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Flavonoid Consumption and Exercise Performance: A Systematic Review

Flavonoids, known for their antioxidant, cardioprotective, and immunomodulatory properties, have potential ergogenic effects on exercise performance. This systematic review examines clinical studies from 2005 to 2020 to evaluate flavonoids' impact on exercise performance and their relationship with immune system changes. Fifty-one studies involving 1288 human subjects met the criteria. The review highlights that 37% of studies reported improved exercise performance with flavonoid supplementation, with anthocyanins showing the highest efficacy at 54%. The connection between performance enhancement and immune system modulation remains unclear, necessitating further research to determine optimal dosages and understand mechanisms.

Study Overview: Fifty-one studies since 2005 were analyzed, involving flavonoid supplementation over at least one week with objective performance measures.

Performance Improvement: 37% of studies reported enhanced exercise performance with flavonoid supplementation. Quercetin (25%) and flavanol-enriched extracts (28%) showed moderate effectiveness, while anthocyanin-enriched extracts (54%) were most effective.

Immune System Impact: Only two studies linking performance improvement to immune markers found reduced inflammatory response with anthocyanins. Other studies showed decreased upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) with flavonoid intake but no performance enhancement.

Future Research: More studies are needed to clarify optimal flavonoid doses, mechanisms of action, and their impact on immune function in athletes.

Conclusion While flavonoid supplementation shows promise for improving exercise performance, especially with anthocyanins, more research is needed to establish definitive guidelines and understand their broader health impacts.