Oxygen nanobubble drink found to enhance athletic performance, study suggests

By Olivia Brown

- Last updated on GMT

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Related tags athletic performance cycling Sports nutrition Oxygen functional beverage beverage

A new study finds the consumption of an oxygen nanobubble beverage significantly improves the time-to-completion of maximal and submaximal exercises performed by male cyclists.

In addition, the average power was significantly greater for both categories of exercise following consumption of the beverage.

“This is the first study to have demonstrated improved performance with the consumption of an oxygen-nanobubble beverage by enhancing 16.1-km TT and repeated sprint performance,” the researchers from the university of Surrey stress.

They add: “An oxygen-nanobubble beverage improves performance during submaximal and repeated sprint cycling, therefore may provide a practical and effective ergogenic aid for competitive cyclists.”

Oxygenated performance

It has been established that increased oxygen supply during exercise can improve sporting performance. In addition, there has been increasing interest in targeting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract for this additional oxygen uptake, due to evidence​ suggesting its efficacy as a gas exchange surface.

Following this, the consumption of oxygen-enriched beverages to enable for this diffusion through the GI mucosa has been investigated​, noting resulting increases in circulatory and venous oxygen.

However, there is a general lack of evidence backing the resultant oxygen-enriched drinks marketed to improve athletic performance. In addition, the reliance on VO2 ​measurements obtained by breath calorimetry have proven​ inaccurate in terms of determining the amounts of oxygen utilised by the body.

Recent technological advancements have noted​ the potential for the use of oxygen filled nanobubbles for a more optimal delivery method. Therefore, the researchers sought to assess the effects of the consumption of an oxygen-loaded nanobubble drink on submaximal and maximal effort cycling.


The randomised control trial recruited 10 male cyclists to consume an oxygen-nanobubble or placebo beverage. The athletes then completed both submaximal exercise, consisting of 30-minute steady-state cycling at 60% peak aerobic capacity and a 16.1km time-trial (TT), and maximal exercise which included four sets of 30-second Wingate tests were completed with four-minute recovery sets.

It was reported that the time-to-completion was significantly faster by 2.4% for the 16.1km TT, following the consumption of the oxygen beverage. Additionally, the average power was 4.1% greater for the TT, when compared to the placebo group.

Consumption of the oxygen nanobubble beverage was also found to improve average peak power by 7.1% during the repeated Wingate tests, when compared to the placebo group.


The RCT collated significant evidence to suggest the oxygen nanobubble beverage may enhance athletic performance, with the researchers noting its practical potential following the lack of gastrointestinal discomfort reported following its consumption.

“Consumption of the oxygen-nanobubble beverage may elicit small performance benefits for athletes performing sustained vigorous efforts, as well as repeated bouts of high intensity exercise, but further research is required to clarify physiological mechanisms underlying these ergogenic effects,” the report concludes, drawing attention to the need for future study to include a larger sample whilst utilising more thorough objective physiological measurements.

Regarding previous research failing to observe such effects, the researchers hypothesise that the lecithin coating of the oxygen bubbles may act as oxygen carriers, enabling for the delivery of a greater quantity of oxygen than originally encapsulated.

They liken this effect to perfluorocarbon nanodroplets which have been reported​ to function as blood substitutes but emphasise the need for further research to confirm this theory.




Source: Taylor & Francis Online


“A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study examining an Oxygen Nanobubble Beverage for 16.1-km Time Trial and Repeated Sprint Cycling Performance”

David G. King, Icon,Eleanor Stride, Jeewaka Mendis, William H. Gurton, Heather Macrae, Louise Jones & Julie Hunt

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