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Anni Heikkinen, Antti Alaranta, Ilkka Helenius and Tommi Vasankari

The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of dietary supplement (DS) use among elite Finnish athletes in 2002 and 2009. In 2009, the authors also wanted to examine the reasons for athletes’ DS use, whether athletes feel they have experienced benefits from their supplement use, and whether athletes had had an opportunity to consult dietary specialists. Cross-sectional studies were conducted in 2002 and 2009 among Finnish Olympic athletes. Data were collected using semistructured questionnaires, mainly in national team camps. The study population in 2002 was 446 athletes, and in 2009 it was 372. The number of DS users was high in both study years (81% in 2002 and 73% in 2009). Vitamin D consumption was low in both 2002 and 2009 (0.7% and 2.0%, respectively). An increase was found in consumption of omega-3 fatty acids between study years (11% in 2002 and 19% in 2009; p = .002), and their regular use nearly doubled (8% and 15%, p = .002). For vitamin and mineral users, the main reason for DS use was to prevent nutritional deficiencies, and for nutritional supplement users the main reason was recovery from exercise. Only 27% of all athletes and 30% of DS users had an opportunity to consult dietary specialists in 2009. This survey shows that supplementation rates among elite Finnish athletes are high and there may be over- and underuse of some micronutrient supplements. There is a need for professional nutritional counseling among national elite athletes.

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Susan M. Kleiner, Terry L. Bazzarre and Barbara E. Ainsworth

The nutritional status of 11 female and 13 male elite bodybuilders at the first drug-tested USA Championship was examined through food records kept by subjects. Diets were repetitive and monotonous, and average daily energy and protein contents were relatively similar for men and women. Percent calories from protein, fat, and carbohydrate were 39%, 12%, and 48% for females, and 40%, 11%, and 49% for males, respectively. Females consumed 0% vitamin D, 52% calcium, 76% zinc (as percents of RDA) and below the Estimated Safe and Adequate Dietary Allowance amounts for copper and chromium. Males consumed 46% of vitamin D RDA. Although dietary magnesium intakes were above the RDA, serum magnesium levels in females were below reference values, which should be investigated. Serum zinc levels were high in men and women. Eighty-one percent of females reported recurrent contest-related amenorrhea for 2 ± 1 months precontest. Dietary intakes of men were adequate but the restrictive intakes of women may place them at risk for calcium, copper, and chromium deficiencies.

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Veronica A. Mullins, Linda B. Houtkooper, Wanda H. Howell, Scott B. Going and C. Harmon Brown

This study describes the body composition, dietary nutrient intake, dietary practices, and biochemical indices of iron status of elite female American heptathletes during training. Four-day diet records and dietary practice questionnaires were obtained from 19 female heptathletes (26 ± 3 years) during the training season. Anthropometric measurements and fasting blood samples were obtained at the lowest phase of the training cycle. These athletes had a low body fat (13.8 ± 2.7%) and high fat-free mass to height ratios (33.0 ± 2.0 kg/m). Average nutrient intakes were > 67% of the reference intakes for all nutrients except vitamin E. Most dietary nutrient densities were higher than NHANES III nutrient densities for women 20–29 years old. More than 50% of the athletes took vitamin supplements and monitored their hydration status. Fifteen of the 17 athletes reported a normal menstrual cycle. Markers of biochemical iron status were all within the normal range. On average, these athletes were lean with high levels of fat free mass, adequate nutrient intakes, and normal biochemical indices of iron status. However, individual data reveals considerable variability within this group.

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Sakuko Ishizaki, Takako Koshimizu, Kae Yanagisawa, Yoshiko Akiyama, Yuko Mekada, Nobuhiro Shiozawa, Noriko Takahaski, Jun Yamakawa and Yukari Kawano

This study was to assess the effect of a fixed dietary intake on biomarkers of red blood cell (RBC) biosynthesis and degradation. Over a two-year period, eight collegiate rhythmic gymnasts participated in this study. During the first year, they ate self-selected diets. During the second year, a fixed dietary intake involving consumption of common Japanese foods containing 15 mg iron and 1500 kcal energy was maintained for 4 wk at the beginning of the program. Fixed dietary intakes resulted in significantly increased intakes of protein, minerals and vitamins, and significantly decreased fat intake, but total energy and carbohydrate intakes were unchanged. Mean values of RBC, Hb, Ht, or TIBC were not affected by the intervention. A fixed dietary intervention appeared to enhance RBC turnover by increasing the capacity for erythrocyte biosynthesis and degradation, although the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia remained unchanged.

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Jerry A. Frentsos and Janine T. Baer

Dietary habits were evaluated in 6 elite triathletes (4 male, 2 female). Analysis of 7-day diet records showed mean daily energy and carbohydrate intake to be insufficient to support estimated requirements. Mean intakes of vitamins and most minerals exceeded the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) except zinc and chromium, which did not meet 66% of recommended amounts. Individualized nutrition intervention using the Diabetic Food Exchange System to support performance during training and competition was provided. To improve dietary intake, subjects consumed fortified nutrition supplements (Reliv, Inc.) before and after daily training. Follow-up 7-day diet records showed that average energy intake and percentage of energy from carbohydrate increased, as did intakes of zinc and chromium. Triathletes' performance in a short course triathlon was improved compared to a similar competition completed prior to the nutrition intervention. Following the intervention, triathletes were able to meet recommended daily energy, macronutrient, and micronutrient intakes and improve endurance performance.

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Jacqueline R. Berning, John P. Troup, Peter J. VanHandel, Jack Daniels and Nancy Daniels

Dietary food records from adolescent male and female swimmers participating in a national developmental training camp were analyzed for nutrient density. The mean caloric intake was 5,221.6 kcal for males and 3,572.6 kcal for females. The distribution of calories between carbohydrates, protein, and fat was not ideal for athletes trying to optimize performance. These young swimmers consumed too much fat and not enough carbohydrate. They consumed more than the RDA of vitamins A and C, and thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin; however, some concern is expressed for females who did not meet the RDA for calcium and iron. This study shows that although a group of adolescent swimmers may be consuming enough nutrients, individual swimmers may have very poor dietary habits and thus may not be providing adequate fuel or nutrients for optimal training or performance.

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June Nutter

Dietary intakes of 24 female athletes in various sports were compared inseason and postseason to those reported by 24 nonathletes during the same time period. Diets were analyzed for energy, carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins A and C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folacin, calcium, and iron. During the study, the athletes' and nonathletes' diets were similar. Their energy intakes were lower than recommended while their iron and calcium intakes were marginal (less than 70% of the recommended dietary allowance). Although few dietary changes were observed, the nonathletes' diets changed more than those of the athletes during the study. Both groups reduced their energy intakes but only the nonathletes' reduction was significant. Initially many subjects were dieting. More subjects reported dieting during the second recording period. These results suggest that the desire to be thin may influence dietary intakes of female athletes more than changes in exercise training.

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Lothar Rokitzki, Enno Logemann, Georg Huber, Elfriede Keck and Josef Keul

This study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of 5 months of α-tocopherol supplementation on physical performance during aerobic exercise training in 30 top-class cyclists. Antioxidative effects of supplementation were also studied. Plasma α-tocopherol concentration increased significantly in the vitamin E-supplemented group, whereas the placebo group showed a trend toward decrease. Physical performance did not improve in the α-tocopherol-supplemented group compared to the placebo group. Heart rates were also not significantly different. Lactate concentrations at the aerobic threshold and the anaerobic threshold were identical. Thus, there was no performance improvement in the α-tocopherol-supplemented group. However there was a significant reduction in CK in serum of the E-supplemented group. A trend toward decrease in GOT, GPT, and LDH was observed with α-tocopherol supplementation. Moreover, significantly reduced malondialdehyde serum levels were measured in the E-supplemented group. The findings indicate a protective effect of α-tocopherol supplementation against oxidative stress induced by strenuous exercise.

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Katsumi Sugiura, Izumi Suzuki and Kando Kobayashi

Mean daily intakes of energy and nutrients were surveyed from 3-day food records for 62 elite Japanese track-and-field athletes (28 males and 34 females) selected to participate in the 1994 Asian Championship games held in Hiroshima, Japan. Mean energy intakes of male and female athletes were 3,141 kcal (±592) and 2,508 kcal (±537), respectively. Based on the Japanese Recommended Dietary Allowances (JRDAs), long-distance and middle-distance runners had significantly higher energy and macronutrient intakes than did sprinters, jumpers, and throwers. There was no significant difference in micronutrient intake among the different types of athletes. However, of the sprinters, jumpers, and throwers. 15 males (54%) and 22 females (65%) consumed less than the JRDA for at least one micronutrient (i.e., vitamin or mineral). For some athletes, nutritional counseling that provides strategies for increasing food intake is recommended to optimize nutrient intake.

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Ian P. Snider, Terry L. Bazzarre, Scott D. Murdoch and Allan Goldfarb

This study examined the effects of the Coenzyme Athletic Performance System (CAPS) on endurance performance to exhaustion. CAPS contains 100 mg coenzyme Q10,500 mg cytochrome C, 100 mg inosine, and 200 IU vitamin E. Eleven highly trained male triathletes were given three daily doses of either CAPS or placebo (dicalcium phosphate) for two 4-week periods using a double-blind crossover design. A 4-week washout period separated the two treatment periods. An exhaustive performance test, consisting of 90 minutes of running on a treadmill (70% VO2max) followed by cycling (70% VO2max) until exhaustion, was conducted after each treatment period. The mean (±SEM) time to exhaustion for the subjects using CAPS (223 ±17 min) was not significantly different (p=0.57) from the placebo trial (215 ±9 min). Blood glucose, lactate, and free fatty acid concentrations at exhaustion did not differ between treatments (p < 0.05). CAPS had no apparent benefit on exercise to exhaustion.