Effect of glutathione supplementation on swimmers’ performance

Keywords: glutathione, supplements, elite, swimming, performance


Background and Study Aim. Continuously increasing the volume and intensity of the training sessions often leads to overtraining. It has been demonstrated that glutathione supplementation might improve the aerobic metabolism in skeletal muscle and reduce exercise-induced muscle fatigue. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of glutathione supplementation on fatigue, recovery processes, and competitive results of elite swimmers during a six-week training period. Material and Methods. Twenty-four elite swimmers (10 women and 14 men) from the Bulgarian national swimming team, with a mean age of 18.7±3.78 years, took part in this double-blind placebo control study. The swimmers from the experimental group were supplemented once a day with a capsule of 250mg glutathione, whilst the swimmers from the control group took a placebo once a day. The urine concentration levels of cortisol and cortisone, as well as the degree of overtraining, were evaluated on the 1st(T1), 14th(T2), 28th(T3), and 42nd(T4) days. Anthropometric measurements and a nutritional assessment were performed at T1 and T4. Results. The swimmers showed a gradual decrease of cortisol and cortisone during the study, with significantly lower concentrations in the experimental vs the control group at T4 (19.4 vs 42.5 ng/mL, p < 0.05). At the end of the study, the swimmers from the experimental group showed improvements in their time in 41 out of the 43 swimming events, whilst those from the control group had significantly smaller improvements (-1.66 vs -0.97%, p < 0.05). Conclusions. In conclusion, glutathione supplementation at a dose of 250mg/day for six weeks improves the adaptation of elite swimmers towards training schedules, which is likely to lead to better sports results.


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Author Biographies

Lubomir Petrov, National Sports Academy
dr.lubomir.petrov@gmail.com; National Sports Academy; Sofia, Bulgaria.
Albena Alexandrova, National Sports Academy
a_alexandrova_bas@yahoo.com; National Sports Academy; Sofia, Bulgaria.
Mihail Kachaunov, National Sports Academy
mihail.kachaunov@gmail.com; National Sports Academy; Sofia, Bulgaria.
Radoslav Penov, National Sports Academy
fighters.nsa@abv.bg; National Sports Academy; Sofia, Bulgaria.
Tanya Sheytanova, National Sports Academy
tanyasheytanova@mail.bg; National Sports Academy; Sofia, Bulgaria.
Stefan Kolimechkov, STK Sport
dr.stefan.kolimechkov@gmail.com; STK SPORT; London, United Kingdom.


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How to Cite
Petrov L, Alexandrova A, Kachaunov M, Penov R, Sheytanova T, Kolimechkov S. Effect of glutathione supplementation on swimmers’ performance. Pedagogy of Physical Culture and Sports. 2021;25(4):215-24. https://doi.org/10.15561/26649837.2021.0403