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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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P. Farajian, S.A. Kavouras, M. Yannakoulia and L.S. Sidossis

To investigate whether aquatic athletes follow optimal dietary intake, 58 athletes, all members of the Greek national swimming and water polo teams, were tested. Dietary intake was assessed at the nutrient, food, and food group level using the 24-h recall method and a food frequency questionnaire. Mean energy intake for males and females was 14.3 and 8.5 MJ, respectively. Mean carbohydrate consumption for male and female athletes was 4.5 g/kg and 3.8 g/kg of body weight, respectively. Fat intake was 153 g for males and 79 g for females. A significant number of the athletes (71% of the males, 93% of the females) did not meet the Dietary Reference Intakes for at least one of the antioxidant vitamins. The data suggest that athletes of both genders consumed too much fat and too little carbohydrate. Insufficient fruit and vegetable intake was related to low intake of antioxidants.

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Ben Desbrow, Nicholas A. Burd, Mark Tarnopolsky, Daniel R. Moore and Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale

Adolescent, female, and masters athletes have unique nutritional requirements as a consequence of undertaking daily training and competition in addition to the specific demands of age- and gender-related physiological changes. Dietary education and recommendations for these special population athletes require a focus on eating for long-term health, with special consideration given to “at-risk” dietary patterns and nutrients (e.g., sustained restricted eating, low calcium, vitamin D and/or iron intakes relative to requirements). Recent research highlighting strategies to address age-related changes in protein metabolism and the development of tools to assist in the management of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport are of particular relevance to special population athletes. Whenever possible, special population athletes should be encouraged to meet their nutrient needs by the consumption of whole foods rather than supplements. The recommendation of dietary supplements (particularly to young athletes) overemphasizes their ability to manipulate performance in comparison with other training/dietary strategies.

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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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Mayur K. Ranchordas, Laurent Bannock and Scott L. Robinson

Professional soccer players are exposed to large amounts of physiological and psychological stress, which can increase infection risk and threaten availability for training and competition. Accordingly, it is important for practitioners to implement strategies that support player well-being and prevent illness. This case study demonstrates how a scientifically supported and practically applicable nutrition and lifestyle strategy can reduce infection incidence in an illness-prone professional soccer player. In the 3 months before the intervention, the player had 3 upper-respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and subsequently missed 3 competitive matches and 2 weeks’ training. He routinely commenced morning training sessions in the fasted state and was estimated to be in a large daily energy deficit. Throughout the 12-week intervention, the amount, composition, and timing of energy intake was altered, quercetin and vitamin D were supplemented, and the player was provided with a daily sleep and hygiene protocol. There was a positive increase in serum vitamin D 25(OH) concentration from baseline to Week 12 (53 n·mol-1 to 120 n·mol-1) and salivary immunoglobulin-A (98 mg·dl-1 to 135 mg·dl-1), as well as a decline in the number of URTI symptoms (1.8 ± 2.0 vs. 0.25 ± 0.5 for Weeks 0–4 and Weeks 8–12, respectively). More important, he maintained availability for all training and matches over the 12-week period. We offer this case study as a real-world applied example for other players and practitioners seeking to deploy nutrition and lifestyle strategies to reduce risk of illness and maximize player availability.

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Andrea J. Braakhuis, Will G. Hopkins and Timothy E. Lowe

The beneficial effects of exercise and a healthy diet are well documented in the general population but poorly understood in elite athletes. Previous research in subelite athletes suggests that regular training and an antioxidant-rich diet enhance antioxidant defenses but not performance.

Purpose:

To investigate whether habitual diet and/or exercise (training status or performance) affect antioxidant status in elite athletes.

Methods:

Antioxidant blood biomarkers were assessed before and after a 30-min ergometer time trial in 28 male and 34 female rowers. The antioxidant blood biomarkers included ascorbic acid, uric acid, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), erythrocyte- superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and catalase. Rowers completed a 7-d food diary and an antioxidant-intake questionnaire. Effects of diet, training, and performance on resting biomarkers were assessed with Pearson correlations, and their effect on exercise-induced changes in blood biomarkers was assessed by a method of standardization.

Results:

With the exception of GPx, there were small to moderate increases with exercise for all markers. Blood resting TAC had a small correlation with total antioxidant intake (correlation .29; 90% confidence limits, ±.27), and the exercise-induced change in TAC had a trivial to small association with dietary antioxidant intake from vitamin C (standardized effect .19; ±.22), vegetables (.20; ±.23), and vitamin A (.25; ±.27). Most other dietary intakes had trivial associations with antioxidant biomarkers. Years of training had a small inverse correlation with TAC (−.32; ±.19) and a small association with the exercise-induced change in TAC (.27; ±.24).

Conclusion:

Training status correlates more strongly with antioxidant status than diet does.

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Manfred Lamprecht, Peter Hofmann, Joachim F. Greilberger and Guenther Schwaberger

Purpose:

To assess the effects of an encapsulated antioxidant concentrate (EAC) and exercise on lipid peroxidation (LIPOX) and the plasma antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase (Pl-GPx).

Methods:

Eight trained male cyclists (VO2max > 55 ml · kg−1 · min−1) participated in this randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, crossover study and undertook 4 cycle-ergometer bouts: 2 moderate exercise bouts over 90 min at 45% of individual VO2max and 2 strenuous exercise bouts at 75% of individual VO2max for 30 min. The first 2 exercise tests—1 moderate and 1 strenuous—were conducted after 4 weeks wash-out and after 12 and 14 days of EAC (107 IU vitamin E, 450 mg vitamin C, 36 mg β-carotene, 100 μg selenium) or placebo treatment. After another 4 weeks wash-out, participants were given the opposite capsule treatment and repeated the 2 exercise tests. Physical exercise training was equal across the whole study period, and nutrition was standardized by a menu plan the week before the tests. Blood was collected before exercise, immediately postexercise, and 30 min and 60 min after each test. Plasma samples were analyzed for LIPOX marker malondialdehyde (MDA) and the antioxidant enzyme pl-GPx.

Results:

MDA concentrations were significantly increased after EAC supplementation at rest before exercise and after moderate exercise (p < .05). MDA concentrations showed no differences between treatments after strenuous exercise (p > .1). Pl-GPx concentrations decreased at all time points of measurement after EAC treatment (p < .05).

Conclusions:

The EAC induced an increase of LIPOX as indicated by MDA and decreased pl-GPx concentrations pre- and postexercise.

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Miguel David Ferrer, Pedro Tauler, Antoni Sureda, Pedro Pujol, Franchec Drobnic, Josep Antoni Tur and Antoni Pons

Soccer-associated oxidative stress has barely been studied. The aims of this study were to establish the effect of a soccer training match and the effect of a diet supplementation with a multivitamin complex and coenzyme Q during 3 months of soccer training on the pro-oxidant and antioxidant status of lymphocytes. In a randomized, double-blind trial, 19 male preprofessional soccer players were treated with either an antioxidant nutrient cocktail or placebo for 90 days. After this period the athletes played a soccer match lasting 60 min. All determinations were made under basal conditions before and after the training period and after the match. Basal lymphocyte hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production did not change after the 3 months of training. Catalase activity decreased (about 50%) after the 3 months, whereas glutathione reductase increased its activity (150–200%) both with placebo and in the supplemented group. Basal ascorbate levels were maintained during the training period, whereas α-tocopherol and MDA decreased (about 40%) in both groups. The match increased H2O2 production (180%) in both groups when the lymphocytes were stimulated with phorbol myristate acetate, and it also increased MDA levels (150%). Antioxidant enzyme activities and antioxidant vitamin levels were maintained before and after the match. Regular soccer training modifies the lymphocyte strategy to eliminate ROS and increases protection against oxidative damage. A friendly soccer match raises lymphocyte capacity to produce ROS and oxidative damage, but it is not enough to induce a defensive response, thus leading to a situation of postexercise oxidative stress. Supplementation with low doses of antioxidant vitamins and coenzyme Q does not modify the endogenous antioxidant response to training.

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John L. Ivy, Lynne Kammer, Zhenping Ding, Bei Wang, Jeffrey R. Bernard, Yi-Hung Liao and Jungyun Hwang

Context:

Not all athletic competitions lend themselves to supplementation during the actual event, underscoring the importance of preexercise supplementation to extend endurance and improve exercise performance. Energy drinks are composed of ingredients that have been found to increase endurance and improve physical performance.

Purpose:

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of a commercially available energy drink, ingested before exercise, on endurance performance.

Methods:

The study was a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. After a 12-hr fast, 6 male and 6 female trained cyclists (mean age 27.3 ± 1.7 yr, mass 68.9 ± 3.2 kg, and VO2 54.9 ± 2.3 ml · kg–1 · min–1) consumed 500 ml of either flavored placebo or Red Bull Energy Drink (ED; 2.0 g taurine, 1.2 g glucuronolactone, 160 mg caffeine, 54 g carbohydrate, 40 mg niacin, 10 mg pantothenic acid, 10 mg vitamin B6, and 10 μg vitamin B12) 40 min before a simulated cycling time trial. Performance was measured as time to complete a standardized amount of work equal to 1 hr of cycling at 70% Wmax.

Results:

Performance improved with ED compared with placebo (3,690 ± 64 s vs. 3,874 ± 93 s, p < .01), but there was no difference in rating of perceived exertion between treatments. β-Endorphin levels increased during exercise, with the increase for ED approaching significance over placebo (p = .10). Substrate utilization, as measured by open-circuit spirometry, did not differ between treatments.

Conclusion:

These results demonstrate that consuming a commercially available ED before exercise can improve endurance performance and that this improvement might be in part the result of increased effort without a concomitant increase in perceived exertion.

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Andrea J. Braakhuis, Kelly Meredith, Gregory R. Cox, William G. Hopkins and Louise M. Burke

A routine activity for a sports dietitian is to estimate energy and nutrient intake from an athlete’s self-reported food intake. Decisions made by the dietitian when coding a food record are a source of variability in the data. The aim of the present study was to determine the variability in estimation of the daily energy and key nutrient intakes of elite athletes, when experienced coders analyzed the same food record using the same database and software package. Seven-day food records from a dietary survey of athletes in the 1996 Australian Olympic team were randomly selected to provide 13 sets of records, each set representing the self-reported food intake of an endurance, team, weight restricted, and sprint/power athlete. Each set was coded by 3–5 members of Sports Dietitians Australia, making a total of 52 athletes, 53 dietitians, and 1456 athlete-days of data. We estimated within- and between- athlete and dietitian variances for each dietary nutrient using mixed modeling, and we combined the variances to express variability as a coefficient of variation (typical variation as a percent of the mean). Variability in the mean of 7-day estimates of a nutrient was 2- to 3-fold less than that of a single day. The variability contributed by the coder was less than the true athlete variability for a 1-day record but was of similar magnitude for a 7-day record. The most variable nutrients (e.g., vitamin C, vitamin A, cholesterol) had ~3-fold more variability than least variable nutrients (e.g., energy, carbohydrate, magnesium). These athlete and coder variabilities need to be taken into account in dietary assessment of athletes for counseling and research.