on performance, critically examine the antioxidant and ergogenic differing perspectives, and outline future directions.
... In moderately trained men, Kalafati et al. (2010) showed that time to fatigue after a submaximal run was significantly higher after Spirulina supplementation (6 g/d). Concerning the effects of Spirulina consumption on muscular strength, Sandhu et al. (2010) examined the effects of 8 weeks of Spirulina supplementation (2 g/d) in trained and untrained subjects. They reported significant improvements in isometric peak force, average force, and fatigue index due to the use of Spirulina for both groups. ...
... We showed no significant effects of Spirulina on concentric and eccentric peak torques and power of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Contrary to our results, Sandhu et al. (2010) reported significant improvements in isometric peak force, average force, and fatigue index after 8 weeks of Spirulina supplementation (2 g/d) in trained and untrained subjects. These apparent contradictory results could be explained by differences in assessment method (isokinetic dynamometer vs the HUR1 Ã 5340 Leg Extension/Curl), the type of contraction (concentric and eccentric vs isometric), and the subject's training level (elite vs university competitive level). ...
The present study aimed to examine the effects of Spirulina supplementation on anthropometrical measurements and physical performance in elite rugby players. Twenty-two elite male Rugby Union players (21–36 years old) volunteered to participate in this study. They were randomly assigned to a Spirulina group (SPI: n = 11), or a placebo group (PLA: n = 11) in a double-blind design. Subjects were supplemented with Spirulina platensis (5.7 g/d) or placebo (isoproteic and caloric) for 7 weeks. At baseline (W0) and after 7 weeks of supplementation (W7), the same anthropometric measurements and physical performance test battery were performed. These tests included isokinetic leg strength and power, vertical jump, speed, and aerobic fitness assessment. For anthropometric data, the fat mass percentage was significantly reduced in both groups without significant difference between groups. While both groups exhibited significant improvements for Squat Jump (SJ), Countermovement Jump (CMJ), and 10- and 30-m sprints between W0 and W7, higher percentage improvements with the SPI group did not reach significance. Neither training alone (PLA) nor training associated with Spirulina supplementation affected leg maximal strength and power or aerobic fitness. Seven weeks of Spirulina supplementation in elite rugby players did not improve body composition or substantially increase physical performance. We only observed a non-significant small advantage in vertical jump and sprint performance in the SPI group. Based on the data from this study, Spirulina supplementation has modest effects in elite rugby players during the competitive phase. Further studies are required to verify Spirulina supplementation effects among athletes of different sports, ages, genders, and athletic levels with longer durations and higher dosages.
... Along with this, it reduces exercise-induced oxidative stress by exhibiting its antioxidant property (Lu et al., 2006). Spirulina treatment for a period of 8 weeks is effective in enhancing isometric muscle endurance and strength (Sandhu et al., 2010). ...
... Several studies have been conducted that demonstrate its cancer-fighting properties in both animal and human studies (9,(53)(54)(55). In vitro studies are suggestive of the fact that the unique polysaccharide of Spirulina enhances cell nucleus enzyme activity and DNA repair synthesis (49). Its applications in oncological treatments range from minimizing the risk of breast cancer to lung cancer. ...
Full-text available
Spirulina, a blue-green microalga is an eminent functional food due to its unique nutritional and disease-mitigating properties. The main objective of this article is to present an overview of the nutritional composition of Spirulina. Along with its therapeutic potential and applications in the food industry. Studies included in this review have suggested spirulina to be a rich source of complete proteins, essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamins, minerals and various bioactive compounds like carotenoids, chlorophyll, and xanthophylls. This makes Spirulina a promising functional food for the treatment of ailments like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disorders (CVDs), COVID-19, neuroinflammatory conditions and gut dysbiosis. Additionally, data from numerous studies suggest its use in food formulations, primarily in sports supplements, bakery products, beverages, dairy products, snack sources and confectionaries. It has also been used by the National Aeronautics and Space Association (NASA) for astronauts on space missions to the Moon and Mars. Furthermore, spirulina’s use as a natural food additive possesses enormous potential for further research. Owing to its high nutritional profile and disease-fighting potential, it lends itself to numerous food formulations. Therefore, based on the findings of previous studies, further progress can be made considering spirulina’s application in the food additive industry.
... Another novel finding from the study following SP supplementation is that both PP and AP (Fig. 4) during RPSTs significantly increased. The results of the present study are consistent with previous literature, where SP has been reported to improve peak and average force of the dominant quadricep muscle (Sandhu et al. 2010) and short high-intensity exercise (Chaouachi et al. 2020;Kalafati et al. 2010;Lu et al. 2006;Kalpana et al. 2017;Hernández-Lepe et al. 2018). Indeed, having the ability to produce large power outputs, particularly PP, is an essential prerequisite in Fig. 4. Average power (A) and peak power (B) (watts) during the repeated sprint performance test following the 21-day supplementation of spirulina (SP) or placebo (PLA). ...
Spirulina supplementation has been reported to improve time to exhaustion and maximal oxygen consumption (V̇O 2max ). However, there is limited information on its influence over the multiple intensities experienced by cyclists during training and competition. Fifteen trained males (age 40 ± 8 years, V̇O 2max 51.14 ± 6.43 mL/min/kg) ingested 6 g/day of spirulina or placebo for 21 days in a double-blinded randomised crossover design, with a 14-day washout period between trials. Participants completed a 1-hour submaximal endurance test at 55% external power output max and a 16.1-km time trial (day 1), followed by a lactate threshold test and repeated sprint performance tests (RSPTs) (day 2). Heart rate (bpm), respiratory exchange ratio, oxygen consumption (mL/min/kg), lactate and glucose (mmol/L), time (seconds), power output (W), and hemoglobin (g/L) were compared across conditions. Following spirulina supplementation, lactate and heart rate were significantly lower (P < 0.05) during submaximal endurance tests (2.05 ± 0.80 mmol/L vs 2.39 ± 0.89 mmol/L and 139 ± 11 bpm vs 144 ± 12 bpm), hemoglobin was significantly higher (152.6 ± 9.0 g/L) than placebo (143.2 ± 8.5 g/L), and peak and average power were significantly higher during RSPTs (968 ± 177 W vs 929 ± 149 W and 770 ± 117 W vs 738 ± 86 W). No differences existed between conditions for all oxygen consumption values, 16.1-km time trial measures, and lactate threshold tests (P > 0.05). Spirulina supplementation reduces homeostatic disturbances during submaximal exercise and augments power output during RSPTs. Novelty: Spirulina supplementation lowers heart rate and blood lactate during ∼1-hour submaximal cycling. Spirulina supplementation elicits significant augmentations in hemoglobin and power outputs during RSPTs.
... pirulina platensis (blue-green alga), has abundant protein content (50-70%), vitamins, carbohydrates and some minerals (Belay et al., 1993). Spirulina has been used as a supplementary agent due to its therapeutic and nutritional properties (Sandhu and Shenoy, 2009). It is also used for cancer treatment, hypercholesterolemia and anti-inflammatory (Konícková et al., 2014). ...
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BACKGROUND/AIM OF THE STUDY: This study evaluates the effects of the blue green alga spirulina as the sole dietary source of protein on muscle protein in weaning rats. Young (30 days) Wistar rats were fed, during 60 days, with 17% protein spirulina (S) and compared to rats fed 17% protein casein (C). We evaluated the muscle total protein and DNA contents and the in vitro protein synthesis and degradation rates as well the myosin protein expression. The groups presented similar body weight (C = 427.3 +/- 8.6; S = 434.6 +/- 7.7 g) and length (C = 25.4 +/- 0.2; S = 25.6 +/- 0.2 cm). Soleus muscle total protein (C = 2.9 +/- 0.1; S = 2.7 +/- 0.1 mg/100 mg) and DNA (C = 0.084 +/- 0.005; S = 0.074 +/- 0.005 mg/100 mg) contents were also similar in both groups. Protein degradation (C = 427.5 +/- 40.6; S = 476.7 +/- 50.5 pmol/mg(-1) h(-1)) did not differ between the groups but protein synthesis (C = 17.5 +/- 1.0; S = 25.2 +/- 1.9 pmol/mg(-1) h(-1)) and myosin content (western blot analyses) were higher (P < 0.05, t test) in spirulina group. Although the spirulina proved adequate protein quality to maintain body growth, the muscle protein synthesis rates were increased by the ingestion of the experimental diet in young rats.
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Muscular exercise promotes the production of radicals and other reactive oxygen species in the working muscle. Growing evidence indicates that reactive oxygen species are responsible for exercise-induced protein oxidation and contribute to muscle fatigue. To protect against exercise-induced oxidative injury, muscle cells contain complex endogenous cellular defence mechanisms (enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants) to eliminate reactive oxygen species. Furthermore, exogenous dietary antioxidants interact with endogenous antioxidants to form a cooperative network of cellular antioxidants. Knowledge that exercise-induced oxidant formation can contribute to muscle fatigue has resulted in numerous investigations examining the effects of antioxidant supplementation on human exercise performance. To date, there is limited evidence that dietary supplementation with antioxidants will improve human performance. Furthermore, it is currently unclear whether regular vigorous exercise increases the need for dietary intake of antioxidants. Clearly, additional research that analyses the antioxidant requirements of individual athletes is needed.
Skeletal muscle contains a variety of potential sites for the generation of free radical species together with a multi-faceted defence system to prevent the deleterious effects of these substances. Most work in this area has concentrated on the role of mitochondria in the generation of free radical species and hence muscle fibre type composition may be an important determinant of the potential for free radical generation. Oxidative skeletal muscle contains substantial numbers of mitochondria and is subjected to large changes in oxygen flux during exercise. The capacity of muscle to deal with increased radical production also appears to be enhanced in oxidative fibres with this tissue containing relatively high concentrations and activity of a number of different antioxidant materials and enzymes. Most data now indicate that there is increased free radical activity in muscle during exhaustive aerobic exercise where the muscle is contracting in a primarily concentric or isometric manner. However, this type of exercise does not normally lead to significant muscle damage implying that the well-developed muscle antioxidant system is usually capable of preventing cell damage due to this increased free radical activity. Where exercise is of a type likely to cause muscle damage (i.e. during eccentric muscle activity) there is much less convincing evidence for increased free radical activity or for a primary protective role of antioxidants. There is, however, evidence for involvement of the cell-mediated immune system in the secondary damage which is a characteristic of substantial eccentric contractile activity, and this may generate oxygen radicals contributing to the secondary tissue damage.
The use of nutritional supplements in sport is widespread and few serious athletes do not, at some stage in their career, succumb to the temptation to experiment with one or more nutritional supplements. Nutritional ergogenic aids are aimed primarily at enhancing performance (either by affecting energy metabolism or by an effect on the central nervous system), at increasing lean body mass or muscle mass by stimulation of protein synthesis and at reducing body fat content. Although not strictly ergogenic (i.e. capable of enhancing work performance), supplements aimed at increasing resistance to infection and improving general health are seen by athletes as important in reducing the interruptions to training that minor illness and infection can cause. Creatine is perhaps the most widely used supplement in sport at the moment. Supplementation can increase muscle creatine phosphate levels and, although not all published studies show positive results, there is much evidence that performance of short-term high-intensity exercise can be improved by supplementation. Ingestion of large doses of bicarbonate can enhance performance of exercise where metabolic acidosis may be a limiting factor, but there is a significant risk of adverse gastrointestinal side effects. Caffeine can also improve performance, in part by a stimulation of fatty acid mobilization and sparing of the body's limited carbohydrate stores, but also via direct effects on muscle and possibly by central nervous system effects on the perception of effort and fatigue. Carnitine plays an essential role in fatty acid oxidation in muscle but, although supplements are used by athletes, there is no good evidence of a beneficial effect of supplementation. None of these products contravenes the International Olympic Committee regulations on doping in sports, although caffeine is not permitted above a urine concentration of 12 mg/l. Supplementation is particularly prevalent among strength and power athletes, where an increase in muscle mass can benefit performance. Protein supplements have not been shown to be effective except in those rare cases where the dietary protein intake is otherwise inadequate. Individual amino acids, especially ornithine, arginine and glutamine, are also commonly used, but their benefit is not supported by documented evidence. Cr and hydroxymethylbutyrate are also used by strength athletes, but again there are no well-controlled studies to provide evidence of a beneficial effect. Athletes use a wide variety of supplements aimed at improving or maintaining general health and vitamin and mineral supplementation is widespread. There is a theoretical basis, and limited evidence, to support the use of antioxidant vitamins and glutamine during periods of intensive training, but further evidence is required before the use of these supplements can be recommended.
This study was conducted to determine the antioxidant capacity, immunomodulatory and lipid-lowering effects of spirulina in healthy elderly subjects and to document the effectiveness of spirulina as a functional food for the elderly. A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed. The subjects were 78 individuals aged 60-87 years and were randomly assigned in a blinded fashion to receive either spirulina or placebo. The elderly were instructed to consume the spirulina or placebo at home, 8 g/day, for 16 consecutive weeks. In male subjects, a significant plasma cholesterol-lowering effect was observed after the spirulina intervention (p < 0.05). Spirulina supplementation resulted in a significant rise in plasma interleukin (IL)-2 concentration, and a significant reduction in IL-6 concentration. A significant time-by-treatment intervention for total antioxidant status was observed between spirulina and placebo groups (p < 0.05). In female subjects, significant increases in IL-2 level and superoxide dismutase activity were observed (p < 0.05) after spirulina supplementation. There were significant reductions in total cholesterol in female subjects. The results demonstrate that spirulina has favorable effects on lipid profiles, immune variables, and antioxidant capacity in healthy, elderly male and female subjects and is suitable as a functional food.
Microscopic blue-green Spirulina algae, such as have been consumed since ancient times, are algae having a very high protein content (70 p. 100 of dry matter). At present the Spirulina platensis species in the Kanem region in Chad is gathered by primitive methods, sold in the marketplace and consumed by the local population. The Spirulina maxima species exists in a seminatural state in Mexico City, and an industrial pilot plant harvests and produces one ton per day. Both species, Sp. platensis and maxima, can be cultivated in the same way in a controlled synthetic medium in large-area basins. Whether these Spirulina come from a natural medium or synthetic culture basin, harvesting includes the successive stages of concentration, filtration and washing followed by drying done in a conventional manner. The characteristic constituents of Spirulina platensis and Spirulina maxima, in addition to the high protein content, are both nucleic acids that account for about 4 p. 100 of the dry matter and the fatty-acid composition which is saturated C16 and ethylenic C18 substances. Linoleic acid and especially gamma-linolenic acid arecharacteristic of these two species. The unsaponifiable content is made up in particular of sterols such as cholesterol and beta-sitosterol as well as by triterpenic alcohols such as alpha-amyrin.
The strength of maximum voluntary contraction (MVC) and muscular fatigue measured from ankle dorsiflexors and knee extensors of 15 patients with neurogenic muscle weakness was compared with those of 20 healthy subjects. Muscle weakness, defined as the failure to generate the expected force, was determined by two methods: (1) manual muscle testing and (2) measurement of MVC using a force transducer. Muscle strength was then quantified as the MVC in Newtons (N)/kg body weight. The percent decrease in both MVC (the Fatigue Index [FI]), and rectified-integrated electromyogram (RIEMG) at the end of 60sec of sustained MVC were computed. There were three main findings. (1) Muscle strength was significantly (p less than 0.001) reduced in both muscles of the patient group: in ankle dorsiflexors, means = 1.62 +/- 0.7N/kg vs 4.8 +/- 0.5N/kg; in knee extensors, means = 3.2 +/- 1.8N/kg vs 7.8 +/- 1.5N/kg. (2) Fatigue was significantly greater (p less than 0.01) in the patient group: for ankle dorsiflexors, means = 50 +/- 15% vs 34 +/- 13%; and for knee extensors, means = 62 +/- 17% vs 46 +/- 15%. There was a negative correlation between muscle strength and FI of only the knee extensors of the patients (r = -0.88, p less than 0.001). (3) The mean decline in RIEMG of the two muscles combined was also significantly greater (p less than 0.001) in the patient group (means = 48 +/- 16% vs 2 +/- 11%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Spirulina, a unicellular filamentous blue-green alga has been consumed by man since ancient times in Mexico and central Africa. It is currently grown in many countries by synthetic methods. Initially the interest in Spirulina was on its nutritive value: it was found almost equal to other plant proteins. More recently, some preclinical testing suggests it has several therapeutic properties such as hypocholesterolemic, immunological, antiviral and antimutagenic. This has led to more detailed evaluations such as nucleic acid content and presence of toxic metals, biogenic toxins and organic chemicals: they have shown absence or presence at tolerable levels according to the recommendations of international regulatory agencies. In animal experiments for acute, subchronic and chronic toxicity, reproduction, mutagenicity, and teratogenicity the algae did not cause body or organ toxicity. In all instances, the Spirulina administered to the animals were at much higher amounts than those expected for human consumption. On the other hand there is scant information of the effects of the algae in humans. This area needs more research.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the toxicity of Spirulina maxima, a blue-green alga used as food supplement and food coloring, after 13 weeks of treatment. Groups of ten mice of each sex were given S. maxima in the diet at concentrations of 0 (control), 10, 20 or 30% (w/w) for 13 weeks. The alga ingestion had no effect on behavior, food and water intake, growth or survival. Terminal values in hematology and clinical chemistry did not reveal differences between treated and control groups. However, male and female mice showed significant changes in serum cholesterol levels at 20 and 30% algal concentrations, but a toxic effect of S. maxima was excluded. Post-mortem examination revealed no differences in gross or microscopic findings. Our results show that S. maxima up to high feeding levels did not produce adverse effects in mice after subchronic treatment.
Many studies have implicated elevated oxygen consumption (VO2) associated with aerobic exercise as contributing to oxidative stress. Only a few studies have investigated nonaerobic exercise and its relation to pro-oxidant and antioxidant activities. The purpose of this study was to compare biomarkers of oxidative stress: lipid peroxidation, protein oxidation, and total antioxidants in blood after exhaustive aerobic (AE) and nonaerobic isometric exercise (IE). Blood samples were collected from 12 subjects who performed a maximum AE and IE test and were analyzed for thiobarbituric acid (TBARS), carbonyls, lipid hydroperoxides (LH), and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). VO2 increased 14-fold with AE compared with 2-fold with IE. Protein carbonyls increased 67% (P < 0.05) pre- to immediately and 1 h post-AE, and 12% pre- to immediately post-IE and returned to baseline 1 h post-IE. TBARS did not increase significantly with either treatment. LH increased 36% above rest during IE compared with 24% during AE (P < 0.05). ORAC increased 25% (P < 0.05) pre- to post-AE, compared with 9% (P < 0.05) pre- to post-IE. There was evidence of oxidative stress after both exhaustive aerobic and isometric exercise. Lipid hydroperoxides, protein carbonyls, and total antioxidants increased after both IE and AE. Due to the different metabolic demands of aerobic and isometric exercise, we can rule out a mass action effect of VO2 as the sole mechanism for exercise-induced oxidative stress.