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Chronobiol Int. 2019 May;36(5):698-708. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2019.1592183. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

The effects of Ramadan intermittent fasting on the underlying mechanisms of force production capacity during maximal isometric voluntary contraction.

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a Research Unit: Education, Motricité, Sports et Santé (UR UR15JS01) , High Institute of Sports and Physical Activity of Sfax , Sfax , Tunisia.
b Université Côte d'Azur , LAMHESS , France.
c Institut Supérieur du Sport et de l'éducation physique de Sfax , Université de Sfax , Sfax , Tunisie.
d Activité Physique , Sport et Santé, UR18JS01, Observatoire National du Sport , Tunis , Tunisie.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of Ramadan intermittent fasting (RIF) on the underlying mechanisms of force production capacity during maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) using the superimposed twitch technique. Ten healthy male physical education students performed three MVIC of the knee extensor superimposed with nerve electrical stimulation during four testing phases: one week before Ramadan (BR), at the end of the first week of Ramadan (R-1), during the fourth week of Ramadan (R-4) and two weeks after Ramadan (AR). This study was performed during Ramadan 2016. MVIC values, voluntary activation level (VAL), potentiated resting twitch and electromyography signals were recorded during each MVIC. The French version of the Profile of Mood States questionnaire (POMS-f) was used to evaluate the subjective mood states in each testing session. The results showed that MVIC values (890.57 ± 67.90 vs. 816.46 ± 54.72 N) and VAL (87.73 ± 3.27 vs. 77.32 ± 7.87%) decreased at R-1 compared to BR (p < 0.001). However, the neuromuscular efficiency and the potentiated resting twitch remained unchanged during Ramadan (R). Results showed that depression (p < 0.01; 6.3 ± 1.57 vs. 4.7 ± 1.25), fatigue (p < 0.001; 9.2 ± 1.93 vs. 4.6 ± 2.01) and anxiety (p < 0.001; 6.4 ± 1.51 vs. 11.8 ± 1.23) scores of POMS-f were higher during R-1 compared to BR. In conclusion, RIF-related impairment of maximal muscle force seems to be related to nervous alterations of the VAL, whereas the RIF did not adversely affect peripheral mechanisms. Abbreviations' List: ANOVA: Analysis of variance; AR: After Ramadan; BMI: Body-mass index; BR: Before Ramadan; EMG: Electromyography; ER: End of Ramadan; MF: Mean frequency; Mmax: Peak-to-peak M-wave amplitudes; MVIV: Maximal voluntary isometric contraction; NES: Nerve electrical stimulation; NME: Neuromuscular efficiency; POMS-f: French version of the Profile of Mood States questionnaire; R: Ramadan; R-1: First week of Ramadan; R-4: Fourth week of Ramadan; RF: Rectus femoris; RIF: Ramadan intermittent fasting; RMS: Root mean square; VAL: Voluntary activation level; VL: Vastus lateralis; VM: Vastus medialis.


Chronobiology; fasting; mood; neuromuscular performance; voluntary activation

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