The benefits and effects of spirulina in exercise, sport and fitness.
When I first came across spirulina and began researching why it was considered a superfood, and why its suppose to be a good staff despite strange taste and odor, to use for the fitness diets, what stood out was the fact that it’s 65-70% PURE PROTEIN by dry weight. Because of that I usually refer to it as the green protein queen or green gold. Protein content aside, what’s so special about spirulina and why should you add it into your HEALTHY SMOOTHIES?
Spirulina Powder apart of the protein, 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 times. 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 damage, thanks to the variety of antioxidants in spirulina.
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 exercise. 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 training. FormulaOZ Spirulina POWDER contain all the essential amino acids (including branched-chain amino acids).
Spirulina also 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 is the richest natural wholefood source of complete protein (containing all the essential amino acids) in the world and because spirulina has no hard cell walls, it is much easier to digest than other plant foods. High-protein foods like spirulina are known to increase energy.
A study3 (Kalafati M, et al.) published by the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that spirulina induced a significant increase in exercise performance and fat oxidation. In the study, nine moderately trained males took part in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced study. Each subject received 6 grams of spirulina or 6 grams placebo for 4 weeks. Each subject ran on a treadmill at an intensity of 70-75% of their VO2max for 2 hours and then at 95% VO2max to exhaustion. Time to exhaustion was significantly longer after spirulina supplementation; 2.05 minutes and 2.7 minutes with spirulina supplementation (above).
Spirulina can act as a natural energy boost to combat fatigue and can help with mental concentration.
Spirulina is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and carotenoids. It’s a good source of vitamins A (beta-carotene), B1, B2, B6, E, and K and zinc, copper, iron, manganese, selenium. It’s also an abundant natural source of chlorophyll.
A few more health benefits one might experience from ingesting this green gold:
•Better immune system functioning
•Improved brain health
•Improved blood quality
•Detoxification and cleansing
Spirulina & Strawberries Smoothie
By July 24, 2013Published:
Spirulina, Coconut Milk and Strawberries Smoothie - Superfood chargers liquid meal.
- Frozen strawberries
- 1 Banana
- 1 table spoon Spirulina powder
- Agave syrup
- Almond Milk or Coconut Juice
- Add the sliced banana to a glass and fill to the rim with frozen strawberries and spinach. Top up with any type of milk, I use home made almond milk. Transfer it all to a blender and add the syrup and the spirulina powder and blend until smooth. I use between a teaspoon of spirulina for a small glass and up to a tablespoon for a larger one but start with a smaller amount if you’re not used to the taste.
1 V.R. Young: Laboratory of Human Nutrition, School of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA 02142-1308, USA for the United Nations University. “Protein-Energy Interactions“.
2 Samonds, K.W., Hegsted, D.M.: “Protein deficiency and energy restriction in young cebus monkeys.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 75, 1600-1604 (1978).
3 KALAFATI, MARIA1,2; JAMURTAS, ATHANASIOS Z.1,2; NIKOLAIDIS, MICHALIS G.1,2; PASCHALIS, VASSILIS1,2; THEODOROU, ANASTASIOS A.1,2; SAKELLARIOU, GIORGOS K.1,2; KOUTEDAKIS, YIANNIS1,2,3; KOURETAS, DIMITRIS4, “Ergogenic and Antioxidant Effects of Spirulina Supplementation in Humans“,Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:January 2010 – Volume 42 – Issue 1 – pp 142-151