Saturday, February 28, 2009

Effect of Betaine Supplementation on Power Performance and Fatigue

Effect of Betaine Supplementation on Power Performance and Fatigue
Jay R Hoffman , Nicholas A Ratamess , Jie Kang , Stefanie L Rashti and Avery D Faigenbaum
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2009, 6:7doi:10.1186/1550-2783-6-7
27 February 2009
Abstract (provisional)
The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of 15 days of betaine supplementation on muscle endurance, power performance and rate of fatigue in active college-aged men. Methods: Twenty-four male subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The first group (BET; 20.4 +/- 1.3 years; height: 176.8 +/- 6.6 cm; body mass: 77.8 +/- 13.4 kg) consumed the supplement daily, and the second group (PL; 21.4 +/- 4.7 years; height: 181.3 +/- 5.9 cm; body mass: 83.3 +/- 5.2 kg) consumed a placebo. Subjects were tested prior to the onset of supplementation (T1) and 7 (T2) and 14 days (T3) following supplementation. Each testing period occurred over a 2-day period. During day one of testing subjects performed a vertical jump power (VJP) and a bench press throw (BPT) power test. In addition, subjects were required to perform as many repetitions as possible with 75% of their 1-RM in both the squat and bench press exercises. Both peak and mean power was assessed on each repetition. On day two of testing subjects performed two 30-sec Wingate anaerobic power tests (WAnT), each test separated by a 5-min active rest. Results: No differences were seen at T2 or T3 in the repetitions performed to exhaustion or in the number of repetitions performed at 90% of both peak and mean power between the groups in the bench press exercise. The number of repetitions performed in the squat exercise for BET was significantly greater (p < 0.05) than that seen for PL at T2. The number of repetitions performed at 90% or greater of peak power in the squat exercise was significantly greater for BET at both T2 and T3 than PL. No differences in any power assessment (VJP, BPT, WAnT) was seen between the groups Conclusion: Two-weeks of betaine supplementation in active, college males appeared to improve muscle endurance of the squat exercise, and increase the quality of repetitions performed.

Running Economy

Running Economy--Sports Med 2004; 34 (7): 465-485

Abstract Running economy (RE) is typically defined as the energy demand for a given velocity of submaximal running, and is determined by measuring the steady-state consumption of oxygen (V˙ O2) and the respiratory exchange ratio. Taking body mass (BM) into consideration, runners with good RE use less energy and therefore less oxygen than runners with poor RE at the same velocity. There is a strong association between RE and distance running performance, with RE being a better
predictor of performance than maximal oxygen uptake (V˙ O2max) in elite runners who have a similar V˙ O2max. RE is traditionally measured by running on a treadmill in standard laboratory conditions, and, although this is not the same as overground running, it gives a good indication of how economical a runner is and how RE changes over time. In order to determine whether changes in RE are real or not, careful standardisation
of footwear, time of test and nutritional status are required to limit typical error of measurement. Under controlled conditions, RE is a stable test capable of detecting relatively small changes elicited by training or other interventions. When tracking RE between or within groups it is important to account for BM. As V˙ O2 during submaximal exercise does not, in general, increase linearly with BM, reporting RE with respect to the 0.75 power of BM has been recommended. A number of physiological and biomechanical factors appear to influence RE in highly trained or elite runners. These include metabolic adaptations within the muscle such as increased mitochondria and oxidative enzymes, the ability of the
muscles to store and release elastic energy by increasing the stiffness of the muscles, and more efficient mechanics leading to less energy wasted on braking forces and excessive vertical oscillation. Interventions to improve RE are constantly sought after by athletes, coaches
and sport scientists. Two interventions that have received recent widespread attention are strength training and altitude training. Strength training allows the muscles to utilise more elastic energy and reduce the amount of energy wasted in braking forces. Altitude exposure enhances discrete metabolic aspects of skeletal muscle, which facilitate more efficient use of oxygen. The importance of RE to successful distance running is well established, and future research should focus on identifying methods to improve RE. Interventions that are easily incorporated into an athlete’s training are desirable.

The Berrones Analysis: Given an elite group of runners, you will not find a huge variation among individuals VO2Max. Understanding this, however, encourages the coach/athlete to look at other ways to improve race performance. Running economy, probably the most important component of competitive racing, can be dramatically improved by reducing the weight on the lower extremity. Light shoes, for example, are better at increasing economy than heavy shoes are. However, to the chagrin of many competitors and fans worldwide, I submit to you an alternative that is free, fun, and fantastically natural: running barefoot. Going barefoot can reduce up to 4% of the O2 demands for a marathon; however, adapting to the natural surfaces does take time and is surely not for everyone. The solution: incorporate thrice weekly sessions where the athlete runs unshod. Not only will it feel great and bring the fun back into running, but the athlete will improve his or her running economy--an often stubborn component to enhance.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dietary Supplements in Teens

Are supplements bad for teenagers? Do we need to be concerned about what they are picking up on the shelves and ingesting in an effort to look and/or feel better? According to a recent study, that answer is YES! Wow, I'm amazed I survived my teenage years.

Yesterday a colleague sent me this article abstract:

A Content Analysis of the Quantity and Accuracy of Dietary Supplement Information Found in Magazines with high Adolescent Readership (published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine).

Here's the lowdown - more adult magazines then teen magazines contain dietary supplement information (advertisements, editorials etc.) and of the 88 claims evaluated, 55% were found to be unsubstantiated, 15% accurate, 23% inconclusive, 3% inaccurate, 5% partially accurate. They concluded that teen magazines had few references to dietary supplements but we need to be concerned about adult magazines with high teen readership. These could indeed increase the potential for "unexpected effects or possible harm."

Back when I was in High School I remember going to a local vitamin store and buying l-carnitine. It's amazing I'm still alive and well today isn't it? Sure, other high school students were drinking and driving, driving (even sober that could be a scary thing), smoking or dipping, smoking weed and having unprotected sex. From this article though, it appears I may have been the most at risk for "possible harm" for wanting to burn a little body fat.

This article caught my attention for several reasons. One, like I said, I took dietary supplements as a teenager. If they had Red Bull at that time you better believe I would have stashed that in my locker and consumed it in between classes just to stay awake. Secondly, all dietary supplements have directions on them. Are teenagers exempt from having to read the instructions and take a product as directed? Third, what harm are they talking about? Having worked at CDC for years, I've seen the statistics on teen suicides, STDs, drug use, alcohol use etc. Are dietary supplements really something we need to be concerned about? Show me the evidence and then let's put it in perspective. Sure a little excess vitamin C may give a person the runs but a little weed may send them to a detention center for kids. There are numerous dietary supplements on the market, grouping them into one category and indicating they could cause harm is indeed way off base.

As a high school kid I can tell you I would have been thrilled if the worst thing my fellow athletes did was take dietary supplements. Instead, I had a shortstop who couldn't play one game because she was suspended for coming to school drunk and another upperclassman who went to bat complaining that she may have morning sickness. There's a reason my coach turned to me once during batting practice, shook his head and said "you better strike a lot of batters out this year." And it wasn't because my teammates were harmed from taking dietary supplements.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Piracetam. An overview of its pharmacological properties and a review of its therapeutic use in senile cognitive disorders.

Vernon MW, Sorkin EM.

Adis International Drug Information Services, Auckland, New Zealand.

Piracetam is the first of the so-called 'nootropic' drugs, a unique class of drugs which affect mental function. In animal models and in healthy volunteers, the drug improves the efficiency of the higher telencephalic functions of the brain involved in cognitive processes such as learning and memory. The pharmacology of piracetam is unusual because it protects against various physical and chemical insults applied to the brain. It facilitates learning and memory in healthy animals and in animals whose brain function has been compromised, and it enhances interhemispheric transfer of information via callosal transmission. At the same time, even in relatively high dosages it is devoid of any sedative, analeptic or autonomic activities. How piracetam exerts its effects on memory disorders is still under investigation, although among other proposed mechanisms of action it is thought to facilitate central nervous system efficiency of cholinergic neurotransmission. Results from trials involving elderly patients with senile cognitive disorders have been equivocal, as have the results obtained when piracetam has been combined with acetylcholine precursors. Piracetam seems to be almost completely devoid of adverse effects, and is extremely well tolerated. In conclusion, opinion is divided as to the benefits of piracetam in the treatment of senile cognitive decline. Although double-blind studies in the elderly have produced mixed results, some such trials (particularly those involving larger numbers of patients) have reported favourable findings, thus offering some reason for cautious optimism in a notoriously difficult area of therapeutics. However, further investigations of piracetam alone and in combination therapy are required before any absolute conclusions can be drawn.

>>> I've been taking piracetam for some time now just before my workouts. I take it along with acetyl-L-Carnitine and Choline Citrate, and together they work synergystically to increase cognitive function. I have noticed a huge difference in terms of mental fatigue, as I often get tired mentally way before my body gets tired. There is an entire family of racetams, and I'm still doing research to determine which is the most effective. But because piracetam is the most common and available, I'll stick to it for now. Other things I am currently trying to find more info about are alpha-GPC and phosphatidyl serine. The entire idea of neural enhancement fascinates me.

POSTED BY: Kevin L Jones

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind tria

E Smith , Ashley A Walter , Jennifer L Graef , Kristina L Kendall , Jordan R Moon , Christopher M Lockwood , David H Fakuda , Travis W Beck , Joel T Cramer and Jeffrey R Stout
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2009, 6:5doi:10.1186/1550-2783-6-5
Published: 11 February 2009
Abstract: Intermittent bouts of high-intensity exercise result in diminished stores of energy substrates, followed by an accumulation of metabolites, promoting chronic physiological adaptations. In addition, -alanine has been accepted has an effective physiological hydrogen ion (H+) buffer. Concurrent high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and -alanine supplementation may result in greater adaptations than HIIT alone. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of combining -alanine supplementation with high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on endurance performance and aerobic metabolism in recreationally active college-aged men. Methods. Forty-six men (Age: 22.2 ± 2.7 yrs; Ht: 178.1 ± 7.4 cm; Wt: 78.7 ± 11.9; VO2peak: 3.3 ± 0.59 l·min-1) were assessed for peak O2 utilization (VO2peak), time to fatigue (VO2TTE), ventilatory threshold (VT), and total work done at 110% of pre-training VO2peak (TWD). In a double-blind fashion, all subjects were randomly assigned into one either a placebo (PL – 16.5g dextrose powder per packet; n=18) or -alanine (BA – 1.5 g -alanine plus 15 g dextrose powder per packet; n=18) group. All subjects supplemented four times per day (total of 6g/day) for the first 21-days, followed by two times per day (3g/day) for the subsequent 21 days, and engaged in a total of six weeks of HIIT training consisting of 5-6 bouts of a 2:1 minute cycling work to rest ratio. Results. Significant improvements in VO2peak, VO2TTE, and TWD after three weeks of training were displayed (p<0.05). Increases in VO2peak, VO2TTE, TWD and lean body mass were only significant for the BA group after the second three weeks of training. Conclusions. The use of HIIT to induce significant aerobic improvements is effective and efficient. Chronic BA supplementation may further enhance HIIT, improving endurance performance and lean body mass.
Discussion: -alanine supplementation appeared to have a greater influence on VO2peak and VO2TTE, resulting in a significant (p<0.05) increase during the second three weeks of training, while no change occurred in placebo group. In addition, TWD significantly (p<0.05) increased during the last three weeks by 32% and 18% for the -alanine and Placebo groups, respectively. Improvements in VT were also reported for both training groups, however the placebo group demonstrated significant improvements during the last three week training phase (Table 1). Lastly, the present study also identified a significant change in lean body mass for the -alanine supplementing group after three weeks, with no change in the placebo group.
My Take on it.I would like to see the study repeated on trained subjects to see if that affects the results. Additionally I would like to see the training intensities and volumes to be equal between groups. Although not statistically significant, it was stated that the BA group trained consistently at higher workloads and durations than the placebo groups and this could certainly effect body composition as well as other physiological responses.Nevertheless, I shall be trying this supplement on myself and then may suggest it to my clients!

Fat Intake and Injury in Female Runners

A study with 90 female runners was performed to access the relationship between energy intake, energy availability, dietary fat and lower extremity injuries. The runners were 18-53 years old and most of the subjects were competitive at least at the local level. All runners run more than 20 miles a week. All subjects filled out several questionnaires, the Nutritionist FFG which quantifies frequency of caloric intake on 114 food items, the Eating Attitude Test which measures abnormal attitudes towards food and the Minnesota Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire to assess caloric expenditure. Over a one year period relationship between injuries and different diets was assessed.

Of the 90 females participating in the study, 47 reported an injury during the one year follow up period. The injured females did not have a significant lower percentage intake of carbohydrate, protein, fiber, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper and B-Vitamins. The only component which was significantly lower in the injured females versus the non injured females was the fat intake and fat soluble vitamins A, E and K. Vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting and bone mineralization. Low vitamin K-levels have been linked to decreased bone mineral density and therefore contribute also to injuries.

Energy availability and energy balance approached significance values but did not reach significance. Injured runners had lower values than the non injured runners. If fat intake was lower than 30% of the caloric intake, the risk of developing an injury was 2.5 times higher than if the total caloric intake included more than 30%fat.

These findings were surprising for my self. I am a very competitive runner who runs for Florida Atlantic University. I have seen many girls being injured and the first thing we always spoke about was “general low food intake”. No one has mentioned fat intake to be one of the key issues. I know in general that most of the girls start with watching their fat intake when they start to reduce their caloric intake. It is important to teach female runners/athletes about the importance of fat and caloric intake. I would also recommend clarifying the differences of “good” and “bad” fat. Omega 3 fatty acids for example prevent inflammation and enhance recovery and should be added regularly to their diet and definitely not reduced.

Since general caloric intake was also lower in injured females but didn’t reach significance, further research should be done in order to get a deeper understanding of the causes of injuries in female runners and athletes.

Creatine Ethyl Ester is not superior to Creatine Monohydrate

In a study out of Darryn Willoughby's lab, they compared CEE vs cretine moonhydrate. The data speaks for itself.

This study examined how a seven-week supplementation regimen combined with resistance training affected body composition, muscle mass, muscle strength and power, serum and muscle creatine levels, and serum creatinine levels in 30 non-resistance-trained males. In a double-blind manner, participants were randomly assigned to a maltodextrose placebo (PLA), creatine monohydrate (CRT), or creatine ethyl ester (CEE) group. The supplements were orally ingested at a dose of 0.30 g/kg fat-free body mass (approximately 20 g/day) for five days followed by ingestion at 0.075 g/kg fat free mass (approximately 5 g/day) for 42 days. Results showed significantly higher serum creatine concentrations in PLA (p = 0.007) and CRT (p = 0.005) compared to CEE. Serum creatinine was greater in CEE compared to the PLA (p = 0.001) and CRT (p = 0.001) and increased at days 6, 27, and 48. Total muscle creatine content was significantly higher in CRT (p = 0.026) and CEE (p = 0.041) compared to PLA, with no differences between CRT and CEE. Significant changes over time were observed for body composition, body water, muscle strength and power variables, but no significant differences were observed between groups. In conclusion, when compared to creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester was not as effective at increasing serum and muscle creatine levels or in improving body composition, muscle mass, strength, and power. Therefore, the improvements in these variables can most likely be attributed to the training protocol itself, rather than the supplementation regimen.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

High School Kids Suspended for POSSESSION of Creatine

Comment: Yes, there are complete idiots out there. Nothing really left to say about this doozy.
Published: Friday, February 13, 2009

By William k. Alcorn

STRUTHERS — Lennard Burke Jr., a sophomore at Struthers High School, was still waiting Thursday for the results of his appeal of a 10-day suspension for possessing a muscle-building supplement containing creatine in school.

The 15-year-old’s appeal Wednesday before Schools Superintendent Robert Rostan lasted about five minutes, during which time he and his father, Lennard Sr., presented his case.

Burke Sr. said Rostan did not make an immediate decision and said he would mail his decision to the family.

Burke Jr. was suspended beginning Feb. 4, and could be expelled from school, for possession of the supplement that his father says is neither a prescription nor an over-the-counter medicine.

“We don’t have a problem with the school setting policy. We just don’t think creatine was a banned substance when my son was suspended,” Burke Sr. said.

Burke Sr. said that if the suspension escalates into expulsion he would also appeal that decision.

In a related matter, Burke Sr. said he and his wife, Gina, plan to pursue complaints filed with the Ohio Department of Education against Joseph Fuline, associate high school principal, and Mary Ann Meadows, high school principal.

Burke said the complaints are the result of a confrontation between him and his wife and the school officials the day of Burke Jr.’s suspension. Burke said he does not believe he and his wife were treated professionally.

Burke Sr. said his son is a student-athlete. It’s not all about football and weight lifting. He just wants to get back to school and be a student.