Sweet cassava tubers (a root crop with white meat and covered with hardened skin) have abundant carbohydrates consisting of monosaccharides and polysaccharides. In addition, polysaccharides extracted from plants improve sports performance, according to recent studies. A study examined whether the administration of sweet cassava polysaccharides (SCPs) benefited endurance performance in rats.

Rats were fed with ExSCP dose of 500 mg/kg body weight by gastric intubation and glycogen content was determined in their gastrocnemius and soleus muscles (during endurance running).

The running time to exhaustion of the ExSCP group was significantly longer than that of the Ex group by 49% (64 vs. 43 min). After running to exhaustion, it was seen that although the glycogen content in the soleus and gastrocnemius muscles of the Ex and ExSCP groups was lower compared to the C group, values in the ExSCP group were significantly higher than in the Ex group. In addition, blood glucose and free fatty acid (FFA) levels were significantly higher in the ExSCP than in the Ex group.

SCP supplementation can prolong exercise endurance in rats. Higher muscle glycogen levels and stable glucose and FFA concentrations in the circulation contributed to the prolonged time to exhaustion.

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:18 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-18
Published: 28 March 2013