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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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Martin D. Hoffman, Linjun Chen and Eswar Krishnan

Background:

Little is known about the sociodemographics and lifestyle behaviors of ultramarathon runners, and the effects of these characteristics on body weight and body mass index (BMI).

Methods:

We cross-sectionally analyzed baseline data of 1212 ultramarathoners on sociodemographics, lifestyle behaviors and BMI from the initial 12-month enrollment period in a longitudinal observational study.

Results:

The ultramarathoners were mostly middle-aged men who were more educated, more likely to be in a stable relationship, and more likely to use over-the-counter vitamins/supplements than the general population. They appear to gain less body weight with advancing age than the general population. Factors with the greatest effect on current BMI were BMI at 25 years of age and sex, which explained 48% and 3% of the variance. Negligible, but statistically significant direct relationships, with BMI were observed for age, work hours per week, television watching hours per week, and composite fat consumption frequency score. Negligible, but statistically significant inverse relationships, with BMI were observed for running distance during the prior year, and composite fruit and vegetable consumption frequency score.

Conclusions:

While lifestyle decisions were found to impact BMI within this group of ultramarathoners, BMI at age 25 was the strongest predictor of current BMI.

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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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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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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.

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Susan Heaney, Helen O’Connor, Janelle Gifford and Geraldine Naughton

Purpose:

This study aimed to compare strategies for assessing nutritional adequacy in the dietary intake of elite female athletes.

Methods:

Dietary intake was assessed using an adapted food-frequency questionnaire in 72 elite female athletes from a variety of sports. Nutritional adequacy was evaluated and compared using mean intake; the proportion of participants with intakes below Australian nutrient reference values (NRV), U.S. military dietary reference intakes (MDRI), and current sports nutrition recommendations; and probability estimates of nutrient inadequacy.

Results:

Mean energy intake was 10,551 ± 3,836 kJ/day with macronutrient distribution 18% protein, 31% fat, and 46% carbohydrate, consistent with Australian acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges. Mean protein intake (1.6 g · kg−1 · d−1) was consistent with (>1.2 g · kg−1 · d−1), and carbohydrate intake (4.5 g · kg−1 · d−1), below, current sports nutrition recommendations (>5 g · kg−1 · d−1), with 30% and 65% of individuals not meeting these levels, respectively. Mean micronutrient intake met the relevant NRV and MDRI except for vitamin D and folate. A proportion of participants failed to meet the estimated average requirement for folate (48%), calcium (24%), magnesium (19%), and iron (4%). Probability estimates of inadequacy identified intake of folate (44%), calcium (22%), iron (19%), and magnesium (15%) as inadequate.

Conclusion:

Interpretation of dietary adequacy is complex and varies depending on whether the mean, proportion of participants below the relevant NRV, or statistical probability estimate of inadequacy is used. Further research on methods to determine dietary adequacy in athlete populations is required.

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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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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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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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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.