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Allan H. Goldfarb, Changmo Cho, Hojune Cho, Brett Romano-Ely and M. Kent Todd

The purpose of this study was to determine whether an isocaloric beverage with added protein and vitamins (CHOPA) would influence oxidative stress and inflammation after cycling to exhaustion as indicated by plasma protein carbonyls (PC), lipid hydroperoxides (LOOH), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Twelve trained men (18–33 yr) volunteered and performed this randomized crossover study. Participants cycled at 70% VO2peak until fatigue and at 80% VO2peak 22–24 hr later to fatigue with either carbohydrate or CHOPA. Blood collected before the cycling at rest and 24, 48, and 72 hr after the exercise was analyzed for PC and LOOH spectrophotometrically and for IL-6 via an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The data were analyzed with SPSS using repeated-measures ANOVA. PC demonstrated significant treatment (p = .037) and time (p = .004) effects with no Treatment × Time interaction. PC was higher in the CHOPA treatment than with CHO independent of time and increased at 24 (48%), 48 (59%), and 72 (67%) hr after exercise compared with preexercise values. Resting LOOH and IL-6 did not have any significant changes with time or treatment. These data indicate that an isocaloric CHOPA drink after 2 cycling bouts to exhaustion will exacerbate the resting PC level compared with an isocaloric drink, with no influence on plasma LOOH or IL-6. In addition, a modest significant increase in PC over time independent of treatment occurred, which suggests a mild oxidative stress in the days after exhaustive exercise.

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Christina Tsitsimpikou, Nastasia Chrisostomou, Peter Papalexis, Konstantinos Tsarouhas, Aristidis Tsatsakis and Athanasios Jamurtas

Although the use of nutritional supplements by professional athletes and the benefits thereof have been extensively studied, information on recreational athletes’ use of supplements is limited. This study investigated the consumption of nutritional supplements, source of information and supply of supplements, and level of awareness with regard to the relevant legislation among individuals who undertake regular exercise in Athens, Greece. A closed-ended, anonymous questionnaire was answered by 329 subjects (180 men, 149 women), age 30.6 ± 12.1 yr, from 11 randomly selected gym centers. Preparations declared as anabolic agents by the users were submitted to a gas chromatographic analyzer coupled to a mass spectrometric detector. Consumption of nutritional supplements was reported by 41% of the study population, with proteins/amino acids and vitamins being the most popular. Age (r = .456, p = .035), sex (χ2 = 14.1, df = 1, p < .001), level of education (χ2 = 14.1, df = 3, p < .001), and profession (χ2 = 11.4, df = 4, p = .022) were associated with the subjects’ decision to consume nutritional supplements. Most (67.1%) purchased products from health food stores. Only 17.1% had consulted a physician or nutritionist, and one third were aware of the relevant legislation. Two preparations were detected containing synthetic anabolic steroids not stated on the label. In conclusion, use of nutritional supplements was common among recreational athletes in Athens, Greece. A low level of awareness and low involvement of health care professionals as sources of information and supply were observed.

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Stephanie Whisnant Cash, Shirley A.A. Beresford, Thomas L. Vaughan, Patrick J. Heagerty, Leslie Bernstein, Emily White and Marian L. Neuhouser

Background:

Limited evidence suggests that very high-intensity exercise is positively associated with DNA damage but moderate exercise may be associated with DNA repair.

Methods:

Participants were 220 healthy, Washington State 50- to 76-year-olds in the validity/biomarker substudy of the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) cohort, who provided blood samples and completed questionnaires assessing recent physical activity and demographic and health factors. Measures included nested activity subsets: total activity, moderate- plus high-intensity activity, and high-intensity activity. DNA damage (n = 122) and repair (n = 99) were measured using the comet assay. Multivariate linear regression was used to estimate regression coefficients and associated 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for relationships between MET-hours per week of activity and each DNA outcome (damage, and 15- and 60-minute repair capacities).

Results:

DNA damage was not associated with any measure of activity. However, 60-minute DNA repair was positively associated with both total activity (β = 0.21, 95% CI: 0.0057–0.412; P = .044) and high-intensity activity (β = 0.31, 95% CI: 0.20–0.60; P = .036), adjusting for age, sex, BMI, and current multivitamin use.

Conclusions:

This study is the first to assess broad ranges of activity intensity levels related to DNA damage and repair. Physical activity was unrelated to DNA damage but was associated with increased repair.

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Jorunn Sundgot-Borgen

This study assessed the nutrient intake and eating behavior in Norwegian female elite athletes suffering from eating disorders (ED) who met the criteria for anorexia nervosa (AN), anorexia athletica (AA), or bulimia nervosa (BN). The subjects included 7 AN, 43 AA, 42 BN, and 30 controls. Three-day and 24-hr food records were used to assess energy and nutrient intake. Results revealed that a significant number of AN and AA athletes have diets too low in energy and nutrients, the mean intake for energy and CHO being lower than recommended for active females. A significant number did not reach the protein level recommended for athletes. In addition, there were low intakes of several micronutrients, most notably calcium, vitamin D, and iron. The energy and nutritional inadequacy, combined with the use of purging, are of major concern since the athletes in this study were relatively young. It is unknown whether the abnormal eating pattern is a consequence of ED or is typical of top level athletes.

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Valéria Cristina Provenza Paschoal and Olga Maria Silverio Amancio

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the body composition, dietary intake, use of nutritional supplements, and biochemical status of 8 Brazilian male elite swimmers, aged 18–21 years, participants at a national swimming competition. Data from the athletes were obtained through a 4-day food record, a fasting blood sample, and anthropometric measurements. The anthropometric results showed that body composition was compatible with sport category. The dietary assessment showed an adequate ingestion of calories, vitamins, and mineral, with the exception of calcium, for which only half of the sample reached the recommendation. The results also indicated low carbohydrate and high protein and cholesterol intakes. Of the swimmers, 62.5% and 25% consumed synthetic aminoacids and antioxidants supplements, respectively. The biochemical indices of the nutritional status were within normal limits in all swimmers, with the exception of creatine-kinase, which was above the recommended level, indicating muscle degradation probably due to poor carbohydrate intake. In conclusion, the results suggest the importance of nutritional education to promote a balanced intake, provide all nutrients in optimal amounts, inhibit unnecessary ingestion of nutritional supplements, maintain ideal performance, and improve the swimmers’ health status.

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Karen Reid

Flatwater kayaking requires upper-body muscle strength and a lean body composition. This case study describes a nutrition intervention with a 19-year-old male elite sprint kayaker to increase muscle mass and improve recovery posttraining. Before the intervention, average daily energy intake was 13.6 ± 2.5 MJ (M ± SD; protein, 1.8 g/kg; carbohydrate, 3.6 g/kg), and the athlete was unable to eat sufficient food to meet the energy demands of training. During the 18-month intervention period, the athlete’s daily energy intake increased to 22.1 ± 3.8 MJ (protein, 3.2 g/kg; carbohydrate, 7.7 g/kg) by including milk-based drinks pre- and posttraining and before bed and an additional carbohydrate-based snack midmorning. This simple dietary intervention, along with a structured strength and conditioning program, resulted in an increase of 10 kg body mass with minimal change in body fat percentage. Adequate vitamin D status was maintained without the need for supplementation during the intervention period. In addition, the athlete reported the milk-based drinks and carbohydrate snacks were easy to consume, and no adverse side effects were experienced. This was the first time the athlete was able to maintain weight during intensive phases of the training cycle.

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Ben Desbrow, Joanna McCormack, Louise M. Burke, Gregory R. Cox, Kieran Fallon, Matthew Hislop, Ruth Logan, Nello Marino, Susan M. Sawyer, Greg Shaw, Anita Star, Helen Vidgen and Michael Leveritt

It is the position of Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) that adolescent athletes have unique nutritional requirements as a consequence of undertaking daily training and competition in addition to the demands of growth and development. As such, SDA established an expert multidisciplinary panel to undertake an independent review of the relevant scientific evidence and consulted with its professional members to develop sports nutrition recommendations for active and competitive adolescent athletes. The position of SDA is that dietary education and recommendations for these adolescent athletes should reinforce eating for long term health. More specifically, the adolescent athlete should be encouraged to moderate eating patterns to reflect daily exercise demands and provide a regular spread of high quality carbohydrate and protein sources over the day, especially in the period immediately after training. SDA recommends that consideration also be given to the dietary calcium, Vitamin D and iron intake of adolescent athletes due to the elevated risk of deficiency of these nutrients. To maintain optimal hydration, adolescent athletes should have access to fluids that are clean, cool and supplied in sufficient quantities before, during and after participation in sport. Finally, it is the position of SDA that nutrient needs should be met by core foods rather than supplements, as the recommendation of dietary supplements to developing athletes over-emphasizes their ability to manipulate performance in comparison with other training and dietary strategies.

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J. Mark Davis, Catherine J. Carlstedt, Stephen Chen, Martin D. Carmichael and E. Angela Murphy

Quercetin, a natural polyphenolic flavonoid substance present in a variety of food plants, has been shown in vitro and in animal studies to have widespread health and performance benefits resulting from a combination of biological properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, as well as the ability to increase mitochondrial biogenesis. Little is known about these effects in humans, however, especially with respect to exercise performance. The authors determined whether quercetin ingestion would enhance maximal aerobic capacity and delay fatigue during prolonged exercise in healthy but untrained participants. Twelve volunteers were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatments: (a) 500 mg of quercetin twice daily dissolved in vitamin-enriched Tang or (b) a nondistinguishable placebo (Tang). Baseline VO2max and bike-ride times to fatigue were established. Treatments were administered for a period of 7 days using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study design. After treatment both VO2max and ride time to fatigue were determined. Seven days of quercetin feedings were associated with a modest increase in VO2max (3.9% vs. placebo; p < .05) along with a substantial (13.2%) increase in ride time to fatigue (p < .05). These data suggest that as little as 7 days of quercetin supplementation can increase endurance without exercise training in untrained participants. These benefits of quercetin may have important implications for enhancement of athletic and military performance. This apparent increase in fitness without exercise training may have implications beyond that of performance enhancement to health promotion and disease prevention.

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Kathryn Froiland, Wanda Koszewski, Joshua Hingst and Lisa Kopecky

A survey was conducted to examine the source of information and usage of nutritional supplements in 115 male and 88 female varsity athletes at a Division I university. The survey asked each athlete to define supplement, and report supplement use and type, source of information, and reasons for use. Supplement use frequencies were determined, and comparisons were made between gender and sport. Eighty-nine percent of the subjects had or were currently using nutritional supplements. Many athletes did not consider sports drinks and calorie replacement products as supplements. Females were more likely to take calcium and multivitamins, and males had significant intake for ginseng, amino acids, glutamine, hydroxy-methyl-buterate (HMB), weight gainers, whey protein, and Juven. The most frequently used supplements overall were energy drinks (73%), calorie replacement products of all types (61.4%), multivitamin (47.3%), creatine (37.2%), and vitamin C (32.4%). There was also significant supplement use noted per sport. Females were more likely to obtain information from family members regarding supplementation, and males from a store nutritionist, fellow athletes, friends, or a coach. Female athletes were more likely to take supplements for their health or because of an inadequate diet, while men reported taking supplements to improve speed and agility, strength and power, or for weight/muscle gain.

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Sherry Robertson, Dan Benardot and Margo Mountjoy

The sport of synchronized swimming is unique, because it combines speed, power, and endurance with precise synchronized movements and high-risk acrobatic maneuvers. Athletes must train and compete while spending a great amount of time underwater, upside down, and without the luxury of easily available oxygen. This review assesses the scientific evidence with respect to the physiological demands, energy expenditure, and body composition in these athletes. The role of appropriate energy requirements and guidelines for carbohydrate, protein, fat, and micronutrients for elite synchronized swimmers are reviewed. Because of the aesthetic nature of the sport, which prioritizes leanness, the risks of energy and macronutrient deficiencies are of significant concern. Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport and disordered eating/eating disorders are also of concern for these female athletes. An approach to the healthy management of body composition in synchronized swimming is outlined. Synchronized swimmers should be encouraged to consume a well-balanced diet with sufficient energy to meet demands and to time the intake of carbohydrate, protein, and fat to optimize performance and body composition. Micronutrients of concern for this female athlete population include iron, calcium, and vitamin D. This article reviews the physiological demands of synchronized swimming and makes nutritional recommendations for recovery, training, and competition to help optimize athletic performance and to reduce risks for weight-related medical issues that are of particular concern for elite synchronized swimmers.