Infrared low-level laser therapy (photobiomodulation therapy) before intense progressive running test of high-level soccer players: effects on functional, muscle damage, inflammatory, and oxidative stress markers – a randomized controlled trial.

two soccer players can be seen competing for the ball during a match

Shaiane Silva Tomazoni, Caroline dos Santos Monteiro Machado, Thiago De Marchi, Heliodora Leão Casalechi, Jan Magnus Bjordal, Paulo de Tarso Camillo de Carvalho, and Ernesto Cesar Pinto Leal-Junior

Abstract: The effects of preexercise photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) to enhance performance, accelerate recovery, and attenuate exercise-induced oxidative stress were still not fully investigated, especially in high-level athletes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of PBMT (using infrared low-level laser therapy) applied before a progressive running test on functional aspects, muscle damage, and inflammatory and oxidative stress markers in high-level soccer players. A randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial was performed. Twenty-two high-level male soccer players from the same team were recruited and treated with active PBMT and placebo. The order of interventions was randomized. Immediately after the application of active PBMT or placebo, the volunteers performed a standardized high-intensity progressive running test (ergospirometry test) until exhaustion. We analyzed rates of oxygen uptake (VO2 max), time until exhaustion, and aerobic and anaerobic threshold during the intense progressive running test. Creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities, levels of interleukin-1β (IL-1-β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), levels of thiobarbituric acid (TBARS) and carbonylated proteins, and catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities were measured before and five minutes after the end of the test.

Key points:

  • PBMT increased the VO2 max (both relative and absolute values— and , respectively), time until exhaustion (), time () and volume () in which anaerobic threshold happened, and volume in which aerobic threshold happened ().
  • Moreover, PBMT decreased CK () and LDH () activities.
  • Regarding the cytokines, PBMT decreased only IL-6 ().
  • Finally, PBMT decreased TBARS () and carbonylated protein levels () and increased SOD ()and CAT () activities.
  • The findings of this study demonstrate that preexercise PBMT acts on different functional aspects and biochemical markers.
  • Moreover, preexercise PBMT seems to play an important antioxidant effect, decreasing exercise-induced oxidative stress and consequently enhancing athletic performance and improving postexercise recovery. This trial is registered with NCT03803956.

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