Two weeks of watermelon juice supplementation improves nitric oxide bioavailability but not endurance exercise performance in humans
This study tested the hypothesis that watermelon juice supplementation would improve nitric oxide bioavailability and exercise performance. Eight healthy recreationally-active adult males reported to the laboratory on two occasions for initial testing without dietary supplementation (control condition). Thereafter, participants were randomly assigned, in a cross-over experimental design, to receive 16 days of supplementation with 300 mL·day(-1) of a watermelon juice concentrate, which provided ∼3.4 g l-citrulline·day(-1) and an apple juice concentrate as a placebo. Participants reported to the laboratory on days 14 and 16 of supplementation to assess the effects of the interventions on blood pressure, plasma [l-citrulline], plasma [l-arginine], plasma [nitrite], muscle oxygenation and time-to-exhaustion during severe-intensity exercise. Compared to control and placebo, plasma [l-citrulline] (29 ± 4, 22 ± 6 and 101 ± 23 μM), [l-arginine] (74 ± 9, 67 ± 13 and 116 ± 9 μM) and [nitrite] (102 ± 29, 106 ± 21 and 201 ± 106 nM) were higher after watermelon juice supplementation (P < 0.01). However, systolic blood pressure was higher in the watermelon juice (130 ± 11) and placebo (131 ± 9) conditions compared to the control condition (124 ± 8 mmHg; P < 0.05). The skeletal muscle oxygenation index during moderate-intensity exercise was greater in the watermelon juice condition than the placebo and control conditions (P < 0.05), but time-to-exhaustion during the severe-intensity exercise test (control: 478 ± 80, placebo: 539 ± 108, watermelon juice: 550 ± 143 s) was not significantly different between conditions (P < 0.05). In conclusion, while watermelon juice supplementation increased baseline plasma [nitrite] and improved muscle oxygenation during moderate-intensity exercise, it increased resting blood pressure and did not improve time-to-exhaustion during severe-intensity exercise. These findings do not support the use of watermelon juice supplementation as a nutritional intervention to lower blood pressure or improve endurance exercise performance in healthy adults.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 59, pp. 10 - 20
Place of publication