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Effects of Soluble Dietary Fibre on Exercise Performance and Perception of Fatigue in Young Basketball Players

Edin Hadžić1orcid tiny, Antonio Starcevic1orcid tiny, Tomislav Rupčić2orcid tiny, Jurica Zucko1orcid tiny, Toni Čvrljak3orcid tiny, Ira Renko1orcid tiny, Damir Knjaz2orcid tiny and Dario Novak2*orcid tiny

1University of Zagreb, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, Pierottijeva 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

2University of Zagreb, Faculty of Kinesiology, Horvaćanski zavoj 15, 10110 Zagreb, Croatia

3University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mining, Geology and Petroleum Engineering, Pierottijeva 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

Article history:

Received: 17 February 2023

Accepted: 21 September 2023

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exercise performance; dietary fibre; rating of perceived exertion (RPE); microbiome; amplicon sequencing

E WEB Goal 03 The content of this publication has not been approved by the United Nations and does not reflect the views of the United Nations or its officials or Member States.


Research background. In this study, we investigated the effects of soluble dietary fibre on improving neuromuscular and cardiovascular endurance and perception of fatigue in a closely monitored group of basketball players. Prebiotics have been sidelined in sports nutrition and their effect on performance remains poorly investigated and understood.

Experimental approach. Eighteen healthy male basketball players were divided into two groups; one received 17 g/day of soluble dietary fibre (Nutriose®) for four weeks and the other group received placebo. Their morphological characteristics, neuromuscular and cardiovascular endurance, and rating of perceived exertion according to the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale were assessed. Measurements were taken before supplementation and after four weeks of supplementation. Faecal samples were collected from all participants immediately before and after the supplementation period, their total DNA extracted and sent for amplicon sequencing.

Results and conclusions. In this study, fibre had no statistically significant effect on the vertical-type explosive power, no statistically significant effect on sprint-type explosive power, nor on aerobic and anaerobic endurance in the experimental group. Soluble fibre had a statistically significant effect on reducing the rating of perceived exertion of basketball players during the competitive part of the season (RPE 7.27±0.04 versus 8.82±0.81). This was confirmed by two-way ANOVA with replication, which showed that within-group interaction (p=0.0193), before and after dietary intake (p=0.0049), and between-group interaction before and after dietary intake (p=0.0313) had a significant effect on the result. The overall conclusion of the study is that soluble dietary fibre supplementation does not improve neuromuscular and cardiovascular endurance over a 4-week period. However, fibre supplementation could have a significant effect on reducing the rating of perceived exertion, as shown by the statistics. Both amplicon sequencing and subsequent bioinformatics results suggest that this could be the result of the beneficial effect on the intestinal microbiota and its metabolites.

Novelty and scientific contribution. This work highlights the importance of prebiotics in sports nutrition. Dietary fibre has been a neglected component of sports nutrition. This study demonstrated a statistically significant positive effect on the perception of fatigue, highlighting the need for further studies in this direction.

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