The association between androgens and competition in women has been understudied compared with men. The current study examined the link between testosterone (T) and competition in elite female athletes, using a sample of female wrestlers that included athletes competing at both the national and international level. In a repeated-measures design, saliva samples were collected before and after wrestling bouts, with comparable samples of wins and losses, and subsequently analyzed for T. Study results showed a 22% increase in circulating bioavailable T from pre-to postbout, F(1, 12) = 9.71, P = .009. There was no significant difference in T between win or loss outcomes. These findings—showing a link between individual head-to-head competition and T in women—demonstrate that women’s androgenic responses to environmental contexts are dynamic and may be an important factor to address in research on competitive performance.
Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Sari M. van Anders, David N. Cox and Neil V. Watson
Laura C. Healy, Nikos Ntoumanis, Jet J.C.S. Veldhuijzen van Zanten and Nicola Paine
This investigation sought to clarify mixed results in the literature exploring coach behaviors, basic psychological needs, goal motivation, and well- and ill-being. Regional-level team sport athletes (N = 241) completed questionnaires on the aforementioned variables at the beginning of the season. A subsample (n = 70) provided saliva samples to assess physical ill-being. At the end of the season, athletes (n = 98) reported their goal motivation and attainment. Structural equation modeling demonstrated that coach behaviors were related to needs satisfaction and thwarting, which were related to autonomous and controlled goal motives respectively. Autonomous motives were related to well- and ill-being; controlled motives were only related to ill-being. Over time, only end-of-season autonomous goal motives were related to goal attainment. The findings provide an insight into how coaches can facilitate optimum goal striving and well-being in their athletes.
Christine Crooks, Martin L. Cross, Clare Wall and Ajmol Ali
This study investigated the effect of bovine colostrum (BC) on mucosal defense in the respiratory tracts of athletes and a nonexercising control group.
An athlete cohort (ATH) of 25 (12 male, 13 female) elite swimmers (age 14–23 yr) and a control cohort (CON) of 28 (9M, 19F) students (age 18–27 yr) were randomly allocated in a double-blind manner to receive either 25 g BC (low-protein colostrum powder) or isocaloric placebo (PL) per day for 10 wk. Postprandial saliva samples were analyzed for immunoglobulins (A, G, and M) and osmolality at baseline, after 4 and 10 wk, and 2 wk postsupplementation. Blood samples were analyzed for immunoglobulins and C-reactive protein at baseline, after 5 and 10 wk, and 2 wk postsupplementation. Dietary intake was assessed by self-recorded dietary records. Upper respiratory tract symptoms (URS) and exercise were also self-recorded daily.
There was no significant time-related effect of the BC supplement on either saliva or plasma immunoglobulin levels for either cohort. After 4 wk supplementation fewer ATH/BC (25%) than ATH/PL participants (61%) reported URS incidents (p = .062). No significant difference occurred in URS reports in the control group.
There was no measurable effect on immunoglobulin levels of consuming BC, which is in contrast to effects that have been reported previously in marathon runners, indicating that the effect of BC supplementation is not universal in all groups of athletes. Fewer athletes reported URS (although cause unknown) when consuming BC, which may be advantageous for training.
Ricardo J.S Costa, Samuel J. Oliver, Stewart J. Laing, Robert Walters, James L.J Bilzon and Neil P. Walsh
The aim of the study was to determine the influence of immediate and 1-hr-delayed carbohydrate (CHO) and protein (PRO) feeding after prolonged exercise on leukocyte trafficking, bacterially stimulated neutrophil degranulation, saliva secretory IgA (S-IgA) responses, and circulating stress hormones. In randomized order, separated by 1 wk, 9 male runners completed 3 feeding interventions after 2 hr of running at 75% VO2max. During control (CON), participants received water (12 ml/kg body mass [BM]) immediately and 1 hr postexercise. During immediate feeding (IF), participants received a CHO-PRO solution equal to 1.2 g CHO/kg BM and 0.4 g PRO/kg BM immediately postexercise and water 1 hr postexercise. During delayed feeding (DF), participants received water immediately postexercise and CHO-PRO solution 1 hr postexercise. Unstimulated saliva and venous blood samples were collected preexercise, immediately postexercise, and every 20 min until 140 min postexercise. No significant interactions were observed for circulating leukocytes and T-lymphocyte subset counts, S-IgA secretion rate, or plasma cortisol, epinephrine, or norepinephrine concentration. Bacterially stimulated neutrophil degranulation decreased during recovery on CON and DF (24% and 31%, respectively, at 140 min; p < .01) but not on IF. Compared with CON, neutrophil degranulation was higher on IF at 100 min postexercise and higher on IF than DF at 80 min and 100 min onward postexercise (p < .05). Ingestion of a CHO-PRO solution immediately after, but not 1 hr after, prolonged strenuous exercise prevented the decrease in neutrophil degranulation but did not alter circulating stress hormone, leukocyte trafficking, or S-IgA responses. Further research should identify the independent effect of different quantities of CHO and PRO ingestion during recovery on neutrophil responses and other aspects of immune function.
Ryland Morgans, Adam Owen, Dominic Doran, Barry Drust and James P. Morton
To monitor resting salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) levels in international soccer players during the short-term training period that precedes international match play.
In a repeated-measure design, saliva samples were obtained from 13 outfield soccer players who participated in the training camps preceding 7 games (5 home and 2 away) of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. Samples were obtained daily for 4 d preceding each game (and analyzed for SIgA using the IPRO oral-fluid-collection system) at match day minus 1 (MD-1), minus 2 (MD-2), minus 3 (MD-3), and minus 4 (MD-4).
SIgA displayed a progressive decline (P = .01) during the 4-d training period (MD-4, 365 ± 127 μg/mL; MD-3, 348 ± 154 μg/mL; MD-2, 290 ± 138 μg/mL; MD-1, 256 ± 90 μg/mL) such that MD-1 values were significantly lower (P = .01) than both MD-4 and MD-3. The 95% confidence intervals for the differences between MD-1 and MD-4 were –191 to –26 and between MD-1 and MD-3 were –155 to –28.
Data demonstrate that a short-term soccer-training camp in preparation for international competition induces detectable perturbations to mucosal immunity. Future studies should monitor SIgA (as a practical and noninvasive measure of immunity) alongside internal and external measures of training load in an attempt to strategically individualize training and nutritional strategies that may support optimal preparation for high-level competition.
Christof A. Leicht, Nicolette C. Bishop, Thomas A.W. Paulson, Katy E. Griggs and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey
Altered autonomic innervation in tetraplegic individuals has been shown to depress certain immune parameters at rest and alter exercise-related salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA) responses. The purpose of this study was to examine resting sIgA responses as a function of training load and episodes of upper respiratory symptoms (URS) in elite tetraplegic athletes.
Resting saliva samples were obtained from 14 tetraplegic athletes at 12 predefined time points over 5 months and analyzed for sIgA. Occurrence of self-reported URS and training load was recorded throughout the study’s duration. Regression analyses were performed to investigate the relationship between sIgA responses and training load. Furthermore, the relationships between sIgA responses and URS occurrence were examined.
sIgA secretion rate was negatively correlated with training load (P = .04), which only accounted for 8% of the variance. No significant relationships were found between sIgA responses and subsequent URS occurrence. Finally, sIgA responses did not differ between athletes with and without recorded URS during the study period.
In line with findings in ablebodied athletes, negative relationships between sIgA secretion rate and training load were found in tetraplegic athletes. This may explain some of the higher infection risk in wheelchair athletes with a high training load, which has been previously observed in paraplegic athletes. However, the nonsignificant relationship between sIgA responses and URS occurrence brings into question the use of sIgA as a prognostic tool for the early detection of URS episodes in the studied population.
Amy B. Cadwallader and Bob Murray
Whenever athletes willfully or accidentally ingest performance-enhancing drugs or other banned substances (such as drugs of abuse), markers of those drugs can be detected in biological samples (e.g., biofluids: urine, saliva, blood); in the case of some drugs, that evidence can be apparent for many weeks following the last exposure to the drug. In addition to the willful use of prohibited drugs, athletes can accidentally ingest banned substances in contaminated dietary supplements or foods and inadvertently fail a drug test that could mean the end of an athletic career and the loss of a good reputation. The proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs and methods has required a corresponding increase in the analytical tools and methods required to identify the presence of banned substances in biofluids. Even though extraordinary steps have been taken by organizations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency to limit the use of prohibited substances and methods by athletes willing to cheat, it is apparent that some athletes continue to avoid detection by using alternative doping regimens or taking advantage of the limitations in testing methodologies. This article reviews the testing standards and analytical techniques underlying the procedures used to identify banned substances in biological samples, setting the stage for future summaries of the testing required to establish the use of steroids, stimulants, diuretics, and other prohibited substances.
Yoonyoung Hwang, Jonghoon Park and Kiwon Lim
We examined the effects of a Pilates exercise program on the mucosal immune function in older women. The study population comprised 12 older women who were divided into a Pilates group (PG, n = 6) and a control group (CG, n = 6). Saliva samples were obtained from both groups before and after the experimental period for salivary secretory immunoglobulin A level measurement. In addition, acute high-intensity exercises were performed before and after the three-month Pilates exercise program. After three months, salivary flow was significantly higher in the PG than in the CG. After the acute high-intensity exercises were performed following the three-month Pilates exercise program, the salivary flow rate was significantly higher at all time points. The S-IgA secretion rate significantly increased 30 min after acute high-intensity exercise performed following the three-month Pilates exercise program. This study suggests that regular participation in a moderate-intensity Pilates exercise program can increase salivary flow rate and S-IgA secretion in older women.
Ana Anton-Solanas, Barry V. O’Neill, Tessa E. Morris and Joe Dunbar
To assess changes in body composition and monitor cognitive function, subjective well-being, and physiological stress, as measured by salivary hormones and markers of mucosal immunity, during an Antarctic expedition.
A 36-y-old man (188.2 cm height, 94.5 kg body mass) took part in a world-record attempt. A total-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan and measurement of 8 skinfolds and 5 girths were performed before and after the expedition. In addition, daily subjective data were recorded (sleep quality, total hours of sleep, energy levels, perceived exertion, mood, muscle soreness, and muscle/joint pain) along with distance covered and hours of physical activity per day. As a measure of cognitive function, the athlete completed a computerized battery of tasks (Axon Sports Cognitive Priming Application) every third morning. Saliva samples were collected before, during, and after the expedition to determine salivary cortisol (sCort), testosterone (sT), alpha amylase (sAA), and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA).
The athlete lost 5.3 kg body mass and sum of 8 skinfolds decreased from 73 mm to 59 mm from preexpedition to postexpedition. Psychomotor speed declined over the course of the expedition. sT increased and sCort decreased throughout, and sAA and sIgA peaked toward the end of the expedition.
This case study provides novel data about the physiological and cognitive impact of an Antarctic expedition. The findings may inform strategies for future expeditions, allowing individuals undertaking expeditions of this nature to better prepare for success.
Edith Filaire, Alain Massart, Jiewen Hua and Christine Le Scanff
The aims of study were to examine the eating behaviors among 26 professional female tennis players and to assess the diurnal patterns of stress hormones through the measurement of awakening and diurnal profiles of salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) and cortisol concentrations.
Eating behaviors were assessed through three questionnaires (Eating Attitudes Test-26; Eating Disorders Inventory 2; and Body Shape Questionnaire), food intake by a 7-day diet record, and menstrual status by questionnaire. Perceived stress scale and anxiety state were also evaluated. Saliva samples were collected at awakening, 30 min, 60 min, and 12 hr post awakening after 6-days’ rest.
Forty-six percent of tennis players presented Disordered Eating attitudes (DE) (n = 12) with a lower body mass index, and higher state anxiety as compared with the group without DE. No differences in the Perceived Stress Scale scores were noted. Mean energy intake, protein and carbohydrates intakes were lower (p > .05) in the DE group as compared with the group without DE. Although in both groups, sAA concentrations presented a decrease in the first 30 min after awakening, and then progressively rose toward the afternoon, DE players exhibited reduced concentrations of the sAA with a decrease in its overall day secretion. Moreover, they showed a higher overall day secretion of salivary cortisol and a higher Cortisol Awakening Response.
These results suggest that the activity of the sympathetic nervous system is impaired whereas the cortisol awakening response is enhanced. The long-term consequences of these modifications on health remain to be elucidated.