How Guarana Affects Soccer Player Performance: A Randomized, Cross-over Study

Jenn Hoskins
4th July, 2024

How Guarana Affects Soccer Player Performance: A Randomized, Cross-over Study

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by the Federal University of Paraná examined the effects of guarana on soccer performance
  • Guarana did not significantly improve jumping, sprinting, or agility in young soccer players
  • Guarana enhanced the ability to perform intermittent exercise, allowing players to cover more distance in the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test
Soccer is a physically demanding sport that requires players to perform a variety of high-intensity activities, including sprints, jumps, and changes in direction. Understanding how different substances can affect these physical capacities is crucial for optimizing performance. A recent study conducted by the Federal University of Paraná[1] investigated the acute effects of ingesting a beverage containing guarana (Paullinia cupana) seed powder on performance in field tests related to soccer. The study aimed to determine whether guarana could enhance lower limb power, sprinting ability, agility, and the capacity to perform intermittent exercise. Twenty-seven under-17 soccer players from a professional club participated in this randomized, crossover, and counterbalanced trial. The players ingested either a guarana beverage or a placebo in a double-blind manner. After 60 minutes, they performed a series of tests, including a countermovement jump test, 10 and 20-meter sprints, an Illinois agility test, and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (YYIR1). Trials were separated by a 7-day washout period to ensure no residual effects from the previous trial. The results showed that guarana ingestion did not significantly improve performance in the countermovement jump, sprints, or agility tests (p > 0.05). However, it did enhance performance in the YYIR1, with players covering a greater distance compared to the placebo condition (p = 0.01). This suggests that while guarana may not enhance explosive power or speed, it could improve the ability to perform intermittent exercise, which is a critical component of soccer performance. These findings align with previous research on the physical demands of soccer and the importance of metabolic power and energy expenditure. For instance, a study analyzing professional soccer players found that central midfielders and wide attackers exhibited higher metabolic power and energy expenditure during matches compared to other positions[2]. This indicates that the ability to sustain high-intensity efforts over time is crucial for certain roles on the field. Additionally, another study assessed the energy cost of running with the ball, a common soccer-specific activity, and found it to be higher than normal running[3]. This highlights the importance of intermittent exercise capacity, as players often need to recover quickly between high-intensity efforts. The increased distance covered in the YYIR1 after guarana ingestion could therefore be beneficial for maintaining performance during these demanding phases of play. Recovery is another critical aspect of soccer performance, especially during congested match schedules. Post-match fatigue, influenced by factors such as dehydration, glycogen depletion, and muscle damage, can impair performance and increase injury risk[4]. Efficient recovery strategies are essential, and substances like guarana could potentially play a role in enhancing recovery and sustaining performance during repeated bouts of exercise. In summary, the study by the Federal University of Paraná provides valuable insights into the acute effects of guarana on soccer performance. While guarana did not improve explosive power, sprinting, or agility, it did enhance the capacity to perform intermittent exercise, which is vital for soccer players. These findings, in conjunction with previous research[2][3][4], underscore the complexity of physical demands in soccer and the potential benefits of targeted nutritional interventions to optimize performance and recovery.

MedicineHealthFitness And Diet


Main Study

1) Effects of Acute Ingestion of Guarana (Paullinia Cupana) on Soccer Player Performance: A Randomized, Cross-over, Placebo-Controlled Study.

Published 3rd July, 2024

Related Studies

2) The use of metabolic power to assess physical demands in soccer: how does it differ from the traditional approach through speed running?

3) The Energy Cost of Running with the Ball in Soccer.

4) Recovery in soccer: part I - post-match fatigue and time course of recovery.

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