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Effect of Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Maximal Intensity Exercise in Trained Young Male Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

George D. Georgiou, Kyriaki Antoniou, Stephanie Antoniou, Eleni Anna Michelekaki, Reza Zare, Ali Ali Redha, Konstantinos Prokopidis, Efstathios Christodoulides, and Tom Clifford

Beta-alanine is a nonessential amino acid that is commonly used to improve exercise performance. It could influence the buffering of hydrogen ions produced during intense exercise and delay fatigue, providing a substrate for increased synthesis of intramuscular carnosine. This systematic review evaluates the effects of beta-alanine supplementation on maximal intensity exercise in trained, young, male individuals. Six databases were searched on August 10, 2023, to identify randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials investigating the effect of chronic beta-alanine supplementation in trained male individuals with an age range of 18–40 years. Studies evaluating exercise performance through maximal or supramaximal intensity efforts falling within the 0.5–10 min duration were included. A total of 18 individual studies were analyzed, employing 18 exercise test protocols and 15 outcome measures in 331 participants. A significant (p = .01) result was observed with an overall effect size of 0.39 (95% confidence interval [CI] [0.09, 0.69]), in favor of beta-alanine supplementation versus placebo. Results indicate significant effects at 4 weeks of supplementation, effect size 0.34 (95% CI [0.02, 0.67], p = .04); 4–10 min of maximal effort, effect size 0.55 (95% CI [0.07, 1.04], p = .03); and a high beta-alanine dosage of 5.6–6.4 g per day, effect size 0.35 (95% CI [0.09, 0.62], p = .009). The results provide insights into which exercise modality will benefit the most, and which dosage protocols and durations stand to provide the greatest ergogenic effects. This may be used to inform further research, and professional or recreational training design, and optimization of supplementation strategies.

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Retraction. Pharmacokinetic Profile of Caffeine and Its Two Main Metabolites in Dried Blood Spots After Five Different Oral Caffeine Administration Forms—A Randomized Crossover Study

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The Anabolic Response to Protein Ingestion During Recovery From Exercise Has No Upper Limit in Magnitude and Duration In Vivo in Humans: A Commentary

Oliver C. Witard and Samuel Mettler

A comprehensive recent study by Trommelen et al. demonstrated that muscle tissue exhibits a greater capacity to incorporate exogenous exogenous protein-derived amino acids into bound muscle protein than was previously appreciated, at least when measured in “anabolically sensitive,” recreationally active (but not resistance-trained), young men following resistance exercise. Moreover, this study demonstrated that the duration of the postprandial period is modulated by the dose of ingested protein contained within a meal, that is, the postexercise muscle protein synthesis response to protein ingestion was more prolonged in 100PRO than 25PRO. Both observations represent important scientific advances in the field of protein metabolism. However, we respectfully caution that the practical implications of these findings may have been misinterpreted, at least in terms of dismissing the concept of protein meal distribution as an important factor in optimizing muscle tissue anabolism and/or metabolic health. Moreover, based on emerging evidence, this idea that the anabolic response to protein ingestion has no upper limit does not appear to translate to resistance-trained young women.

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Protein Intake Distribution: Beneficial, Detrimental, or Inconsequential for Muscle Anabolism? Response to Witard & Mettler

Jorn Trommelen, Andrew M. Holwerda, and Luc J.C. van Loon

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Volume 34 (2024): Issue 4 (Jul 2024)

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An Opinion on the Interpretation of Bone Turnover Markers Following Acute Exercise or Nutrition Intervention and Considerations for Applied Research

Mark J. Hutson and Ian Varley

It is important for athlete and public health that we continue to develop our understanding of the effects of exercise and nutrition on bone health. Bone turnover markers (BTMs) offer an opportunity to accelerate the progression of bone research by revealing a bone response to exercise and nutrition stimuli far more rapidly than current bone imaging techniques. However, the association between short-term change in the concentration of BTMs and long-term bone health remains ambiguous. Several other limitations also complicate the translation of acute BTM data to applied practice. Importantly, several incongruencies exist between the effects of exercise and nutrition stimuli on short-term change in BTM concentration compared with long-term bone structural outcomes to similar stimuli. There are many potential explanations for these inconsistencies, including that short-term study designs fail to encompass a full remodeling cycle. The current article presents the opinion that data from relatively acute studies measuring BTMs may not be able to reliably inform applied practice aiming to optimize bone health. There are important factors to consider when interpreting or translating BTM data and these are discussed.

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Caffeine Gum Improves Reaction Time but Reduces Composure Versus Placebo During the Extra-Time Period of Simulated Soccer Match-Play in Male Semiprofessional Players

Adam Field, Liam Corr, Laurence Birdsey, Christina Langley, Ben Marshall, Greg Wood, Mark Hearris, Diogo Martinho, Christa Carbry, Robert Naughton, James Fleming, Magni Mohr, Peter Krustrup, Mark Russell, and Liam David Harper

This study aimed to determine whether caffeine gum influenced perceptual-cognitive and physical performance during the extra-time period of simulated soccer match-play. Semiprofessional male soccer players (n = 12, age: 22 ± 3 years, stature: 1.78 ± 0.06 m, mass: 75 ± 9 kg) performed 120-min soccer-specific exercise on two occasions. In a triple-blind, randomized, crossover design, players chewed caffeinated (200 mg; caffeine) or control (0 mg; placebo) gum for 5 min following 90 min of soccer-specific exercise. Perceptual-cognitive skills (i.e., passing accuracy, reaction time, composure, and adaptability) were assessed using a soccer-specific virtual reality simulator, collected pre- and posttrial. Neuromuscular performance (reactive-strength index, vertical jump height, absolute and relative peak power output, and negative vertical displacement) and sprint performance (15 and 30 m) were measured at pretrial, half-time, 90 min, and posttrial. Caffeine gum attenuated declines in reaction time (pre: 90.8 ± 0.8 AU to post: 90.7 ± 0.8 AU) by a further 4.2% than placebo (pre: 92.1 ± 0.8 AU to post: 88.2 ± 0.8 AU; p < .01). Caffeine gum reduced composure by 4.7% (pre: 69.1 ± 0.8 AU to post: 65.9 ± 0.8 AU) versus placebo (pre: 68.8 ± 0.8 AU to post: 68.3 ± 0.8 AU; p < .01). Caffeine gum did not influence any other variables (p > .05). Where caffeine gum is consumed by players prior to extra-time, reaction time increases but composure may be compromised, and neuromuscular and sprint performance remain unchanged. Future work should assess caffeine gum mixes with substances like L-theanine that promote a relaxed state under stressful conditions.

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Effects of Phenylcapsaicin on Intraocular and Ocular Perfusion Pressure During a 30-Min Cycling Task: A Placebo-Controlled, Triple-Blind, Balanced Crossover Study

Paula M. Lara Vázquez, María Dolores Morenas-Aguilar, Sara Chacón Ventura, Pablo Jiménez-Martínez, Carlos Alix-Fages, Amador García Ramos, Jesús Vera, and Beatriz Redondo

The main objective of this placebo-controlled, triple-blind, balanced crossover study was to assess the acute effects of phenylcapsaicin (PC) intake (2.5 mg) on intraocular pressure (IOP), ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), and heart rate (HR) during a 30-min cycling task performed at 15% of the individual maximal power. Twenty-two healthy young adults performed the cycling task 45 min after ingesting PC or placebo. IOP was measured with a rebound tonometer before exercise, during cycling (every 6 min), and after 5 and 10 min of recovery. OPP was assessed before and after exercise. HR was monitored throughout the cycling task. We found an acute increase of IOP levels related to PC consumption while cycling (mean difference = 1.91 ± 2.24 mmHg; p = .007, η p 2 = .30 ), whereas no differences were observed for OPP levels between the PC and placebo conditions (mean difference = 1.33 ± 8.70 mmHg; p = .608). Mean HR values were higher after PC in comparison with placebo intake (mean difference = 3.11 ± 15.87 bpm, p = .019, η p 2 = .24 ), whereas maximum HR did not differ between both experimental conditions (p = .199). These findings suggest that PC intake before exercise should be avoided when reducing IOP levels is desired (e.g., glaucoma patients or those at risk). Future studies should determine the effects of different ergogenic aids on IOP and OPP levels with other exercise configurations and in the long term.

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Long-Term Evaluation of Lipid Profile Changes in Olympic Athletes

Giuseppe Di Gioia, Lorenzo Buzzelli, Viviana Maestrini, Maria Rosaria Squeo, Erika Lemme, Sara Monosilio, Andrea Serdoz, Roberto Fiore, Domenico Zampaglione, Andrea Segreti, and Antonio Pelliccia

Dyslipidemia is a major contributor to the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Despite high level of physical activity, athletes are not immune from dyslipidemia, but longitudinal data on the variation of lipids are currently lacking. We sought to assess lipid profile changes over time in Olympic athletes practicing different sports disciplines (power, skills, endurance, and mixed). We enrolled 957 consecutive athletes evaluated from London 2012 to Beijing 2022 Olympic Games. Dyslipidemia was defined as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ≥115 mg/dl, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) <40 mg/dl for males, or HDL <50 mg/dl for females. Hypertriglyceridemia was defined as triglycerides >150 mg/dl. At the follow-up, a variation of ±40 mg/dl for LDL, ±6 mg/dl for HDL, and ±50 mg/dl for triglycerides was considered relevant. Athletes with follow-up <10 months or taking lower lipid agents were excluded. Follow-up was completed in 717 athletes (74.9%), with a mean duration of 55.6 months. Mean age was 27.2 ± 4.8 years old, 54.6% were male (n = 392). Overall, 19.8% (n = 142) athletes were dyslipidemic at both blood tests, being older, practicing nonendurance sports, and predominantly male. In 69.3% (n = 129) of those with elevated LDL at t 0, altered values were confirmed at follow-up, while the same occurred in 36.5% (n = 15) with hypo-HDL and 5.3% (n = 1) in those with elevated triglycerides. Weight and fat mass percentage modifications did not affect lipid profile variation. LDL hypercholesterolemia tends to persist over time especially among male, older, and nonendurance athletes. LDL hypercholesterolemia detection in athletes should prompt early preventive intervention to reduce the risk of future development of atherosclerotic disease.

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Acute and Chronic Weight-Making Practice in Professional Mixed Martial Arts Athletes: An Analysis of 33 Athletes Across 80 Fights

Reid Reale, Junzhu Wang, Charles Hu Stull, Duncan French, Dean Amasinger, and Ran Wang

Mixed martial arts’ popularity has increased in recent years, alongside descriptive research and evidence-based performance recommendations. Guidelines for (both chronic and acute) weight making exist; however, how these translate in real-life scenarios and detailed investigations on practices in larger groups deserve attention. The present study examined the body mass (BM) and composition of 33 professional mixed martial arts athletes preparing for 80 fights. Athletes were supported by on-site dietitians, who encouraged evidence-based practices. Fasted BM was measured throughout the last ∼10 days before all bouts (acute weight management phase). A subset of athletes had body composition assessed before and after the chronic weight loss phase for 40 fights. Most athletes engaged in chronic BM loss, and all engaged in acute weight loss. Many lost fat-free mass (FFM) during the chronic phase, with rates of BM loss <0.5% best preserving FFM. Regardless of losses, the present athletes possessed greater FFM than other combat sport athletes and engaged in greater acute weight loss. Dehydration in the 24–48 hr before the weigh-in was not reflective of weight regain after the weigh-in, rather BM 7–10 days before the weigh-in was most reflective. These findings suggest that many mixed martial arts athletes could increase FFM at the time of competition by maintaining leaner physiques outside of competition and/or allowing increased time to reduce BM chronically. Acutely, athletes can utilize evidence-based protocols, eliminating carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, and finally fluid in a staged approach, before the weigh-in, reducing the amount of sweating required, thus theoretically better protecting health and preserving performance.