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David C. Nieman, Dru A. Henson, Steven R. McAnulty, Fuxia Jin and Kendra R. Maxwell

The purpose of this study was to test the influence of 2.4 g/d fish oil n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) over 6 wk on exercise performance, inflammation, and immune measures in 23 trained cyclists before and after a 3-d period of intense exercise. Participants were randomized to n-3 PUFA (n = 11; 2,000 mg eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA], 400 mg docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) or placebo (n = 12) groups. They ingested supplements under double-blind methods for 6 wk before and during a 3-d period in which they cycled for 3 hr/d at ~57% Wmax with 10-km time trials inserted during the final 15 min of each 3-hr bout. Blood and saliva samples were collected before and after the 6-wk supplementation period, immediately after the 3-hr exercise bout on the third day, and 14 hr postexercise and analyzed for various immune-function and inflammation parameters. Supplementation with n-3 PUFA resulted in a significant increase in plasma EPA and DHA but had no effect on 10-km time-trial performance; preexercise outcome measures; exercise-induced increases in plasma cytokines, myeloperoxidase, blood total leukocytes, serum C-reactive protein, and creatine kinase; or the decrease in the salivary IgA:protein ratio. In conclusion, 6 wk supplementation with a large daily dose of n-3 PUFAs increased plasma EPA and DHA but had no effect on exercise performance or in countering measures of inflammation and immunity before or after a 3-d period of 9 hr of heavy exertion.

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Manuela Konrad, David C. Nieman, Dru A. Henson, Krista M. Kennerly, Fuxia Jin and Sandra J. Wallner-Liebmann

This study tested the acute anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating influence of a quercetin-based supplement consumed by endurance athletes 15 min before an intense 2-hr run. In this randomized, crossover study, 20 runners (11 men, 9 women, age 38.4 ± 2.1 yr) completed two 2-hr treadmill runs at 70% VO2max (3 wk apart). Subjects ingested either 4 quercetin-based chews (Q-chew) or placebo chews (PL) 15 min before the runs. The 4 Q-chews provided 1,000 mg quercetin, 120 mg epigallocatechin 3-gallate, 400 mg isoquercetin, 400 mg each eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, 1,000 mg vitamin C, and 40 mg niacinamide. Subjects provided blood samples 30 min before, immediately after, and 1 hr postexercise and were analyzed for plasma quercetin, total blood leukocytes (WBC), C-reactive protein (CRP), 9 cytokines (IL-6, TNFα, GM-CSF, IFNγ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-8, IL-10, and IL-12p70), granulocyte (GR) and monocyte (MO) phagocytosis (PHAG), and oxidative-burst activity (OBA). Plasma quercetin increased from 80.0 ± 26.0 μg/L to 6,337 ± 414 μg/L immediately postexercise and 4,324 ± 310 μg/L 1 hr postexercise after ingestion of Q-chews, compared with no change in PL (p < .001). Exercise caused significant increases in, CRP, GM-CSF, IL-10, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, TNFα, GR-PHAG, and MO-PHAG and decreases in GR-OBA and MO-OBA, but no differences in the pattern of change were measured between Q-chew and PL trials. Acute ingestion of Q-chews 15 min before heavy exertion caused a strong increase in plasma quercetin levels but did not counter postexercise inflammation or immune changes relative to placebo.

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Steven R. McAnulty, David C. Nieman, Lisa S. McAnulty, Worley S. Lynch, Fuxia Jin and Dru A. Henson

Consumption of plant flavonoids, antioxidants, and n-3 fatty acids is proposed to have many potential health benefits derived primarily through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. This study examined the effects of 1,000 mg quercetin + 1,000 mg vitamin C (QC); 1,000 mg quercetin, 1,000 mg vitamin C, 400 mg isoquercetin, 30 mg epigallocatechin gallate, and 400 mg n-3 fatty acids (QFO); or placebo (P), taken each day for 2 wk before and during 3 d of cycling at 57% Wmax for 3 hr, on plasma antioxidant capacity (ferricreducing ability of plasma [FRAP], oxygen-radical absorbance capacity [ORAC]), plasma oxidative stress (F2-isoprostanes), and plasma quercetin and vitamin C levels. Thirty-nine athletes were recruited and randomized to QC, QFO, or P. Blood was collected at baseline, after 2 wk supplementation, immediately postexercise, and 14 hr postexercise. Statistical design used a 3 (groups) × 4 (times) repeated-measures ANOVA with post hoc analyses. Plasma quercetin was significantly elevated in QC and QFO compared with P. Plasma F2-isoprostanes, FRAP, and vitamin C were significantly elevated and ORAC significantly decreased immediately postexercise, but no difference was noted in the overall pattern of change. Post hoc analyses revealed that the QC and QFO groups did not exhibit a significant increase in F2-isoprostanes from baseline to immediately postexercise compared with P. This study indicates that combining flavonoids and antioxidants with n-3 fatty acids is effective in reducing the immediate postexercise increase in F2-isoprostanes. Moreover, this effect occurs independently of changes in plasma antioxidant capacity.