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A Little Pepper-Upper? Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Studies on Capsaicinoids, Capsinoids, and Exercise Performance

Betül Sukan-Karaçağıl, Gamze Akbulut, Yasemin Açar, and Meleknur Demirkoparan

Capsaicinoids and capsinoids are bioactive compounds mostly found in peppers. Although preclinical studies have reported that these compounds can improve exercise performance due to transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1)-mediated thermogenesis, sympathetic modulation, and releasing calcium, it is still unclear how they affect exercise performance in humans as ergogenic supplements. Conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses reporting guide 2020, this systematic review examined the ergogenic effect of capsaicinoids and capsinoids on exercise performance in healthy adults. A total of 19 randomized placebo-controlled trials were included in the study. Studies were accessed by searching five databases (PubMed, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library). The quality of the studies was evaluated using the Cochrane risk-of-bias assessment tool. According to the study results, 10 studies examining the effect of capsaicinoid and capsinoid supplements on exercise performance reported positive effects. Also, the effect of capsaicinoids and capsinoids on exercise performance is more pronounced in resistance training. This difference, which varies according to the type of exercise, may be due to the correlation between capsaicin transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 and insulin-like growth factor-1.

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New Zealand Blackcurrant Increases Postexercise Hypotension Following Sustained Moderate-Intensity Exercise

Yusen Shan and Matthew David Cook

Previous observations demonstrate New Zealand blackcurrant (NZBC) extract to alter cardiovascular responses at rest without prior exercise. However, the prolonged effects of NZBC on blood pressure and heart rate variability following exercise are not known. Participants (n15 [five women], age: 31 ± 9 years, maximal oxygen uptake: 44 ± 9 ml·kg−1·min−1) undertook a control condition of 2 hr of lying supine rest. Subsequently, in a double-blind, placebo (PLA)-controlled, randomized crossover design participants completed 1 hr of treadmill exercise at 50% maximal oxygen uptake followed by 2-hr supine rest with blood pressure and heart rate variability measurement following a 7-day intake of NZBC and PLA. With NZBC, there was an increase in average fat oxidation (NZBC: 0.24 ± 0.11 vs. PLA: 0.17 ± 0.11 g/min, p = .005), and larger high-frequency relative power during the exercise (p = .037). In the 2-hr rest period, delta change for systolic pressure was larger with NZBC than PLA (Control vs. NZBC: −5.6 ± 6.4, Control vs. PLA: −3.5 ± 6.0 mmHg, p = .033) but was not different for diastolic or mean arterial pressure. There were no alterations in heart rate variabilities during the 2 hr following the exercise with NZBC. A 7-day intake of NZBC causes a larger postexercise hypotension response in young, physically active men and women following 1 hr of treadmill exercise at 50% maximal oxygen uptake.

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Volume 33 (2023): Issue 4 (Jul 2023)

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Amino Acid-Based Beverage Interventions Ameliorate Exercise-Induced Gastrointestinal Syndrome in Response to Exertional-Heat Stress: The Heat Exertion Amino Acid Technology (HEAAT) Study

Ricardo J.S. Costa, Kayla Henningsen, Stephanie K. Gaskell, Rebekah Alcock, Alice Mika, Christopher Rauch, Samuel N. Cheuvront, Phil Blazy, and Robert Kenefick

The study aimed to determine the effects of two differing amino acid beverage interventions on biomarkers of intestinal epithelial integrity and systemic inflammation in response to an exertional-heat stress challenge. One week after the initial assessment, participants (n = 20) were randomly allocated to complete two exertional-heat stress trials, with at least 1 week washout. Trials included a water control trial (CON), and one of two possible amino acid beverage intervention trials (VS001 or VS006). On VS001 (4.5 g/L) and VS006 (6.4 g/L), participants were asked to consume two 237-ml prefabricated doses daily for 7 days before the exertional-heat stress, and one 237-ml dose immediately before, and every 20 min during 2-hr running at 60% maximal oxygen uptake in 35 °C ambient conditions. A water volume equivalent was provided on CON. Whole blood samples were collected pre-, immediately post-, 1 and 2 hr postexercise, and analyzed for plasma concentrations of cortisol, intestinal fatty acid protein, soluble CD14, and immunoglobulin M (IgM) by ELISA, and systemic inflammatory cytokines by multiplex. Preexercise resting biomarker concentrations for all variables did not significantly differ between trials (p > .05). A lower response magnitude for intestinal fatty acid protein (mean [95% CI]: 249 [60, 437] pg/ml, 900 [464, 1,336] pg/ml), soluble CD14 (−93 [−458, 272] ng/ml, 12 [−174, 197] ng/ml), and IgM (−6.5 [−23.0, 9.9] MMU/ml, −10.4 [−16.2, 4.7] MMU/ml) were observed on VS001 and V006 compared with CON (p < .05), respectively. Systemic inflammatory response profile was lower on VS001, but not VS006, versus CON (p < .05). Total gastrointestinal symptoms did not significantly differ between trials. Amino acid beverages’ consumption (i.e., 4.5–6.4 g/L), twice daily for 7 days, immediately before, and during exertional-heat stress ameliorated intestinal epithelial integrity and systemic inflammatory perturbations associated with exercising in the heat, but without exacerbating gastrointestinal symptoms.

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Characterizing Hydration Practices in Healthy Young Recreationally Active Adults—Is There Utility in First Morning Urine Sampling?

Colleen X. Muñoz and Michael F. Bergeron

First morning urine (FMU) assessment would be a practical and convenient solution for clinically acceptable detection of underhydration prior to competition/training, and for the general public. Thus, we thus sought to determine the diagnostic accuracy of FMU as a valid indicator of recent (previous 24 hr, 5 days average) hydration practices. For 5 consecutive days and one final morning, 67 healthy women (n = 38) and men (n = 29; age: 20 [1] years, body mass index: 25.9 [5.5]) completed 24-hr diet logs for total water intake (from beverages and foods, absolute and relative to body mass), 24-hr urine and FMU collection (last morning only) for osmolality (Osm), specific gravity (SG), and color (Col), and morning blood sampling for plasma osmolality and copeptin. Correlations determined significance and relationship strength among FMU and all other variables. Area under the receiver operating characteristic curves, sensitivity, specificity, and positive likelihood ratios were employed using previously reported values to indicate underhydration (total water intake < 30 ml/kg, osmolality > 500, and >800 mOsm/kg, specific gravity > 1.017, and copeptin > 6.93 pmol/L). FMU_Osm and FMU_SG were significantly correlated (p < .05) to all variables except the previous 5-day plasma osmolality. FMU_Col was only significantly correlated with other color time intervals and total water intake per gram. FMU_Osm held greatest utility (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, sensitivity, and specificity >80%) overall, with the best outcome being FMU_Osm indicating a previous 24-hr osmolality threshold of 500 mOsm/kg (FMU_Osm criterion >710 mOsm/kg and positive likelihood ratio = 5.9). With less effort and cost restriction, FMU is a viable metric to assess underhydration.

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Co-Ingestion of Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Carbohydrate Stimulates Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis Following Resistance Exercise in Trained Young Men

Sarah R. Jackman, Gareth A. Wallis, Jinglei Yu, Andrew Philp, Keith Baar, Kevin D. Tipton, and Oliver C. Witard

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and carbohydrate (CHO) are commonly recommended postexercise supplements. However, no study has examined the interaction of CHO and BCAA ingestion on myofibrillar protein synthesis (MyoPS) rates following exercise. We aimed to determine the response of MyoPS to the co-ingestion of BCAA and CHO following an acute bout of resistance exercise. Ten resistance-trained young men completed two trials in counterbalanced order, ingesting isocaloric drinks containing either 30.6-g CHO plus 5.6-g BCAA (B + C) or 34.7-g CHO alone following a bout of unilateral, leg resistance exercise. MyoPS was measured postexercise with a primed, constant infusion of L-[ring13C6] phenylalanine and collection of muscle biopsies pre- and 4 hr postdrink ingestion. Blood samples were collected at time points before and after drink ingestion. Serum insulin concentrations increased to a similar extent in both trials (p > .05), peaking at 30 min postdrink ingestion. Plasma leucine (514 ± 34 nmol/L), isoleucine (282 ± 23 nmol/L), and valine (687 ± 33 nmol/L) concentrations peaked at 0.5 hr postdrink in B + C and remained elevated for 3 hr during exercise recovery. MyoPS was ∼15% greater (95% confidence interval [−0.002, 0.028], p = .039, Cohen’s d = 0.63) in B + C (0.128%/hr ± 0.011%/hr) than CHO alone (0.115%/hr ± 0.011%/hr) over the 4 hr postexercise period. Co-ingestion of BCAA and CHO augments the acute response of MyoPS to resistance exercise in trained young males.

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Female Athlete Representation and Dietary Control Methods Among Studies Assessing Chronic Carbohydrate Approaches to Support Training

Megan A. Kuikman, Alannah K.A. McKay, Ella S. Smith, Kathryn E. Ackerman, Rachel Harris, Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale, Trent Stellingwerff, and Louise M. Burke

The aim of this audit was to assess the representation of female athletes, dietary control methods, and gold standard female methodology that underpins the current guidelines for chronic carbohydrate (CHO) intake strategies for athlete daily training diets. Using a standardized audit, 281 studies were identified that examined high versus moderate CHO, periodized CHO availability, and/or low CHO, high fat diets. There were 3,735 total participants across these studies with only ∼16% of participants being women. Few studies utilized a design that specifically considered females, with only 16 studies (∼6%) including a female-only cohort and six studies (∼2%) with a sex-based comparison in their statistical procedure, in comparison to the 217 studies (∼77%) including a male-only cohort. Most studies (∼72%) did not provide sufficient information to define the menstrual status of participants, and of the 18 studies that did, optimal methodology for control of ovarian hormones was only noted in one study. While ∼40% of male-only studies provided all food and beverages to participants, only ∼20% of studies with a female-specific design used this approach for dietary control. Most studies did not implement strategies to ensure compliance to dietary interventions and/or control energy intake during dietary interventions. The literature that has contributed to the current guidelines for daily CHO intake is lacking in research that is specific to, or adequately addresses, the female athlete. Redressing this imbalance is of high priority to ensure that the female athlete receives evidence-based recommendations that consider her specific needs.

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Protocol Standardization May Improve Precision Error of InBody 720 Body Composition Analysis

Tia Herberts, Gary J. Slater, Ava Farley, Luke Hogarth, Jose L. Areta, Gøran Paulsen, and Ina Garthe

Background: Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) is a popular technique which can be used to track longitudinal changes in body composition. However, precision of the technique has been questioned, especially among athletic populations where small but meaningful changes are often observed. Guidelines exist which attempt to optimize precision of the technique but fail to account for potentially important variables. Standardization of dietary intake and physical activity in the 24 hr prior to assessment has been proposed as an approach to minimizing the error of impedance-derived estimates of body composition. Methods: Eighteen recreational athletes, male (n = 10) and female (n = 8), underwent two consecutive BIA tests to quantify within-day error, and a third test (the day before or after) to quantify between-day error. All food and fluid intake plus physical activity from the 24 hr prior to the first BIA scan was replicated during the following 24 hr. Precision error was calculated as the root mean square standard deviation, percentage coefficient of variation, and least significant change. Results: There were no significant differences in precision error of within- and between-day fat-free mass, fat mass, and total body water. Differences in precision error of fat-free mass and total body water, but not fat mass, were less than the smallest effect size of interest. Conclusion: The 24-hr standardization of dietary intake and physical activity may be an effective approach to minimizing precision error associated with BIA. However, further research to confirm the validity of this protocol compared to nonstandardized or randomized intake is warranted.

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Volume 33 (2023): Issue 3 (May 2023)

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Acute Ketone Monoester Supplementation Impairs 20-min Time-Trial Performance in Trained Cyclists: A Randomized, Crossover Trial

Devin G. McCarthy, Jack Bone, Matthew Fong, Phillippe J.M. Pinckaers, William Bostad, Douglas L. Richards, Luc J.C. van Loon, and Martin J. Gibala

Acute ketone monoester (KE) supplementation can alter exercise responses, but the performance effect is unclear. The limited and equivocal data to date are likely related to factors including the KE dose, test conditions, and caliber of athletes studied. We tested the hypothesis that mean power output during a 20-min cycling time trial (TT) would be different after KE ingestion compared to a placebo (PL). A sample size of 22 was estimated to provide 80% power to detect an effect size d z of 0.63 at an alpha level of .05 with a two-tailed paired t test. This determination considered 2.0% as the minimal important difference in performance. Twenty-three trained cyclists (N = 23; peak oxygen uptake: 65 ± 12 ml·kg−1 min−1; M ± SD), who were regularly cycling >5 hr/week, completed a familiarization trial followed by two experimental trials. Participants self-selected and replicated their diet and exercise for ∼24 hr before each trial. Participants ingested either 0.35 g/kg body mass of (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate KE or a flavor-matched PL 30 min before exercise in a randomized, triple-blind, crossover manner. Exercise involved a 15-min warm-up followed by the 20-min TT on a cycle ergometer. The only feedback provided was time elapsed. Preexercise venous [β-hydroxybutyrate] was higher after KE versus PL (2.0 ± 0.6 vs. 0.2 ± 0.1 mM, p < .0001). Mean TT power output was 2.4% (0.6% to 4.1%; mean [95% confidence interval]) lower after KE versus PL (255 ± 54 vs. 261 ± 54 W, p < .01; d z  = 0.60). The mechanistic basis for the impaired TT performance after KE ingestion under the present study conditions remains to be determined.