“I put it in my head that the supplement would help me”: Open-placebo improves exercise performance in female cyclists

Autoři: Bryan Saunders aff001;  Tiemi Saito aff001;  Rafael Klosterhoff aff001;  Luana Farias de Oliveira aff001;  Gabriel Barreto aff001;  Pedro Perim aff001;  Ana Jéssica Pinto aff001;  Fernanda Lima aff001;  Ana Lucia de Sá Pinto aff001;  Bruno Gualano aff001
Působiště autorů: Applied Physiology and Nutrition Research Group, School of Physical Education and Sport, Rheumatology Division, Faculdade de Medicina FMUSP, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil aff001;  Institute of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Faculty of Medicine FMUSP, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil aff002;  Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil aff003;  Laboratory of Assessment and Conditioning in Rheumatology (LACRE), Rheumatology Division, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222982


This study investigated the effect of open-placebo on cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Twenty-eight trained female cyclists completed a 1-km cycling TT following a control session or an open-placebo intervention. The intervention consisted of an individual presentation, provided by a medic, in which the concept of open-placebo was explained to the participant, before she ingested two red and white capsules containing flour; 15 min later, they performed the TT. In the control session, the participant sat quietly for 20 min. Heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were monitored throughout exercise, while blood lactate was determined pre- and post-exercise. Post-exercise questionnaires were employed to gain insight into the perceived influence of the supplement on performance. Open-placebo improved time-to-completion (P = 0.039, 103.6±5.0 vs. 104.4±5.1 s, -0.7±1.8 s, -0.7±1.7%) and mean power output (P = 0.01, 244.8±34.7 vs. 239.7±33.2, +5.1±9.5 W) during the TT. Individual data analysis showed that 11 individuals improved, 13 remained unchanged and 4 worsened their performance with open-placebo. Heart rate, RPE and blood lactate were not different between sessions (all P>0.05). Positive expectation did not appear necessary to induce performance improvements, suggesting unconscious processes occurred, although a lack of an improvement appeared to be associated with a lack of belief. Open-placebo improved 1-km cycling TT performance in trained female cyclists. Although the intervention was successful for some individuals, individual variation was high, and some athletes did not respond or even performed worse. Thus, open-placebo interventions should be carefully considered by coaches and practitioners, while further studies are warranted.

Klíčová slova:

Blood – Conditioned response – Exercise – Fatigue – Heart rate – Human performance – Sports – Sports and exercise medicine


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