Many competitive sportsmen in this country regularly use pollen extract as a dietary supplement in the belief that it can lead to an improvement in performance. We have investigated the effects of a six-week course of pollen extract administration on a variety of physiological parameters in a group (n = 20) of adolescent swimmers. At the time of the study, all subjects were training on a daily basis. During the course of the study, maximum oxygen uptake increased in both the treatment group and the placebo group, no difference between the response of the two groups being observed. Vital capacity showed a significant increase in the treatment group, but not in the placebo group. The results indicate that no positive benefit was obtained from the use of pollen supplementation. However, the number of training days missed due to upper respiratory tract infections was much less in the pollen treatment group (4 days) than in the placebo group (27 days). In a study of longer duration, this difference could lead to an improved performance by the pollen treatment group due to fewer interruptions to training.
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