Chlorella, a unicellular green alga, contains a variety of nutrients including amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. A previous animal study found that maximal swimming time in mice increased after 14 days on a diet including Chlorella powder compared to no change in swimming performance on a normal diet. However, it is currently unknown whether Chlorella-derived multicomponent supplementation increases aerobic endurance capacity in humans. We investigated the effects of Chlorella-derived supplementation on peak oxygen uptake during incremental maximal cycling in young individuals using a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover study design. Seven men and three women (mean age, 21.3 year) were allocated to placebo or Chlorella tablets (15 tablets × twice per day) for 4 weeks, with at least a 6-week washout period between trials, in a randomized order. Peak oxygen uptake significantly increased after Chlorella supplementation (before vs after, 37.9 ± 1.9 vs 41.4 ± 1.9 ml/kg/min, p = 0.003), but not with placebo (39.4 ± 2.2 vs 40.1 ± 2.1 ml/kg/min, p = 0.38). The change in peak oxygen uptake over the 4-week trial was significantly greater in the Chlorella trial than in the placebo trial (3.5 ± 0.9 vs 0.7 ± 0.8 ml/kg/min, p = 0.03). These results suggest that Chlorella-derived multicomponent supplementation increases aerobic endurance capacity in young individuals.
Keywords: Chlorella; alga; multicomponent supplementation; peak oxygen uptake.