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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Nov;31(11):1587-93.

Muscle glycogen degradation during simulation of a fatiguing soccer match in elite soccer players examined noninvasively by 13C-MRS.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University Autonoma of Barcelona, Spain.



The purpose of this research project was to noninvasively determine individual muscle glycogen [Gly] degradation during a test intended to predict individual fatigue in intense soccer matches.


The [Gly] of the calf muscles of 17 elite soccer players [age = 17.4 +/- 0.8 (SD)] were measured with 13C-MRS before and after an alternating velocity test to exhaustion. Blood samples were taken before and 3 min after the test for determination of blood metabolites.


Average muscle [Gly] was 135 +/- 53 mmol x (kg wet weight)(-1) before and 87 +/- 27 mmol x (kg wet weight)(-1) (P < 0.001) after exhaustion (42 +/- 25 min). There was a high correlation (r = 0.87, P < 0.0001) between muscle [Gly] at rest and net muscle [Gly] utilized. There was also a more moderate correlation (r = 0.62, P < 0.01) between net muscle [Gly] used and time to exhaustion during the soccer-specific test. There was some evidence of correlation (r = 0.42, P = 0.09) between resting [Gly] and time to exhaustion. Plasma lactate increased (P < 0.001) from 0.8 +/- 0.4 before the test to 2.5 +/- 1.0 mmol x L(-1) at exhaustion, whereas ammonia was raised (P < 0.0001) from 44.1 +/- 10.3 to 89.7 +/- 14.9 micromol x L(-1). Similarly, plasma free fatty acids were elevated (P < 0.0001) from 148 +/- 106 to 797 +/- 401 micromol x L(-1), and glycerol was increased (P < 0.0001) from 48.3 +/- 17.7 to 182.2 +/- 61.8 micromol x L(-1). Insulin levels (11.9 +/- 3.7 vs 11.7 +/- 4.8 microU x mL(-1)) remained the same. Creatine kinase levels increased (P < 0.0001) from 486 +/- 501 to 640 +/- 548 micromol x L(-1) after the test.


We conclude that exhaustion during soccer-specific performance is related to the capacity to utilize muscle [Gly]. The results underline the importance of dietary counseling (glycogen loading and resynthesis strategies) and proper training to enhance the glycogen levels and glycogenolytic capacity of the players.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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