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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2018 December;177(12):696-700

DOI: 10.23736/S0393-3660.17.03683-X

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Daily dietary sodium intake in elite and amateur basketball and volleyball athletes

Nikolaos I. KOSTOPOULOS

Department of Physical Education and Sports Science, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens, Greece



BACKGROUND: The performance of elite and amateur basketball and volleyball players depends on a plethora of parameters, one of which is their nutrition and hydration needs. One very crucial aspect of an athlete’s nutrition is the sodium intake consumption, which can be very important both for the overall health and wellbeing of the athletes as well as their performance, especially during their competition period. The aim of the present study was to investigate the daily sodium intake of male Greek elite and amateur basketball and volleyball athletes and the interactive impact of the individual characteristics of the participants and their dietary sodium intake on their performance.
METHODS: The current study was carried out via the utilization of a salt/dietary sodium intake questionnaire by Charlton et al., in combination with a self-reporting questionnaire including the personal characteristics of the athletes including age, fitness and performance level. The scoring system of the basic questionnaire was determined by the Na content of one index food per category and frequency of daily consumption. The questionnaire was completed by male Greek elite and amateur basketball and volleyball players. In addition, we also included a control group of male non-athlete physically active individuals. The statistical analysis of the results was carried out via descriptive statistics as well as one-way ANOVA via the utilization of GraphPad Prizm. The analysis of the data was carried out according to the maximum recommended intake of 6 g salt/day.
RESULTS: The results of the current study indicate that the daily sodium intake is partially related to the athletic level of the athletes. There was no statistically significant difference between the elite and the amateur basketball players. In contrast, there were significant differences between the elite and amateur volleyball players. All the experimental groups of athletes were characterized by significantly reduced sodium intake score compared to the control group, comprised of physically active age-matched and sex-matched individuals, who presented the most increased score for the daily dietary sodium intake.
CONCLUSIONS: The daily sodium intake levels are a crucial aspect of an athlete’s nutritional plan. It is crucial for it to be directly optimized, as it consists a definite contributing factor both to their athletic performance as well as their general health and well-being. The existing studies in the subject do not reach definite conclusions regarding the role of sodium intake consumption both in performance and well-being of the athletes, as well as in health and disease. More research is needed to reach definite conclusions for this subject.


KEY WORDS: Sodium chloride - Recommended dietary allowances - Athletes

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