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Souzana K. Papadopoulou, Sophia D. Papadopoulou and George K. Gallos

Adequate nutrition is critically important for the achievement of the adolescent athlete’s optimal performance. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the adequacy of macro- and micro-nutrients in the adolescent Greek female volleyball players’ diet. The subjects of the study consisted of 16 players who were members of the Junior National Team (NP) and 49 players who participated in the Junior National Championship (CP). Dietary intake was assessed using a 3-day food record. Protein intake (16.0 ± 4.9% of total energy intake) was satisfactory, whereas fat consumption (37.5 ± 11.1%) was above recommended values and at the expense of carbohydrate intake (45.9 ± 12.5%). There were no significant differences between NP and CP concerning the intake of macronutrients, except for the fat intake (when this is expressed in grams per day and grams per kilogram of body weight and the saturated fat intake, which were both higher in NP compared to CP players (p < .05). The mean energy intake was 2013 ± 971 and 1529 ± 675 kcal for NP and CP, respectively (p < .05). NP, in particular, consumed fat and especially saturated fat in order to meet their energy needs. As for micronutrients, the volleyball players fell short of meeting the RDA values for calcium, iron, folk acid, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins A, B1, B2, and B6. There was no difference between NP and CP in micronutrient intake. In conclusion, subjects in the current study lacked proper nutrition in terms of quantity and quality.

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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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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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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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Anna Baylis, David Cameron-Smith and Louise M. Burke

Many athletes report using a wide range of special sports foods and supplements. In the present study of 77 elite Australian swimmers, 99% of those surveyed reported the use of these special preparations, with 94% of swimmers reporting the use of non-food supplements. The most popular dietary supplements were vitamin or mineral supplements (used by 94% of the group), herbal preparations (61%), and creatine (31%). Eighty-seven percent of swimmers reported using a sports drink or other energy-providing sports food. In total, 207 different products were reported in this survey. Sports supplements, particularly supplements presented as pills or other non-food form, are poorly regulated in most countries, with little assurance of quality control. The risk of an inadvertent “positive doping test” through the use of sports supplements or sports foods is a small but real problem facing athletes who compete in events governed by anti-doping rules. The elite swimmers in this survey reported that information about the “doping safety” of supplements was important and should be funded by supplement manufacturers. Although it is challenging to provide such information, we suggest a model to provide an accredited testing program suitable for the Australian situation, with targeted athlete education about the “sports safety” of sports supplements and foods.

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G.W. Davison, C.M. Hughes and R.A. Bell

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of antioxidant supplementation on DNA damage following exercise. Fourteen subjects were randomly assigned to one of two groups and required to ingest either antioxidants (400 mg α-lipoic acid, 200 mg co-enzyme Q10, 12 mg manganese, 600 mg vitamin C, 800 mg N-acetyl cysteine, 400 μg selenium, and 400 IU α-tocopherol per day) or placebos for 7 d. Exercise increased DNA damage, PS, FRAP, and LDH (P < 0.05), but not selectively between groups. LDH and PS concentration decreased 1 h post-exercise (P < 0.05), while LH concentration decreased 1 h post-exercise in the antioxidant group only (P < 0.05). The antioxidant group had a higher concentration of LH (P < 0.05), perhaps due to a selective difference between groups post-exercise (P < 0.05). The main findings of this investigation demonstrate that exhaustive aerobic exercise induces DNA damage, while anti-oxidant supplementation does not protect against damage.

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Jongkyu Kim, Seung-ki Kang, Han-sang Jung, Yoon-suck Chun, Jennifer Trilk and Seung Ho Jung

Athletes report frequent use of various dietary supplements (DSs). However, no study has examined DS use and antidoping knowledge in Korean Olympians. The objectives of this study were to obtain information about Korean Olympians’ DS use during the training period for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games and immediately before their Olympic events, to obtain DS-intake reasons and DS providers, and to obtain information on athletes’ doping education, knowledge, and educators. Korean Olympians completed 2 questionnaires 1 wk before the opening and within 1 wk after the closing of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Results showed that 79% of male and 82% of female Olympians take more than 1 DS during the training period and that vitamins and Oriental supplements are the 2 top-ranked DSs. Reasons for DS use were to improve recovery ability (66%) and muscle performance (22%), and sources of obtaining DSs were parents (36%) and coaches (35%). Furthermore, 79% of Korean Olympians reported receiving regular education on antidoping regulations from Olympic-sponsored education classes (64%) and coaches (15%). In conclusion, this study was the first to examine DS use and antidoping-related information in Korean Olympians. Because some herbal products contain substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, athletes should be cautious in using mixed Oriental supplements.

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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.

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Richard R. Suminski, Robert J. Robertson, Fredric L. Goss, Silva Arslanian, Jie Kang, Sergio DaSilva, Alan C. Utter and Kenneth F. Metz

Sixteen men completed four trials at random as follows: (Trial A) performance of a single bout of resistance exercise preceded by placebo ingestion (vitamin C); (Trial B) ingestion of 1,500 mg L-arginine and 1,500 mg L-lysine, immediately followed by exercise as in Trial A; (Trial C) ingestion of amino acids as in Trial B and no exercise; (Trial D) placebo ingestion and no exercise. Growth hormone (GH) concentrations were higher at 30,60, and 90 min during the exercise trials (A and B) compared with the resting trials (C and D) (p < .05). No differences were noted in [GH] between the exercise trials. [GH] was significantly elevated during resting conditions 60 min after amino acid ingestion compared with the placebo trial. It was concluded that ingestion of 1,500 mg arginine and 1,500 mg ly sine immediately before resistance exercise does not alter exercise-induced changes in [GH] in young men. However, when the same amino acid mixture is ingested under basal conditions, the acute secretion of GH is increased.

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Mandy Clark, Debra B. Reed, Stephen F. Crouse and Robert B. Armstrong

Little published data describe the dietary and physiological profiles of intercollegiate female soccer players; therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to report baseline dietary data, anthropometrics, and performance indices of soccer women during rigorous pre-season training (2 sessions/day) and then during the post-competitive season. Members of a NCAA Division I women’s soccer squad completed 3-day diet records, anthropometrics, and physical tests, including VO2peak. Average body mass was 62 kg with 16% body fat, and no significant pre to post differences were observed. Total energy, carbohydrate (CHO), protein, and fat intakes were significantly greater during the pre-sea-son. Pre-season energy intake met the DRI for females with an “active” lifestyle (37 kcal/kg). While CHO intake failed to meet minimum recommendations to promote glycogen repletion (7–10 g/kg), protein and fat intakes were above minimum recommendations. Pre- and post-season intakes of several micronu-trients were marginal (<75% of the DRI) including vitamin E, folate, copper, and magnesium. VO2peak significantly improved from pre- to post-season (42 and 50 ml/kg/min). In this study female soccer players appeared to meet caloric needs during periods of training but failed to meet minimum CHO and micronu-trient recommendations. Foods higher in protein and fat displaced more CHOrich and nutrient-dense foods within athletes’ energy requirements and satiety limits.