Article at a glance:
- Chlorella is a nutrient-dense superfood that has fitness benefits.
- Thanks to its nutrient-rich profile, many use it as a supplement to boost energy.
- One of the many health benefits of chlorella supplementation is better oxygen uptake.
Can chlorella increase oxygen uptake? Helping athletic performance and increasing maximal oxygen uptake and aerobic endurance capacity are just some of chlorella’s many health benefits. Ready to learn about this supplement’s role in fitness? Read on to find out!
What Is Chlorella?
Chlorella is a superfood and multifunctional dietary supplement many people use worldwide. It’s famous for its nutrient-dense nature and the many health benefits it may provide.
Basically, chlorella is a unicellular green alga that grows in freshwater. It’s originally found in Taiwan, the best source of this superfood, and Japan. It is also being grown in China and the United States, particularly in Hawaii.
Its nutritional profile comprises multiple vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other beneficial compounds. Some of the nutrients it carries include:
- Protein. Chlorella is rich in protein, and many use it for protein supplementation.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Chlorella can provide your diet with omega-3, which is most beneficial for one’s cardiovascular health.
- Antioxidants. This superfood contains antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and chlorophyll. Because of its antioxidant properties, chlorella supplementation may help fight off damage from free radicals.
When it comes to making chlorella dietary supplements, most brands use one of two popular strains: chlorella vulgaris and chlorella pyrenoidosa. While chlorella vulgaris seems more common, most people prefer chlorella pyrenoidosa supplementation since it has a better nutritional profile.
It’s easy to incorporate chlorella supplements into your health routine. These supplements are widely available in different forms: chlorella tablets, powder, capsules, and liquid extracts. Among these, powder and tablets are the favorites.
Chlorella’s Benefits for Athletic Performance
Chlorella is popular for its many health benefits. It also has a prime role in helping people in their fitness journey because of the positive effects it brings in boosting their overall fitness capabilities.
Does Chlorella Increase Oxygen?
One of the top benefits of chlorella supplementation regarding fitness and athletic performance is that it can help increase aerobic endurance capacity, also known as maximal oxygen uptake.
Also known as VO2Max, your peak oxygen uptake is the amount of oxygen your lungs can take in and your body can process. It’s a good indicator of an individual’s cardiovascular health. Usually, athletes monitor their maximal oxygen uptake as it can indicate how good a person’s endurance is for exercise.
Chlorella supplementation does help in increasing a person’s oxygen uptake. Several studies have supported this claim. A small 2014 study observed chlorella’s effects on aerobic endurance capacity in young individuals (7 men, 3 women). The study comprises a chlorella group, which took six grams of the superfood, and a placebo group. The supplementation period for this study is four weeks. The study found that the chlorella group experienced an improvement in their maximal oxygen uptake, while the placebo group did not.
A later placebo-controlled study published in 2017 backed up these findings. This trial observed 34 young men separated into chlorella and placebo groups. It mirrored the results of the 2014 study, as it also concluded that chlorella helped increase oxygen uptake.
The Importance of Oxygen Uptake
Why is this oxygen uptake important to one’s overall health, even for non-athletes? Here are some reasons:
1. Better Oxygen Uptake Helps With Physical Activity
Your maximal oxygen uptake helps dictate how much physical activity you can do. When you move your body, it needs more oxygen circulating compared to when you’re at rest. It’s why, when you exercise or do moderate physical activities, you may notice that you’re breathing harder.
When you exercise, the oxygen that goes to your muscles helps break down glucose into ATP, which gives you energy for physical activity. The better your aerobic capacity, the more energy you have for exercise.
If you have better maximal oxygen uptake, you may also do more strenuous physical activity than those who may be out of shape. You can also do more physical activities for longer since your body has the aerobic endurance to do so.
2. Oxygen, Body Energy, and Organ Function
Our cells and organs need oxygen to function properly. It’s a crucial component of body function as it’s needed by our cells to produce energy. If you don’t have enough oxygen in your system, it may cause your organs to not function properly and even suffer damage.
It is even more crucial for a person’s autonomic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system that manages involuntary movement. This includes important bodily functions like digestion and your heartbeat. Without enough oxygen, it may cause a ripple effect throughout the body and negatively affect your other organ systems.
3. Oxygen Uptake Plays a Role in Post-Exercise Recovery
Did you know that having better oxygen uptake can help you recover faster? If you’re a fitness buff, you would know that good workout regimens include a recovery phase. Better oxygen uptake can help during this recovery phase because oxygen works when delivered to the muscles during a workout.
If your body reaches your peak oxygen uptake, and it’s not enough to supply the body with oxygen, the extra sugars in your body will not become ATP. Instead, it turns into lactic acid, which speeds up fatigue. Following your workout, your body’s energy and oxygen stores are down. You have less energy and are in oxygen debt. Having good aerobic capacity makes this recovery period faster.
Oxygen’s role in recovery has the same concept as getting ATP for energy during your workout. This time, it’s to replenish the energy stores you lost during the physical activity. Additionally, this also helps get rid of the lactic acid in organs like your liver and kidneys.
How Does Chlorella Increase Oxygen Uptake?
The studies back up the claim that chlorella does help increase a person’s aerobic endurance capacity. But do you wonder how this superfood does this? Does chlorella produce oxygen? What nutrient does chlorella contain that helps with a person’s oxygen uptake?
It turns out it’s all thanks to amino acids. Chlorella is a good source of proteins, which are made up of chains of amino acids. The protein that is found in chlorella is complete, which means it contains all of the amino acids our body needs.
One of these amino acids is Branched-chain Amino Acids or BCAA. Several studies have found that this type of amino acid helps improve a person’s aerobic performance by increasing exercise capacity and improving lipid oxidation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Chlorella Produce Oxygen?
Before being dried and processed for supplementation, chlorella algae can help produce oxygen. It’s rich in chlorophyll that helps convert carbon dioxide into oxygen that is released into the air. In fact, because of chlorella’s oxygen production, it has been used to enhance the effects of photodynamic therapy, a treatment using light-sensitive medication to get rid of abnormal cells.
Does Chlorophyll Help with Oxygen Levels?
Yes. Thanks to its chlorophyll content, chlorella may indirectly increase blood oxygen levels. However, chlorophyll doesn’t help by improving your maximal oxygen uptake.
Scientists believe chlorophyll may have blood-building properties because it resembles the hemoglobin structure in our blood. Researchers believe it can potentially treat blood-related issues like iron deficiency anemia. Additionally, they believe chlorophyll may help in improving oxygen levels.
Boost Athletic Performance With Chlorella
A potent dietary supplement like chlorella may play a big part in improving your health and fitness. From possibly helping one lose body weight or to improve your overall endurance, adding this superfood to your dietary habits can be a game changer.
Now that you know how chlorella may increase oxygen uptake, it’s time to see the benefits for yourself. Add this dietary supplement to your health plans today!