Meta-analysis of the effect on immune system of carbohydrate supplementation on exercise


  • Grasiely Faccin Borges
  • Ana Maria Teixeira
  • José Pedro Ferreira



The effect of carbohydrate supplementation or dietary modification has been presented as influential in the number of leukocytes in plasma and in some cases in the immune responses associated with exercise, which could reduce the risk of infections. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the effectiveness of the effect of carbohydrate supplementation in the attenuation of leukocytosis, induced after exercise. The selected databases were PubMed, EBSCO, Science Direct and SciELO, the search for the selected period was January 1999 to June 2010. We included 17 studies that showed supplementation with CHO. In the majority, supplementation was done by administering a drink. Supplementation of CHO in the exercise group when compared with control (placebo) had an effect on the total number of leukocytes Z = 4.35, lymphocytes Z = 3.24 and neutrophils Z = 3.30, all statistically significant (p < .05). For the total number of monocytes Z = 2.16 (p > .05) this was not statistically significant. The results of this meta-analysis showed that carbohydrate supplementation on physical exercise could be effective with respect to protection and maintenance of health in the immune system.

Author Biographies

Grasiely Faccin Borges

Ana Maria Teixeira

José Pedro Ferreira



Review Article

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