Blueberry supplementation reduces the blood lactate response to running in normobaric hypoxia but has no effect on performance in recreational runners

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Abstract

Background: Blueberries are concentrated with anthocyanins possessing antioxidant properties. As these properties counter fatigue, blueberry supplementation may improve performance and recovery, particularly in hypoxia, where oxidative stress is elevated. Methods: This study examined the effects of blueberry supplementation on running performance, physiological responses, and recovery in normobaric hypoxia. Eleven experienced runners completed a 30-minute time-trial (TT) in normobaric hypoxia (%O2 = 15.5 %) on separate days after supplementation with four days of blueberries (BLU) or four days of placebo (PLA). Heart rate (HR), oxygen saturation (SaO2) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were monitored during the TT. Blood lactate and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) were assessed pre-TT, post-TT, and during recovery. Results: No significant differences were observed in the distance run during the TT, HR, SaO2, and RPE. The post-TT increase in blood lactate was significantly lower in BLU than PLA (p = 0.036). Pre-TT and post-TT FENO did not differ between conditions. Blood lactate recovery following the TT was similar between conditions. Conclusions: Four days of blueberry supplementation did not alter running performance or cardiovascular and perceptual responses in normobaric hypoxia. Supplementation lowered the blood lactate response to running, however, the significance of this finding is uncertain given the absence of an ergogenic effect.

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Brandenburg, J. P., & Giles, L. V. (2021). Blueberry supplementation reduces the blood lactate response to running in normobaric hypoxia but has no effect on performance in recreational runners. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-021-00423-7

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