The Efficacy of Chlorella Supplementation on Multiple Indices of Cycling Performance

J Diet Suppl. 2023 Mar 11;1-17. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2023.2186557. Online ahead of print.


This study investigated the effects of chlorella supplementation on submaximal endurance, time trial performance, lactate threshold, and power indices during a repeated sprint performance test by fourteen male trained cyclists. Participants ingested 6 g/day of chlorella or placebo for 21-days in a double-blinded randomized counter-balanced cross-over design, with a fourteen-day washout period between trials. Each completed a 2-day testing period comprising 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 (Dmax) and repeated sprint performance tests (3 X 20 s sprints interspersed by 4-mins) (Day-2). Heart rate (b.min-1), RER, V̇O2 (ml·kg-1·min-1), lactate and glucose (mmol/L), time (secs), power output (W/kg), and hemoglobin (g/L) were compared across conditions. Following chlorella supplementation (chlorella vs. placebo for each measurement) average lactate and heart rate were significantly lower (p < 0.05) during submaximal endurance tests (1.68 ± 0.50 mmol/L vs. 1.91 ± 0.65 mmol/L & 138 ± 11b.min-1 vs. 144 ± 10b.min-1), average power and peak power (W/kg) were significantly higher during repeated sprint bouts (9.5 ± 0.7 W/kg vs. 9.0 ± 0.7 W/kg & 12.0 ± 1.2 W/kg vs. 11.4 ± 1.4 W/kg), hemoglobin significantly increased (149.1 ± 10.3 g/L) in comparison to placebo (143.4 ± 8.7 g/L) (p = 0.05). No differences existed between conditions for all oxygen consumption values, 16.1 km time trial measures and lactate threshold tests (p > 0.05). In conclusion, chlorella may pose as an additional supplement for cyclists to consider, particularly for those cyclists who want to improve their sprinting.

Keywords: Algae; average power; heart rate; hemoglobin; oxygen consumption; peak power.