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For Flux Sake: Isotopic Tracer Methods of Monitoring Human Carbohydrate Metabolism During Exercise

Javier T. Gonzalez and Andy J. King

Isotopic tracers can reveal insights into the temporal nature of metabolism and track the fate of ingested substrates. A common use of tracers is to assess aspects of human carbohydrate metabolism during exercise under various established models. The dilution model is used alongside intravenous infusion of tracers to assess carbohydrate appearance and disappearance rates in the circulation, which can be further delineated into exogenous and endogenous sources. The incorporation model can be used to estimate exogenous carbohydrate oxidation rates. Combining methods can provide insight into key factors regulating health and performance, such as muscle and liver glycogen utilization, and the underlying regulation of blood glucose homeostasis before, during, and after exercise. Obtaining accurate, quantifiable data from tracers, however, requires careful consideration of key methodological principles. These include appropriate standardization of pretrial diet, specific tracer choice, whether a background trial is necessary to correct expired breath CO2 enrichments, and if so, what the appropriate background trial should consist of. Researchers must also consider the intensity and pattern of exercise, and the type, amount, and frequency of feeding (if any). The rationale for these considerations is discussed, along with an experimental design checklist and equation list which aims to assist researchers in performing high-quality research on carbohydrate metabolism during exercise using isotopic tracer methods.

Open access

Fasting Before Evening Exercise Reduces Net Energy Intake and Increases Fat Oxidation, but Impairs Performance in Healthy Males and Females

Tommy Slater, William J.A. Mode, Mollie G. Pinkney, John Hough, Ruth M. James, Craig Sale, Lewis J. James, and David J. Clayton

Acute morning fasted exercise may create a greater negative 24-hr energy balance than the same exercise performed after a meal, but research exploring fasted evening exercise is limited. This study assessed the effects of 7-hr fasting before evening exercise on energy intake, metabolism, and performance. Sixteen healthy males and females (n = 8 each) completed two randomized, counterbalanced trials. Participants consumed a standardized breakfast (08:30) and lunch (11:30). Two hours before exercise (16:30), participants consumed a meal (543 ± 86 kcal; FED) or remained fasted (FAST). Exercise involved 30-min cycling (∼60% VO2peak) and a 15-min performance test (∼85% VO2peak; 18:30). Ad libitum energy intake was assessed 15 min postexercise. Subjective appetite was measured throughout. Energy intake was 99 ± 162 kcal greater postexercise (p < .05), but 443 ± 128 kcal lower over the day (p < .001) in FAST. Appetite was elevated between the preexercise meal and ad libitum meal in FAST (p < .001), with no further differences (p ≥ .458). Fat oxidation was greater (+3.25 ± 1.99 g), and carbohydrate oxidation was lower (−9.16 ± 5.80 g) during exercise in FAST (p < .001). Exercise performance was 3.8% lower in FAST (153 ± 57 kJ vs. 159 ± 58 kJ, p < .05), with preexercise motivation, energy, readiness, and postexercise enjoyment also lower in FAST (p < .01). Fasted evening exercise reduced net energy intake and increased fat oxidation compared to exercise performed 2 hr after a meal. However, fasting also reduced voluntary performance, motivation, and exercise enjoyment. Future studies are needed to examine the long-term effects of this intervention as a weight management strategy.

Open access

A Comparison of Sodium Citrate and Sodium Bicarbonate Ingestion: Blood Alkalosis and Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Charles S. Urwin, Rodney J. Snow, Dominique Condo, Rhiannon M.J. Snipe, Glenn D. Wadley, Lilia Convit, and Amelia J. Carr

This study compared the recommended dose of sodium citrate (SC, 500 mg/kg body mass) and sodium bicarbonate (SB, 300 mg/kg body mass) for blood alkalosis (blood [HCO3 ]) and gastrointestinal symptoms (GIS; number and severity). Sixteen healthy individuals ingested the supplements in a randomized, crossover design. Gelatin capsules were ingested over 15 min alongside a carbohydrate-rich meal, after which participants remained seated for forearm venous blood sample collection and completion of GIS questionnaires every 30 min for 300 min. Time-course and session value (i.e., peak and time to peak) comparisons of SC and SB supplementation were performed using linear mixed models. Peak blood [HCO3 ] was similar for SC (mean 34.2, 95% confidence intervals [33.4, 35.0] mmol/L) and SB (mean 33.6, 95% confidence intervals [32.8, 34.5] mmol/L, p = .308), as was delta blood [HCO3 ] (SC = 7.9 mmol/L; SB = 7.3 mmol/L, p = .478). Blood [HCO3 ] was ≥6 mmol/L above baseline from 180 to 240 min postingestion for SC, significantly later than for SB (120–180 min; p < .001). GIS were mostly minor, and peaked 80–90 min postingestion for SC, and 35–50 min postingestion for SB. There were no significant differences for the number or severity of GIS reported (p > .05 for all parameters). In summary, the recommended doses of SC and SB induce similar blood alkalosis and GIS, but with a different time course.

Open access

Addition of Fructose to a Carbohydrate-Rich Breakfast Improves Cycling Endurance Capacity in Trained Cyclists

Tim Podlogar, Simon Cirnski, Špela Bokal, Nina Verdel, and Javier T. Gonzalez

It was previously demonstrated that postexercise ingestion of fructose–glucose mixtures can lead to superior liver and equal muscle glycogen synthesis as compared with glucose-based carbohydrates (CHOs) only. After an overnight fast, liver glycogen stores are reduced, and based on this we hypothesized that addition of fructose to a glucose-based breakfast would lead to improved subsequent endurance exercise capacity. In this double-blind cross-over randomized study (eight males, peak oxygen uptake: 62.2 ± 5.4 ml·kg−1·min−1), participants completed two experimental trials consisting of two exercise bouts. In the afternoon of Day 1, they completed a cycling interval training session to normalize glycogen stores after which a standardized high-CHO diet was provided for 4 hr. On Day 2, in the morning, participants received 2 g/kg of CHOs in the form of glucose and rice or fructose and rice, both in a CHO ratio of 1:2. Two hours later they commenced cycling exercise session at the intensity of the first ventilatory threshold until task failure. Exercise capacity was higher in fructose and rice (137.0 ± 22.7 min) as compared with glucose and rice (130.06 ± 19.87 min; p = .046). Blood glucose and blood lactate did not differ between the trials (p > .05) and neither did CHO and fat oxidation rates (p > .05). However, due to the duration of exercise, total CHO oxidation was higher in fructose and rice (326 ± 60 g vs. 298 ± 61 g, p = .009). Present data demonstrate that addition of fructose to a glucose-based CHO source at breakfast improves endurance exercise capacity. Further studies are required to determine the mechanisms and optimal dose and ratio.

Open access

Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation, but not Creatyl-L-Leucine, Increased Muscle Creatine Content in Healthy Young Adults: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

Andrew T. Askow, Kevin J.M. Paulussen, Colleen F. McKenna, Amadeo F. Salvador, Susannah E. Scaroni, Jade S. Hamann, Alexander V. Ulanov, Zhong Li, Scott A. Paluska, Kayleigh M. Beaudry, Michael De Lisio, and Nicholas A. Burd

Creatine (Cr) supplementation is a well-established strategy to enhance gains in strength, lean body mass, and power from a period of resistance training. However, the effectiveness of creatyl-L-leucine (CLL), a purported Cr amide, is unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess the effects of CLL on muscle Cr content. Twenty-nine healthy men (n = 17) and women (n = 12) consumed 5 g/day of either Cr monohydrate (n = 8; 28.5 ± 7.3 years, 172.1 ± 11.0 cm, 76.6 ± 10.7 kg), CLL (n = 11; 29.2 ± 9.3 years, 170.3 ± 10.5 cm, 71.9 ± 14.5 kg), or placebo (n = 10; 30.3 ± 6.9 years, 167.8 ± 9.9 cm, 69.9 ± 11.1 kg) for 14 days in a randomized, double-blind design. Participants completed three bouts of supervised resistance exercise per week. Muscle biopsies were collected before and after the intervention for quantification of muscle Cr. Cr monohydrate supplementation which significantly increased muscle Cr content with 14 days of supplementation. No changes in muscle Cr were observed for the placebo or CLL groups. Cr monohydrate supplementation is an effective strategy to augment muscle Cr content while CLL is not.

Open access

Assessment of Exercise-Associated Gastrointestinal Perturbations in Research and Practical Settings: Methodological Concerns and Recommendations for Best Practice

Ricardo J.S. Costa, Pascale Young, Samantha K. Gill, Rhiannon M.J. Snipe, Stephanie Gaskell, Isabella Russo, and Louise M. Burke

Strenuous exercise is synonymous with disturbing gastrointestinal integrity and function, subsequently prompting systemic immune responses and exercise-associated gastrointestinal symptoms, a condition established as “exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome.” When exercise stress and aligned exacerbation factors (i.e., extrinsic and intrinsic) are of substantial magnitude, these exercise-associated gastrointestinal perturbations can cause performance decrements and health implications of clinical significance. This potentially explains the exponential growth in exploratory, mechanistic, and interventional research in exercise gastroenterology to understand, accurately measure and interpret, and prevent or attenuate the performance debilitating and health consequences of exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome. Considering the recent advancement in exercise gastroenterology research, it has been highlighted that published literature in the area is consistently affected by substantial experimental limitations that may affect the accuracy of translating study outcomes into practical application/s and/or design of future research. This perspective methodological review attempts to highlight these concerns and provides guidance to improve the validity, reliability, and robustness of the next generation of exercise gastroenterology research. These methodological concerns include participant screening and description, exertional and exertional heat stress load, dietary control, hydration status, food and fluid provisions, circadian variation, biological sex differences, comprehensive assessment of established markers of exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome, validity of gastrointestinal symptoms assessment tool, and data reporting and presentation. Standardized experimental procedures are needed for the accurate interpretation of research findings, avoiding misinterpreted (e.g., pathological relevance of response magnitude) and overstated conclusions (e.g., clinical and practical relevance of intervention research outcomes), which will support more accurate translation into safe practice guidelines.

Open access

Retraction: Medeiros et al. (2022)

James A. Betts

Open access

Ketone Monoester Ingestion Alters Metabolism and Simulated Rugby Performance in Professional Players

Oliver J. Peacock, Javier T. Gonzalez, Simon P. Roberts, Alan Smith, Scott Drawer, and Keith A. Stokes

Ketone ingestion can alter metabolism but effects on exercise performance are unclear, particularly with regard to the impact on intermittent-intensity exercise and team-sport performance. Nine professional male rugby union players each completed two trials in a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. Participants ingested either 90 ± 9 g carbohydrate (CHO; 9% solution) or an energy matched solution containing 20 ± 2 g CHO (3% solution) and 590 mg/kg body mass β-hydroxybutyrate monoester (CHO + BHB-ME) before and during a simulated rugby union-specific match-play protocol, including repeated high-intensity, sprint and power-based performance tests. Mean time to complete the sustained high-intensity performance tests was reduced by 0.33 ± 0.41 s (2.1%) with CHO + BHB-ME (15.53 ± 0.52 s) compared with CHO (15.86 ± 0.80 s) placebo (p = .04). Mean time to complete the sprint and power-based performance tests were not different between trials. CHO + BHB-ME resulted in blood BHB concentrations that remained >2 mmol/L during exercise (p < .001). Serum lactate and glycerol concentrations were lower after CHO + BHB-ME than CHO (p < .05). Coingestion of a BHB-ME with CHO can alter fuel metabolism (attenuate circulating lactate and glycerol concentrations) and may improve high-intensity running performance during a simulated rugby match-play protocol, without improving shorter duration sprint and power-based efforts.

Open access

Sweating Rate and Sweat Chloride Concentration of Elite Male Basketball Players Measured With a Wearable Microfluidic Device Versus the Standard Absorbent Patch Method

Lindsay B. Baker, Michelle A. King, David M. Keyes, Shyretha D. Brown, Megan D. Engel, Melissa S. Seib, Alexander J. Aranyosi, and Roozbeh Ghaffari

The purpose of this study was to compare a wearable microfluidic device and standard absorbent patch in measuring local sweating rate (LSR) and sweat chloride concentration ([Cl]) in elite basketball players. Participants were 53 male basketball players (25 ± 3 years, 92.2 ± 10.4 kg) in the National Basketball Association’s development league. Players were tested during a moderate-intensity, coach-led practice (98 ± 30 min, 21.0 ± 1.2 °C). From the right ventral forearm, sweat was collected using an absorbent patch (3M Tegaderm + Pad). Subsequently, LSR and local sweat [Cl] were determined via gravimetry and ion chromatography. From the left ventral forearm, LSR and local sweat [Cl] were measured using a wearable microfluidic device and associated smartphone application-based algorithms. Whole-body sweating rate (WBSR) was determined from pre- to postexercise change in body mass corrected for fluid/food intake (ad libitum), urine loss, and estimated respiratory water and metabolic mass loss. The WBSR values predicted by the algorithms in the smartphone application were also recorded. There were no differences between the absorbent patch and microfluidic patch for LSR (1.25 ± 0.91 mg·cm−2·min−1 vs. 1.14 ±0.78 mg·cm−2·min−1, p = .34) or local sweat [Cl] (30.6 ± 17.3 mmol/L vs. 29.6 ± 19.4 mmol/L, p = .55). There was no difference between measured and predicted WBSR (0.97 ± 0.41 L/hr vs. 0.89 ± 0.35 L/hr, p = .22; 95% limits of agreement = 0.61 L/hr). The wearable microfluidic device provides similar LSR, local sweat [Cl], and WBSR results compared with standard field-based methods in elite male basketball players during moderate-intensity practices.