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Reply to G. Escalante and D. St. Mart

Andrew T. Askow and Nicholas A. Burd

Free access

No Effect of Acute Balenine Supplementation on Maximal and Submaximal Exercise Performance in Recreational Cyclists

Sarah de Jager, Stefaan Van Damme, Siegrid De Baere, Siska Croubels, Ralf Jäger, Martin Purpura, Eline Lievens, Jan G. Bourgois, and Wim Derave

Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) and its methylated analogues anserine and balenine are highly concentrated endogenous dipeptides in mammalian skeletal muscle that are implicated in exercise performance. Balenine has a much better bioavailability and stability in human circulation upon acute ingestion, compared to carnosine and anserine. Therefore, ergogenic effects observed with acute carnosine and anserine supplementation may be even more pronounced with balenine. This study investigated whether acute balenine supplementation improves physical performance in four maximal and submaximal exercise modalities. A total of 20 healthy, active volunteers (14 males; six females) performed cycling sprints, maximal isometric contractions, a 4-km TT and 20-km TT following either preexercise placebo or 10 mg/kg of balenine ingestion. Physical, as well as mental performance, along with acid–base balance and glucose concentration were assessed. Balenine was unable to augment peak power (p = .3553), peak torque (p = .3169), time to complete the 4 km (p = .8566), nor 20 km time trial (p = .2660). None of the performances were correlated with plasma balenine or CN1 enzyme activity. In addition, no effect on pH, bicarbonate, and lactate was observed. Also, the supplement did not affect mental performance. In contrast, glucose remained higher during and after the 20 km time trial following balenine ingestion. In conclusion, these results overall indicate that the functionality of balenine does not fully resemble that of carnosine and anserine, since it was unable to elicit performance improvements with similar and even higher plasma concentrations.

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The Use of Continuous Glucose Monitors in Sport: Possible Applications and Considerations

Amy-Lee M. Bowler, Jamie Whitfield, Lachlan Marshall, Vernon G. Coffey, Louise M. Burke, and Gregory R. Cox

This review discusses the potential value of tracking interstitial glucose with continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in athletes, highlighting possible applications and important considerations in the collection and interpretation of interstitial glucose data. CGMs are sensors that provide real time, longitudinal tracking of interstitial glucose with a range of commercial monitors currently available. Recent advancements in CGM technology have led to the development of athlete-specific devices targeting glucose monitoring in sport. Although largely untested, the capacity of CGMs to capture the duration, magnitude, and frequency of interstitial glucose fluctuations every 1–15 min may present a unique opportunity to monitor fueling adequacy around competitive events and training sessions, with applications for applied research and sports nutrition practice. Indeed, manufacturers of athlete-specific devices market these products as a “fueling gauge,” enabling athletes to “push their limits longer and get bigger gains.” However, as glucose homeostasis is a complex phenomenon, extensive research is required to ascertain whether systemic glucose availability (estimated by CGM-derived interstitial glucose) has any meaning in relation to the intended purposes in sport. Whether CGMs will provide reliable and accurate information and enhance sports nutrition knowledge and practice is currently untested. Caveats around the use of CGMs include technical issues (dislodging of sensors during periods of surveillance, loss of data due to synchronization issues), practical issues (potential bans on their use in some sporting scenarios, expense), and challenges to the underpinning principles of data interpretation, which highlight the role of sports nutrition professionals to provide context and interpretation.

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Does Caffeine Increase Fat Metabolism? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Scott A. Conger, Lara M. Tuthill, and Mindy L. Millard-Stafford

Whether caffeine (CAF) increases fat metabolism remains debatable. Using systematic review coupled with meta-analysis, our aim was to determine effects of CAF on fat metabolism and the relevant factors moderating this effect. Electronic databases PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science were searched using the following string: CAF AND (fat OR lipid) AND (metabolism OR oxidation). A meta-analytic approach aggregated data from 94 studies examining CAF’s effect on fat metabolism assessed by different biomarkers. The overall effect size (ES) was 0.39 (95% confidence interval [CI] [0.30, 0.47], p < .001), indicating a small effect of CAF to increase fat metabolism; however, ES was significantly higher (p < .001) based on blood biomarkers (e.g., free fatty acids, glycerol) (ES = 0.55, 95% CI [0.43, 0.67]) versus expired gas analysis (respiratory exchange ratio, calculated fat oxidation) (ES = 0.26, 95% CI [0.16, 0.37]), although both were greater than zero. Fat metabolism increased to a greater extent (p = .02) during rest (ES = 0.51, 95% CI [0.41, 0.62]) versus exercise (ES = 0.35, 95% CI [0.26, 0.44]) across all studies, although ES was not different for studies reporting both conditions (ES = 0.49 and 0.44, respectively). There were no subgroup differences based on participants’ fitness level, sex, or CAF dosage. CAF ingestion increases fat metabolism but is more consistent with blood biomarkers versus whole-body gas exchange measures. CAF has a small effect during rest across all studies, although similar to exercise when compared within the same study. CAF dosage did not moderate this effect.

Open access


Open access

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.