Formula of two flavonoids found to benefit basketball players

A study using a mangiferin-quercetin combo helped basketball players complete a test circuit faster that mirrored movements in an actual game.

Hank Schultz, Senior Editor

February 8, 2024

4 Min Read

A new study on a mangiferin-quercetin formula indicates it could be helpful for use pre-game in sports that require sudden, explosive movements. 

The new research was published in the journal Nutrients.  It was the work of researchers associated with several universities in Greece. 

There is a wealth of sports nutrition studies done on interventions over a span of time, though many researchers cannot afford studies that extend beyond 12 weeks or so. 

Can a dose before the game begins make a difference? 

The researchers in this study took a different approach. Their aim was to see if the target intervention — a dose of mangiferin combined with quercetin — could make a difference when taken immediately before a competition. 

Mangiferin is an antioxidant ingredient derived from the leaves of the common mango tree (Mangifera indica).  The ingredient has been developed commercially by the Spanish supplier Nektium, which markets it under the Zynamite brand name. Nektium claims the ingredient “crosses the blood brain barrier, modulates neurotransmitter response and increases the long-term memory.” 

In sports applications, the company claims the ingredient “improves sports performance variables, acting as an ergogenic modulator.” 

The researchers selected Zynamite as one of the ingredients in their formula, though they did not report any funding from Nektium. 

The other ingredient in the researchers’ intervention formula — quercetin — has long been studied in sports nutrition applications. Both mangiferin and quercetin are categorized as flavonoids. 

For this portion of the formula, the researchers turned to a commercially available supplement, a Sophora japonica flower extract powder manufactured by Canadian firm Aki Organic. The two ingredients provided 84 milligrams (mg) of mangiferin and 140 mg of quercetin, respectively. 

The goal of the study was to discover if the supplement provided a boost with only one dose before a competition. The researchers used a test that simulated a basketball game, using some of the players’ movements on the court. Called the basketball exercise simulation test (BEST), the test uses an actual basketball court on which the participants run a prescribed course that includes jumping, shuffling and running. The experiment required participants to perform the test quickly 24 times in succession, with 30 seconds rest in between. 

For a study group, the researchers recruited 38 experienced, competitive basketball players who averaged a height of 6 foot 5 inches and weight of 213 pounds. The subjects were divided randomly into supplement and placebo groups. 

After one visit to take baseline physiographic and blood chemistry measurements, and to familiarize themselves with the test procedure, the subjects came back a week later for the actual test.   

Intervention moved needle on some outcomes 

The subjects ingested the supplement or a placebo one hour prior to the test. The principal measurements were the speed at which the subjects completed the circuit, and their perceived rate of exertion.   

“Our results demonstrate statistically significant improvements in the mean circuit time during the BEST and noteworthy reductions in RPE values following a singular dose of mangiferin–quercetin supplementation one hour prior to the test,” the researchers concluded.  

They acknowledged the nature of their test means more work is needed to verify their results. 

Expert: Results are intriguing, but preliminary 

Ralf Jäger, Ph.D., head of the Milwaukee-based contract research organization Increnovo, which has done sports nutrition-focused research, said the findings were interesting, but must still be considered preliminary. 

Jäger noted that the results were somewhat mixed. The intervention helped the subjects complete the overall test circuit faster but didn’t make them sprint faster. It also cut their perceived rate of exertion, but didn’t reduce their feelings of muscle soreness, which is somewhat anomalous, he said. 

“As a flavonoid polyphenol antioxidant with anti-inflammatory capabilities, it would have been expected for the ingredient to improve muscle soreness, as challenging exercise creates muscle damage through oxidative stress and/or inflammation,” Jäger told Natural Products Insider. 

“A basketball exercise simulation is not directly translatable to meaningful physiological benefits, resulting in improved game performance,” he added. “However, in sports, minimal differences can have a huge impact on the outcome of different competitions. Clearly more data is needed to translate the observed differences in real, tangible benefits.” 



About the Author(s)

Hank Schultz

Senior Editor, Informa

Hank Schultz has been the senior editor of Natural Products Insider since early 2023. He can be reached at [email protected]

Prior to joining the Informa team, he was an editor at NutraIngredients-USA, a William Reed Business Media publication.

His approach to industry journalism was formed via a long career in the daily newspaper field. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and German, Hank was an editor at the Tempe Daily News in Arizona. He followed that with a long stint working at the Rocky Mountain News, a now defunct daily newspaper in Denver, where he rose to be one of the city editors. The newspaper won two Pulitzer Prizes during his time there.

The changing landscape of the newspaper industry led him to explore other career paths. He began his career in the natural products industry more than a decade ago at New Hope Natural Media, which was then part of Penton and now is an Informa brand. Hank formed friendships and partnerships within the industry that still inform his work to this day, which helps him to bring an insider’s perspective, tempered with an objective journalist’s sensibility, to his in-depth reporting.

Harkening back to his newspaper days, Hank considers the readers to be the primary stakeholders whose needs must be met. Report the news quickly, comprehensively and above all, fairly, and readership and sponsorships will follow.

In 2015, Hank was recognized by the American Herbal Products Association with a Special Award for Journalistic Excellence.

When he’s not reporting on the supplement industry, Hank enjoys many outside pursuits. Those include long distance bicycle touring, mountain climbing, sailing, kayaking and fishing. Less strenuous pastimes include travel, reading (novels and nonfiction), studying German, noodling on a harmonica, sketching and a daily dose of word puzzles in The New York Times.

Last but far from least, Hank is a lifelong fan and part owner of the Green Bay Packers.

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