In a pilot study conducted by Dr. Andrew Creer of South Dakota State University, highly trained collegiate runners used Optygen over an 8 week period.
It was anticipated that supplementation would reduce stress and improve performance over training without the supplement. Though changes in the performance variables (VO2max, VT, RE16, lactate16, event time improvement) measured during the course of this study were similar between groups, Cortisol levels as well as the T/C ratio declined over the training period in S runners. Furthermore, training volume was 21% greater in S compared to P, but weekly stress scores were nearly identical. These findings suggest that although performance variables were not directly affected, use of a commercial herbal-based supplement may have helped counteract physiological stresses accompanied with high volume training.
Normally trained runners (~50 miles/wk) have been reported to have low resting testosterone levels as well as cortisol levels in the high-normal range. Recent data from our laboratory show resting cortisol levels in collegiate runners to be 30% greater than age matched control data (Figure 1), and although testosterone levels were only slightly lower in runners (4%; Figure 2), the T/C ratio was 41% lower in runners coming off a ~ 60 mile week (unpublished observations). These findings are consistent with those of Houmard et al., and suggest an elevated baseline physiological stress in runners as a result of large training volumes.
Table 1. Training volume and weekly mean stress scores from the 8-week training period. Also included are % changes in event performance from pre to post training. km•wk-1 Stress Score Performance Δ
Supplement 127 ± 16* 3.7 ± 0.4 -2.3 ± 1.1 %
Placebo 100 ± 3 3.8 ± 0.2 -1.8 ± 0.2 %
* Signifies a difference between groups at p < 0.05.
Summary: Over the course of the project, runners assigned to S trained on average 27 km•wk-1 more than P; however, salivary cortisol levels seen in S decreased by 26%, contributing to a 36% increase in the T/C ratio by the end of the study. These findings would indicate that S was under less physiologic stress compared to P. If this were indeed the case, supplementation would allow an athlete to train at higher volumes without experiencing an increase in cortisol levels and a reduction in the T/C ratio, which are considered symptoms of overreaching/overtraining. Therefore, utilization of Optygen proves beneficial to trained athletes undergoing high training volumes by decreasing baseline stress and improving training sessions, leading to an overall improvement in performance.
Supplementation Using A Commercial Herbal-based Product (Optygen) May Increase Running Performance in Highly Trained Collegiate Distance Runners: a pilot study. Dec 2007
Karlton R. Larson, PhD
Decorah, IA 52101
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects on highly trained distance runners of a commercial herbal-based supplement purported to improve endurance performance by increasing oxygen uptake, assisting recovery, and reducing lactic acid production. Though changes in performance variables (VO2 max, hemoglobin, serum ferritin and salivary cortisol) were similar between groups, time to onset of lactate threshold was nearly 42% greater in E=experimental vs C=control group. These findings suggest that although some performance variables were not directly affected, use of a commercialherbal based supplement may have helped improve lactate threshold levels significantly.
Importance. Over the course of the study, individuals were randomly placed into control(C, n=4, 20.5±1.0 years, 71.1± 2.55in, 157.75±8.88lb, 70.3±5.92 ml/kg/min) and experimental (E, n=5, 21.2±2.05 years, 70.7±3.15in, 148.44±16lb, 65.68±3.76 ml/kg/min) groups. Supplementation occurred during a 7-week period that corresponded with an increase in training volume in preparation for competition in the fall cross country season. Results do suggest supplementation being effective in reducing lactic acid production and delaying onset of lactate threshold and therefore improving endurance in distance runners.
The following research clearly indicates the endurance benefits associated with the OptygenHP formula.
Panossian A, Wikman G.
Clinical Pharmacology. 2009 Sep;4(3):198-219. Epub 2009 Sep 1.
Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity.
This 2009 study assessed the level of scientific evidence that supports using the adaptogen Rhodiola to reduce fatigue. The review concluded that this phytoadaptogen up-regulates the stress-mimetic effects on the “stress-sensor” protein Hsp70. Hsp70 interacts with glucocorticoid receptors, which affect the levels of circulating cortisol. The study concluded rhodiola prevents stress-induced increase in NO, results in increased performance and endurance. Adaptogen induced up-regulation of Hsp70 regulates the resistance to stress and results in enhanced mental and physical performance and, possibly, increased longevity.
Noreen EE, Buckley JG, Lewis SL, Brandauer J, Stuempfle KJ.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning. 2012 May 24. [Epub ahead of print]
The Effects of an Acute Dose of Rhodiola Rosea on Endurance Exercise Performance.
The purpose if this 2012 study was to determine the effects of an acute oral dose of 3mg/kg Rhodiola Rosea on endurance exercise performance, perceived exertion, mood and cognitive function. Subjects warmed up for 10 minutes then did a 6-mile TT on a bicycle ergometer. The Rhodiola group showed a significantly lower HR during warm up, significantly faster TT and a significantly lower rate of perceived exertion. The study concluded that an acute dose of Rhodiola Rosea ingestion decreased heart rate response to sub-maximal exercise and appears to improve endurance exercise performance by decreasing the perception of effort.
Parisi A, Tranchita E, Duranti G, Ciminelli E, Quaranta F, Ceci R, Cerulli C, Borrione P, Sabatini S.
Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2010 Mar;50(1):57-63.
Effects of chronic Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on sport performance and antioxidant capacity in trained male: preliminary results.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Rhodiola Rosea on physical performance and on the redox status of chronic Rhodiola Rosea supplementation in a group of competitive athletes during endurance exercise. Following a 4-week Rhodiola Rosea supplementation protocol, athletes underwent a cardio-pulmonary exhaustion test. The study found athletes had significantly lower blood lactate levels and plasma creatine kinase levels (this is a marker of protein regulation and overtraining). The study concluded that Rhodiola supplementation is able to reduce both lactate levels and parameters of skeletal muscle damage following an exhaustive exercise session.
Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Malekzadeh J, Hajishafiee M, Daneshvar P, Akbari F, Bahreynian M.
International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2012 Aug;3(8):559-63.
Effects of Six Weeks of β-alanine Administration on VO(2) max, Time to Exhaustion and Lactate Concentrations in Physical Education Students.
The aim of this 2012 study was to assess the effects of beta alanine supplementation had on VO2max, time to exhaustion and lactate concentrations in physical education male students. Subjects supplemented with Beta Alanine for six weeks. The group using Beta Alanine showed a significant increase in VO2max, a decrease in time-to-exhaustion and a decrease in lactate concentrations. The study concluded that Beta-Alanine supplementation can reduce lactate concentrations during exercise and thus can improve exercise performance in endurance athletes.
Saunders B, Sunderland C, Harris RC, Sale C
Journal of International Soc Sports Nutrition. 2012 Aug 28;9(1):39. [Epub ahead of print]
ß-alanine supplementation improves YoYo intermittent recovery test performance.
The aim of this 2012 study was to investigate the effects of beta-alanine supplementation on endurance performance. Football players supplemented with Beta-Alanine for 12 weeks and were tested using the YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test. The YoYo test is an intermittent treadmill test of repeated sprints- which has a high rate of aerobic and anaerobic energy turnover. The study concluded that 12 weeks of beta alanine supplementation significantly improved YoYo performance, likely due to an increase in muscle H+ buffering capacity resulting in a reduction in intracellular pH during high intensity exercise.