This experimental intervention research, of the BEFORE-AFTER TYPE was conducted on a sample of ten marathon runners and was undertaken in two sessions of half-marathon separated by a 15-day interval. During this period, each marathon runner took in 5400 mg per day of Spirulina - a microscopic Cyanobacteria-seaweed that is rich in antioxidant substances.
Their oxidative stress was assessed before and after each race with and without Spirulina intake using a spectrofluorometric measurement of the Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances (TBARS), according to the Yagi method as modified by Sess. The results were as follows:
• Race without Spirulina intake: TBARS before the race: 1.48 ± 0.631 nmol of malondialdehyde (MDA) per mL of plasma TBARS after the race: 2.96 ± 0.733 nmol of MDA per mL of plasma
• Race with Spirulina intake: TBARS before the race: 0.66 ± 0.508 nmol of MDA per mL of plasma TBARS after the race: 1.46 ± 0.488 nmol of MDA per mL of plasma.
We observed that the levels of secondary oxidation were reduced by half with the intake of Spirulina, a reduction that is significant at rest (p=0.027) as well as after the physical effort (p=0.001). At the hemodynamic and anthropometric levels, it was observed that the intake of Spirulina led to a significant increase in weight (65.96 Kg ± 4.16 v 65.49 Kg ± 4.16; p<0.01) and in arterial systolic blood pressure (12.8 mmHg ± 1.13 v 11.4 mmHg ± 0.51; p<0.01).
Our results are supportive of the prescription of Spirulina in most pathological cases, in view of the implication of free radicals in pathogenic life cycles. This would translate into considerable public health benefits.