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Hee-Tae Roh, Su-Youn Cho, Hyung-Gi Yoon and Wi-Young So

We investigated the effects of aerobic exercise intensity on oxidative–nitrosative stress, neurotrophic factor expression, and blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability. Fifteen healthy men performed treadmill running under low-intensity (LI), moderate-intensity (MI), and high-intensity (HI) conditions. Blood samples were collected immediately before exercise (IBE), immediately after exercise (IAE), and 60 min after exercise (60MAE) to examine oxidative–nitrosative stress (reactive oxygen species [ROS]; nitric oxide [NO]), neurotrophic factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF]; nerve growth factor [NGF]), and blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability (S-100β; neuron-specific enolase). ROS concentration significantly increased IAE and following HI (4.9 ± 1.7 mM) compared with that after LI (2.8 ± 1.4 mM) exercise (p < .05). At 60MAE, ROS concentration was higher following HI (2.5 ± 1.2 mM) than after LI (1.5 ± 0.5 mM) and MI (1.4 ± 0.3 mM) conditions (p < .05). Plasma NO IAE increased significantly after MI and HI exercise (p < .05). Serum BDNF, NGF, and S-100b levels were significantly higher IAE following MI and HI exercise (p < .05). BDNF and S-100b were higher IAE following MI (29.6 ± 3.4 ng/mL and 87.1 ± 22.8 ng/L, respectively) and HI (31.4 ± 3.8 ng/mL and 100.6 ± 21.2 ng/L, respectively) than following LI (26.5 ± 3.0 ng/mL and 64.8 ± 19.2 ng/L, respectively) exercise (p < .05). 60MAE, S-100b was higher following HI (71.1 ± 14.5 ng/L) than LI (56.2 ± 14.7 ng/L) exercise (p < .05). NSE levels were not significantly different among all intensity conditions and time points (p > .05). Moderate- and/or high-intensity exercise may induce higher oxidative-nitrosative stress than may low-intensity exercise, which can increase peripheral neurotrophic factor levels by increasing BBB permeability.

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Sonya L. Cameron, Rebecca T. McLay-Cooke, Rachel C. Brown, Andrew R. Gray and Kirsty A. Fairbairn

Purpose:

This study investigated the effect of ingesting 0.3 g/kg body weight (BW) of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) on physiological responses, gastrointestinal (GI) tolerability, and sprint performance in elite rugby union players.

Methods:

Twenty-five male rugby players, age 21.6 (2.6) yr, participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. Sixty-five minutes after consuming 0.3 g/kg BW of either NaHCO3 or placebo, participants completed a 25-min warm-up followed by 9 min of high-intensity rugby-specific training followed by a rugby-specific repeated-sprint test (RSRST). Whole-blood samples were collected to determine lactate and bicarbonate concentrations and pH at baseline, after supplement ingestion, and immediately after the RSRST. Acute GI discomfort was assessed by questionnaire throughout the trials, and chronic GI discomfort was assessed during the 24 hr postingestion.

Results:

After supplement ingestion and immediately after the RSRST, blood HCO3 concentration and pH were higher for the NaHCO3 condition than for the placebo condition (p < .001). After the RSRST, blood lactate concentrations were significantly higher for the NaHCO3 than for the placebo condition (p < .001). There was no difference in performance on the RSRST between the 2 conditions. The incidence of belching, stomachache, diarrhea, stomach bloating, and nausea was higher after ingestion of NaHCO3 than with placebo (all p < .050). The severity of stomach cramps, belching, stomachache, bowel urgency, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach bloating, and flatulence was rated worse after ingestion of NaHCO3 than with placebo (p < .050).

Conclusions:

NaHCO3 supplementation increased blood HCO3 concentration and attenuated the decline in blood pH compared with placebo during high-intensity exercise in well-trained rugby players but did not significantly improve exercise performance. The higher incidence and greater severity of GI symptoms after ingestion of NaHCO3 may negatively affect physical performance, and the authors strongly recommend testing this supplement during training before use in competitive situations.

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Simon P. Roberts, Keith A. Stokes, Lee Weston and Grant Trewartha

Purpose:

This study presents an exercise protocol utilizing movement patterns specific to rugby union forward and assesses the reproducibility of scores from this test.

Methods:

After habituation, eight participants (mean ± SD: age = 21 ± 3 y, height = 180 ± 4 cm, body mass = 83.9 ± 3.9 kg) performed the Bath University Rugby Shuttle Test (BURST) on two occasions, 1 wk apart. The protocol comprised 16 × 315-s cycles (4 × 21-min blocks) of 20-m shuttles of walking and cruising with 10-m jogs, with simulated scrummaging, rucking, or mauling exercises and standing rests. In the last minute of every 315-s cycle, a timed Performance Test was carried out, involving carrying a tackle bag and an agility sprint with a ball, followed by a 25-s recovery and a 15-m sprint.

Results:

Participants traveled 7078 m, spending 79.8 and 20.2% of time in low- and high-intensity activity, respectively. The coefficients of variation (CV) between trials 1 and 2 for mean time on the Performance Test (17.78 ± 0.71 vs 17.58 ± 0.79 s) and 15-m sprint (2.69 ± 0.15 vs 2.69 ± 0.15 s) were 1.3 and 0.9%, respectively. There was a CV of 2.2% between trials 1 and 2 for mean heart rate (160 ± 5 vs 158 ± 5 beats⋅min−1) and 14.4% for blood lactate (4.41 ± 1.22 vs 4.68 ± 1.68 mmol⋅L−1).

Conclusion:

Results suggest that measures of rugby union-specifc high-intensity exercise performed during the BURST were reproducible over two trials in habituated participants.

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Marcus J. Callahan, Evelyn B. Parr, John A. Hawley and Louise M. Burke

When ingested alone, beetroot juice and sodium bicarbonate are ergogenic for high-intensity exercise performance. This study sought to determine the independent and combined effects of these supplements. Eight endurance trained (VO2max 65 mL·kg·min-1) male cyclists completed four × 4-km time trials (TT) in a doubleblind Latin square design supplementing with beetroot crystals (BC) for 3 days (15 g·day-1 + 15 g 1 h before TT, containing 300 mg nitrate per 15 g), bicarbonate (Bi 0.3 g·kg-1 body mass [BM] in 5 doses every 15 min from 2.5 h before TT); BC+Bi or placebo (PLA). Subjects completed TTs on a Velotron cycle ergometer under standardized laboratory conditions. Plasma nitrite concentrations were significantly elevated only in the BC+Bi trial before the TT (1520 ± 786 nmol·L-1) compared with baseline (665 ± 535 nmol·L-1, p = .02) and the Bi and PLA conditions (Bi: 593 ± 203 nmol·L-1, p < .01; PLA: 543 ± 369 nmol·L-1, p < .01). Plasma nitrite concentrations were not elevated in the BC trial before the TT (1102 ± 218 nmol·L-1) compared with baseline (975 ± 607 nmol·L-1, p > .05). Blood bicarbonate concentrations were increased in the BC+Bi and Bi trials before the TT (BC+Bi: 30.9 ± 2.8 mmol·L-1; Bi: 31.7 ± 1.1 mmol·L-1). There were no differences in mean power output (386–394 W) or the time taken to complete the TT (335.8–338.1 s) between any conditions. Under the conditions of this study, supplementation was not ergogenic for 4-km TT performance.

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Éder Ricardo Petry, Vinicius Fernandes Cruzat, Thiago Gomes Heck, Paulo Ivo Homem de Bittencourt Jr. and Julio Tirapegui

Liver L-glutamine is an important vehicle for the transport of ammonia and intermediary metabolism of amino acids between tissues, particularly under catabolic situations, such as high-intensity exercise. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of oral supplementations with L-glutamine in its free or dipeptide forms (with L-alanine) on liver glutamine-glutathione (GSH) axis, and 70 kDa heat shock proteins (HSP70)/heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) expressions. Adult male Wistar rats were 8-week trained (60 min/day, 5 days/week) on a treadmill. During the last 21 days, the animals were daily supplemented with 1 g of L-glutamine/kg body weight per day in either l-alanyl-L-glutamine dipeptide (DIP) form or a solution containing L-glutamine and l-alanine in their free forms (GLN+ALA) or water (controls). Exercise training increased cytosolic and nuclear HSF1 and HSP70 expression, as compared with sedentary animals. However, both DIP and GLN+ALA supplements enhanced HSF1 expression (in both cytosolic and nuclear fractions) in relation to exercised controls. Interestingly, HSF1 rises were not followed by enhanced HSP70 expression. DIP and GLN+ALA supplements increased plasma glutamine concentrations (by 62% and 59%, respectively) and glutamine to glutamate plasma ratio in relation to trained controls. This was in parallel with a decrease in plasma ammonium levels. Supplementations increased liver GSH (by 90%), attenuating the glutathione disulfide (GSSG) to GSH ratio, suggesting a redox state protection. In conclusion, oral administration with DIP and GLN+ALA supplements in endurance-trained rats improve liver glutamine-GSH axis and modulate HSF1 pathway.

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Peter Peeling, Brian Dawson, Carmel Goodman, Grant Landers, Erwin T. Wiegerinck, Dorine W. Swinkels and Debbie Trinder

Urinary hepcidin, inflammation, and iron metabolism were examined during the 24 hr after exercise. Eight moderately trained athletes (6 men, 2 women) completed a 60-min running trial (15-min warm-up at 75–80% HRpeak + 45 min at 85–90% HRpeak) and a 60-min trial of seated rest in a randomized, crossover design. Venous blood and urine samples were collected pretrial, immediately posttrial, and at 3, 6, and 24 hr posttrial. Samples were analyzed for interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), serum iron, serum ferritin, and urinary hepcidin. The immediate postrun levels of IL-6 and 24-hr postrun levels of CRP were significantly increased from baseline (6.9 and 2.6 times greater, respectively) and when compared with the rest trial (p ≤ .05). Hepcidin levels in the run trial after 3, 6, and 24 hr of recovery were significantly greater (1.7–3.1 times) than the pre- and immediate postrun levels (p ≤ .05). This outcome was consistent in all participants, despite marked variation in the magnitude of rise. In addition, the 3-hr postrun levels of hepcidin were significantly greater than at 3 hr in the rest trial (3.0 times greater, p ≤ .05). Hepcidin levels continued to increase at 6 hr postrun but failed to significantly differ from the rest trial (p = .071), possibly because of diurnal influence. Finally, serum iron levels were significantly increased immediately postrun (1.3 times, p ≤ .05). The authors concluded that high-intensity exercise was responsible for a significant increase in hepcidin levels subsequent to a significant increase in IL-6 and serum iron.

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Lindsay B. Baker, Lisa E. Heaton, Ryan P. Nuccio and Kimberly W. Stein

Context:

Sports nutrition experts recommend that team-sport athletes participating in intermittent high-intensity exercise for ≥1 hr consume 1–4 g carbohydrate/kg 1–4 hr before, 30–60 g carbohydrate/hr during, and 1–1.2 g carbohydrate/kg/hr and 20–25 g protein as soon as possible after exercise. The study objective was to compare observed vs. recommended macronutrient intake of competitive athletes under free-living conditions.

Methods:

The dietary intake of 29 skill/team-sport athletes (14–19 y; 22 male, 7 female) was observed at a sports training facility by trained registered dietitians for one 24-hr period. Dietitians accompanied subjects to the cafeteria and field/court to record their food and fluid intake during meals and practices/competitions. Other dietary intake within the 24-hr period (e.g., snacks during class) was accounted for by having the subject take a picture of the food/fluid and completing a log.

Results:

For male and female athletes, respectively, the mean ± SD (and percent of athletes meeting recommended) macronutrient intake around exercise was 1.4 ± 0.6 (73%) and 1.4 ± 1.0 (57%) g carbohydrate/kg in the 4 hr before exercise, 21.1 ± 17.2 (18%) and 18.6 ± 13.2 (29%) g carbohydrate/hrr during exercise, 1.4 ± 1.1 (68%) and 0.9 ± 1.0 (43%) g carbohydrate/kg and 45.2 ± 36.9 (73%) and 18.0 ± 21.2 (43%) g protein in the 1 hr after exercise.

Conclusion:

The male athletes’ carbohydrate and protein intake more closely approximated recommendations overall than that of the female athletes. The most common shortfall was carbohydrate intake during exercise, as only 18% of male and 29% of female athletes consumed 30–60 g carbohydrate/hr during practice/competition.

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Andrew E. Kilding, Claire Overton and Jonathan Gleave

Purpose:

To determine the effects of ingesting caffeine (CAFF) and sodium bicarbonate (SB), taken individually and simultaneously, on 3-km cycling time-trial (TT) performance.

Method:

Ten well-trained cyclists, age 24.2 ± 5.4 yr, participated in this acute-treatment, double-blind, crossover study that involved four 3-km cycling TTs performed on separate days. Before each TT, participants ingested either 3 mg/kg body mass (BM) of CAFF, 0.3 g · kg−1 · BM−1 of SB, a combination of the two (CAFF+SB), or a placebo (PLAC). They completed each 3-km TT on a laboratory-based cycle ergometer, during which physiological, perceptual, and performance measurements were determined. For statistical analysis, the minimal worthwhile difference was considered ~1% based on previous research.

Results:

Pretrial pH and HCO3 were higher in SB and CAFF+SB than in the CAFF and PLAC trials. Differences across treatments for perceived exertion and gastric discomfort were mostly unclear. Compared with PLAC, mean power output during the 3-km TT was higher in CAFF, SB, and CAFF+SB trials (2.4%, 2.6%, 2.7% respectively), resulting in faster performance times (–0.9, –1.2, –1.2% respectively). Effect sizes for all trials were small (0.21–0.24).

Conclusions:

When ingested individually, both CAFF and SB enhance high-intensity cycling TT performance in trained cyclists. However, the ergogenic effect of these 2 popular supplements was not additive, bringing into question the efficacy of coingesting the 2 supplements before short-duration high-intensity exercise. In this study there were no negative effects of combining CAFF and SB, 2 relatively inexpensive and safe supplements.

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Weiliang Chung, Audrey Baguet, Tine Bex, David J. Bishop and Wim Derave

Muscle carnosine loading through chronic oral beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to be effective for short-duration, high-intensity exercise. This randomized, placebo-controlled study explored whether the ergogenic effect of beta-alanine supplementation is also present for longer duration exercise. Subjects (27 well-trained cyclists/triathletes) were supplemented with either beta-alanine or placebo (6.4 g/day) for 6 weeks. Time to completion and physiological variables for a 1-hr cycling time-trial were compared between preand postsupplementation. Muscle carnosine concentration was also assessed via proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy before and after supplementation. Following beta-alanine supplementation, muscle carnosine concentration was increased by 143 ± 151% (mean ± SD; p < .001) in the gastrocnemius and 161 ± 56% (p < .001) in the soleus. Postsupplementation time trial performance was significantly slower in the placebo group (60.6 ± 4.4–63.0 ± 5.4 min; p < .01) and trended toward a slower performance following beta-alanine supplementation (59.8 ± 2.8–61.7 ± 3.0 min; p = .069). We found an increase in lactate/proton concentration ratio following beta-alanine supplementation during the time-trial (209.0 ± 44.0 (beta-alanine) vs. 161.9 ± 54.4 (placebo); p < .05), indicating that a similar lactate concentration was accompanied by a lower degree of systemic acidosis, even though this acidosis was quite moderate (pH ranging from 7.30 to 7.40). In conclusion, chronic beta-alanine supplementation in well-trained cyclists had a very pronounced effect on muscle carnosine concentration and a moderate attenuating effect on the acidosis associated with lactate accumulation, yet without affecting 1-h time-trial performance under laboratory conditions.

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Martin J. Turner and Alberto P. Avolio

International guidelines suggest limiting sodium intake to 86–100 mmol/day, but average intake exceeds 150 mmol/day. Participants in physical activities are, however, advised to increase sodium intake before, during and after exercise to ensure euhydration, replace sodium lost in sweat, speed rehydration and maintain performance. A similar range of health benefits is attributable to exercise and to reduction in sodium intake, including reductions in blood pressure (BP) and the increase of BP with age, reduced risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, and reduced risk of osteoporosis and dementia. Sweat typically contains 40–60 mmol/L of sodium, leading to approximately 20–90 mmol of sodium lost in one exercise session with sweat rates of 0.5–1.5 L/h. Reductions in sodium intake of 20–90 mmol/day have been associated with substantial health benefits. Homeostatic systems reduce sweat sodium as low as 3–10 mmol/L to prevent excessive sodium loss. “Salty sweaters” may be individuals with high sodium intake who perpetuate their “salty sweat” condition by continual replacement of sodium excreted in sweat. Studies of prolonged high intensity exercise in hot environments suggest that sodium supplementation is not necessary to prevent hyponatremia during exercise lasting up to 6 hr. We examine the novel hypothesis that sodium excreted in sweat during physical activity offsets a significant fraction of excess dietary sodium, and hence may contribute part of the health benefits of exercise. Replacing sodium lost in sweat during exercise may improve physical performance, but may attenuate the long-term health benefits of exercise.