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Study Finds Supplement May Help Reduce Inflammation

Soccer players experience physical stress due to continuously performing high intensity eccentric actions such as direction changes, accelerations, and decelerations. This physical stress often results in an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines and white blood cells. A new study suggests that supplementation with betaine may help prevent these increases in soccer players.

Twenty-nine soccer players with an average age of 15.5 participated in the study. They received 2 grams of betaine or a placebo daily for 14 weeks. The researchers measured levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and white blood cells at baseline, 7 weeks, and the end of the study period.

Levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were 24-40% lower in the betaine group at week 7 and at the end of the study period compared to a 6.8-26% increase in the placebo group. The greatest difference was seen in the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukins-1 beta, which decreased by 40% in the betaine group and increased by 26% in the placebo group.

In addition, participants in the placebo group saw a significant increase in white blood cells at the end of the study period, compared to no increase in the placebo group.

Betaine is a nutrient found in many foods including sugar beets, wheat bran, wheat germ, spinach, and shrimp. It plays a role in numerous processes in the human body important to maintain good health, including helping to support a healthy inflammation response.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Isfahan. It was published online ahead of print on June 5, 2021 in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
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