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Keith Baar

Patellar tendinopathy is one of the most common afflictions in jumping sports. This case study outlines the rehabilitation of a professional basketball player diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a central core patellar tendinopathy within the proximal enthesis. The player undertook a nutrition and strength-based rehabilitation program combining gelatin ingestion and heavy isometric loading of the patellar tendon designed to produce significant stress relaxation as part of their competition schedule and a whole-body training plan. On follow-up one and a half years into the program an independent orthopedic surgeon declared the tendon normal on MRI. Importantly, the improved MRI results were associated with a decrease in pain and improved performance. This case study provides evidence that a nutritional intervention combined with a rehabilitation program that uses stress relaxation can improve clinical outcomes in elite athletes.

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Dana M. Lis and Keith Baar

Nutritional strategies to improve connective tissue collagen synthesis have garnered significant interest, although the scientific validity of these interventions lags behind their hype. This study was designed to determine the effects of three forms of collagen on N-terminal peptide of procollagen and serum amino acid levels. A total of 10 recreationally active males completed a randomized double-blinded crossover design study consuming either placebo or 15 g of vitamin C–enriched gelatin or hydrolyzed collagen (HC), or gummy containing equal parts of gelatin and HC. Supplements were consumed 1 hr before 6 min of jump rope. Blood samples were collected immediately prior to supplement consumption and 4 hr after jump rope. A subset of blood samples (n = 4) was collected for amino acid analysis 1 hr after ingestion. Consumption of an equivalent dose of each supplement increased amino acids in the circulation similarly across all interventions. N-terminal peptide of procollagen levels tended to increase ∼20% from baseline in the gelatin and HC interventions but not the placebo or gummy. These results suggest that vitamin C–enriched gelatin and HC supplementation may improve collagen synthesis when taken 1 hr prior to exercise. However, large variability was observed, which precluded significance for any treatment.

Open access

Graeme L. Close, Craig Sale, Keith Baar, and Stephane Bermon

Injuries are an inevitable consequence of athletic performance with most athletes sustaining one or more during their athletic careers. As many as one in 12 athletes incur an injury during international competitions, many of which result in time lost from training and competition. Injuries to skeletal muscle account for over 40% of all injuries, with the lower leg being the predominant site of injury. Other common injuries include fractures, especially stress fractures in athletes with low energy availability, and injuries to tendons and ligaments, especially those involved in high-impact sports, such as jumping. Given the high prevalence of injury, it is not surprising that there has been a great deal of interest in factors that may reduce the risk of injury, or decrease the recovery time if an injury should occur: One of the main variables explored is nutrition. This review investigates the evidence around various nutrition strategies, including macro- and micronutrients, as well as total energy intake, to reduce the risk of injury and improve recovery time, focusing upon injuries to skeletal muscle, bone, tendons, and ligaments.

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Dana M. Lis, Matthew Jordan, Timothy Lipuma, Tayler Smith, Karine Schaal, and Keith Baar

Background: Exercise and vitamin C-enriched collagen supplementation increase collagen synthesis, potentially increasing matrix density, stiffness, and force transfer. Purpose: To determine whether vitamin C-enriched collagen (hydrolyzed collagen [HC] + C) supplementation improves rate of force development (RFD) alongside a strength training program. Methods: Using a double-blinded parallel design, over 3 weeks, healthy male athletes (n = 50, 18–25 years) were randomly assigned to the intervention (HC + C; 20 g HC + 50 mg vitamin C) or placebo (20 g maltodextrin). Supplements were ingested daily 60 min prior to training. Athletes completed the same targeted maximal muscle power training program. Maximal isometric squats, countermovement jumps, and squat jumps were performed on a force plate at the same time each testing day (baseline, Tests 1, 2, and 3) to measure RFD and maximal force development. Mixed-model analysis of variance compared performance variables across the study timeline, whereas tests were used to compare the change between baseline and Test 3. Results: Over 3 weeks, maximal RFD in the HC + C group returned to baseline, whereas the placebo group remained depressed (p = .18). While both groups showed a decrease in RFD through Test 2, only the treatment group recovered RFD to baseline by Test 3 (p = .036). In the HC + C group, change in countermovement jumps eccentric deceleration impulse (p = .008) and eccentric deceleration RFD (p = .04) was improved. A strong trend was observed for lower limb stiffness assessed in the countermovement jumps (p = .08). No difference was observed in maximal force or squat jump parameters. Conclusion: The HC + C supplementation improved RFD in the squat and countermovement jump alongside training.

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Henning T. Langer, Agata A. Mossakowski, Suraj Pathak, Mark Mascal, and Keith Baar

Cannabidiol (CBD) has proven clinical benefits in the treatment of seizures, inflammation, and pain. The recent legalization of CBD in many countries has caused increased interest in the drug as an over-the-counter treatment for athletes looking to improve recovery. However, no data on the effects of CBD on the adaptive response to exercise in muscle are available. To address this gap, we eccentrically loaded the tibialis anterior muscle of 14 rats, injected them with a vehicle (n = 7) or 100 mg/kg CBD (n = 7), and measured markers of injury, inflammation, anabolic signaling, and autophagy 18 hr later. Pro-inflammatory signaling through nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) (Ser536) increased with loading in both groups; however, the effect was significantly greater (36%) in the vehicle group (p < .05). Simultaneously, anabolic signaling through ribosomal protein S6 kinase beta-1 (S6K1) (Thr389) increased after eccentric contractions in both groups with no difference between vehicle and CBD (p = .66). The ribosomal protein S6 phosphorylation (240/244) increased with stimulation (p < .001) and tended to be higher in the CBD group (p = .09). The ubiquitin-binding protein p62 levels were not modulated by stimulation (p = .6), but they were 46% greater in the CBD compared with the vehicle group (p = .01). Although liver weight did not differ between the groups (p = .99) and levels of proteins associated with stress were similar, we did observe serious side effects in one animal. In conclusion, an acute dose of CBD decreased pro-inflammatory signaling in the tibialis anterior without blunting the anabolic response to exercise in rats. Future research should determine whether these effects translate to improved recovery without altering adaptation in humans.