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Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise refers to cardiovascular exercise that does not fall under the anaerobic exercise category, and can be conducted for a prolonged period of time. Supplements that improve endurance significantly can benefit aerobic performance.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Jul 5, 2013
Last Updated:

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect aerobic exercise
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
An increase in time to exhaustion appears to exist in prolonged endurance exercise, but this benefit may only exist in untrained or lightly trained individuals. Several studies have noted that the anti-fatigue effects and increased time to exhaustion do not really occur in advanced athletes
grade-b Minor Very High See all 3 studies
An increase in aerobic exercise capacity is noted with caffeine, possibly secondary to increased free fatty acids and adrenaline
grade-b Minor High See all 3 studies
For cardiovascular exercise that is prolonged in nature (45m or greater) and not exceeding the lactate threshold, there appears to be a small beneficial effect of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on improving time to fatigue or time to complete a test
grade-b - Moderate See all 5 studies
For the most part colostrum influenced aerobic exercise similar to whey protein (ie. not much benefit) although in specific instances of high endurance stressors in elite cyclists there may be a small ergogenic benefit thought to be due to reducing the rate of immunosuppression.
grade-b - Very High See all 7 studies
Does not appear to confer any apparent benefit to prolonged cardiovascular exercise.
grade-b - Moderate See all 5 studies
More evidence than not suggest no significant influence on low intensity and high duration cardiovascular exercise
grade-c Notable - See study
The one study to assess aerobic exercise capacity noted a significant improvement during extreme physical stress (triathletes), which is notable and needs replication
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
It seems that submaximal (light) aerobic exercise performance is not influenced much, but when aerobic exercise is carried to fatigue marijuana usage seems to be associated with less endurance relative to control.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
The performance enhancing aspect of nitrate supplementation in prolonged aerobic exercise is less than that seen in shorter duration cardiovascular exercise, and is only somewhat effective for longer periods.
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on a treadmill test to exhaustion nor oxygen kinetics during this test
grade-c - - See study
The performance of soccer players is unaltered in response to cocoa flavanol ingestion.
grade-c - - See study
No significant improvements in prolonged aerobic exercise have been noted with cordyceps supplementation
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on aerobic exercise when taken acutely before exercise in youth
grade-c - - See study
There are no improvements in running performance in otherwise healthy athletes given this supplement for one month
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on aerobic exercise performance
grade-c - - See study
No benefit of velvet antler on aerobic cardiovascular exercise
grade-c - Very High See all 5 studies
No significant influence on aerobic exercise performance
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
Performance during aerobic exercise does not appear to be significantly altered with supplementation of vitamin E relative to placebo.
grade-d Minor Very High See 2 studies
Appears to increase time to exhaustion on a treadmill test when given to athletes; the increase in endurance is mild but present. It has also been observed to slightly improve performance in long-distance running in untrained but athletic subjects.
grade-d - - See study
Chronic loading of blueberries with an acute dose prior to prolonged exercise (2.5 hours) in trained men does not improve physical performance.