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Ergogenic effect of pre-exercise chicken broth ingestion on a high-intensity cycling time-trial

Barbaresi, S and Blancquaert, L and Nikolovski, Z and de Jager, S and Wilson, M and Everaert, I and De Baere, S and Croubels, S and De Smet, S and Cable, NT and Derave, W (2021) Ergogenic effect of pre-exercise chicken broth ingestion on a high-intensity cycling time-trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 18. ISSN 1550-2783


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Background: chicken meat extract is a popular functional food in Asia. It is rich in the bioactive compounds carnosine and anserine, two histidine-containing dipeptides (HCD). Studies suggest that acute pre-exercise ingestion of chicken extracts has important applications towards exercise performance and fatigue control, but the evidence is equivocal. This study aimed to evaluate the ergogenic potential of the pre-exercise ingestion of a homemade chicken broth (CB) vs a placebo soup on a short-lasting, high-intensity cycling exercise. Methods: fourteen men participated in this double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover intervention study. Subjects ingested either CB, thereby receiving 46.4 mg/kg body weight of HCD, or a placebo soup (similar in taste without HCD) 40 min before an 8 min cycling time trial (TT) was performed. Venous blood samples were collected at arrival (fasted), before exercise and at 5 min recovery. Plasma HCD were measured with UPLC-MS/MS and glutathione (in red blood cells) was measured through HPLC. Capillary blood samples were collected at different timepoints before and after exercise. Results: a significant improvement (p = 0.033; 5.2%) of the 8 min TT mean power was observed after CB supplementation compared to placebo. Post-exercise plasma carnosine (p < 0.05) and anserine (p < 0.001) was significantly increased after CB supplementation and not following placebo. No significant effect of CB supplementation was observed either on blood glutathione levels, nor on capillary blood analysis. Conclusions: oral CB supplementation improved the 8 min TT performance albeit it did not affect the acid-base balance or oxidative status parameters. Further research should unravel the potential role and mechanisms of HCD, present in CB, in this ergogenic approach.

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