Long-term citrus flavanone supplements may improve physical performance: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© BartekSzewczyk / Getty Images
© BartekSzewczyk / Getty Images

Related tags flavanones hesperidin Sports nutrition Physical performance Citrus

Chronic consumption of a 2S-hesperidin-rich orange extract may boost functional threshold power in amateur cyclists by about 3%, says a new study from Spain.

Eight weeks of supplementation with the branded extract from sweet orange (Citrus sinensis​) called Cardiose also led to increases in submaximal and maximal intensity exercise performance, according to findings published in Nutrients​.

“These findings support the use of 2S-hesperidin as a natural new ergogenic aid, which can help cyclists improve both their aerobic performance,” ​wrote the researchers, led by Francisco Javier Martínez-Noguera from the Catholic University of Murcia.


Cardiose is a natural orange extract, produced by HTBA (HealthTech BioActives), based in Murcia, Spain, that is manufactured to maintain the natural hesperidin isomeric form (NLT 85% 2S-Hesperidin) as it is found in oranges.

The ingredient is already present in the US market, Juan Cacho, PhD, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs for HealthTech Bio Actives, S.L.U., told NutraIngredients-USA. “Some major companies have already shown their interest in incorporating this ingredient into their products. Relevant launches are expected in the coming months, both for the US market and worldwide,” ​he added.

“We hope that consumers will be able to find a wide range of Cardiose containing products on their shop shelves soon.”

The US FDA issued a No Objection letter to Cardiose’s GRAS​ (Generally Recognized as Safe) status for several food categories in 2019.

HTBA was acquired from Barcelona-based pharmaceutical company Ferrer by private equity firm The Riverside Company at the end of 2019.

In previous studies​, the ingredient was shown to improve sports performance, mainly its anaerobic component, such as average power output, maximum speed, and total energy. These changes were related to an improvement in oxidative status and antioxidant defenses, as well as a modulation of the energy metabolism.

Study details

The new study investigated the effects of eight weeks of supplementation with Cardiose at a daily dose of 500 mg on performance in both anaerobic and aerobic workouts.

Forty healthy cyclists were included in the parallel, randomized, double-blind design trial, and divided into two equal groups: One group received Cardiose and the other received a microcellulose placebo.

The results showed that the group receiving Cardiose showed significant increases in power output at VO2max and the estimated functional threshold power (FTP), both parameters being indicative of a better aerobic performance.

Also, the researchers reported significant increases in peak power during the Wingate test were found, indicating improvements in anaerobic performance.

Some of these changes in physical performance were correlated with the excretion levels of Cardiose metabolites in participant’s urine, explained the researchers.

“The dose that the cyclists in our study consumed was equivalent to more than one liter of orange juice, with the high carbohydrate load that it entails,” ​they explained. “The metabolites of hesperidin that appear mainly in the blood are glucuronides (87%) and sulfoglucuronides (13%). These results are very similar to those found in this study.”

The researchers also observed differences between the groups for energy metabolism and the energy substrates used to fuel physical activity, with the Cardiose group maintaining the carbohydrates and fat oxidation levels, while these significantly increased and decreased, respectively, in the placebo group.

“The data found in this research shows how chronic intake of 2S-hesperidin enhances performance in FTP and maximum power. Advances in these areas of intensity are crucial for improving results in cycling competitions.”

Source: Nutrients
2020, 12​(12), 3911; doi: 10.3390/nu12123911
“Effects of 8 Weeks of 2S-Hesperidin Supplementation on Performance in Amateur Cyclists”
Authors: F.J. Martínez-Noguera et al​.

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