Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2018) 17, 24 - 30

Research article
Citrus Flavonoid Supplementation Improves Exercise Performance in Trained Athletes
Elvera Overdevest1, Jeroen A. Wouters1, Kevin H.M. Wolfs2, Job J.M. van Leeuwen2, Sam Possemiers2, 
Author Information
1 Team NL Innovation Center, Sportcentrum Papendal, Arnhem, The Netherlands
2 BioActor BV, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Sam Possemiers
✉ BioActor BV, Oxfordlaan 70, 6229 EV Maastricht, The Netherlands
Publish Date
Received: 10-07-2017
Accepted: 04-12-2017
Published (online): 01-03-2018
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Previous studies have shown that polyphenol supplementation may be an effective strategy to improve exercise performance, due to their antioxidant character and ability to stimulate NO production. These properties may contribute to exercise performance, yet no conclusive research has been performed in exploring the direct effects of citrus flavonoids on human exercise performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess whether supplementation of a customized citrus flavonoid (CF) extract for 4 weeks improves cycling time-trial performance in trained male athletes. In a double-blind, randomized, parallel study, 39 healthy, trained males were given a daily dose of either 500 mg of a customized citrus flavonoid extract (CF) or a placebo for 4 weeks. Exercise performance was tested by means of a time-trial test on a cycle ergometer, during which participants had to generate as much power as possible for duration of 10 minutes. Absolute power output significantly increased with 14.9 ± 3.9 W after 4 weeks of CF supplementation, corresponding with a 5.0% increase, compared to 3.8 ± 3.2 W (1.3% increase) in placebo (p < 0.05). In addition, oxygen consumption/power ratio significantly decreased in the CF group compared to placebo (p = 0.001), and a trend was found in the change in peak power output in CF (18.2 ± 23.2 W) versus placebo (-28.4 ± 17.6 W; p = 0.116). The current study is the first convincing report that citrus flavonoid supplementation can improve exercise performance, as shown by a significant increase in power output during the exercise test.

Key words: Hesperetin, power output, antioxidant, time trial, ergometer

           Key Points
  • Oxygen-processing capacity of mitochondria in the muscles plays a key role in exercise performance and recovery.
  • In a double-blind, randomized, parallel study with 39 healthy, trained males the effect of 500 mg of a customized citrus flavonoid extract (CF) on exercise performance was assessed.
  • CF intake significantly increased absolute power output with 5% and significantly decreased the oxygen consumption/power ratio, as VO2max remained unchanged.
  • The improved performance therefore may be due to improved respiratory efficiency as a result of CF extract supplementation, however, further mechanistic research is needed to confirm this.
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