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Melinda Jane Craike, Denis Coleman and Clare MacMahon

This study examined the role of leisure-time physical activity in reducing the impact of high life stress and time pressure on depression, a buffer effect, for mothers of infants. A direct association between leisure-time physical activity and depression, regardless of both sources of stress, was also tested. A sample of approximately 5,000 mothers of infant children completed questionnaires that measured demographic characteristics, frequency of participation in leisure-time physical activity, life stress, time pressure, and depression (depressive symptoms). Hierarchical multiple regression incorporating an interaction component to represent the buffering effect was used to analyze the data. Frequency of leisure-time physical activity was significantly associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms for both types of stress and acted as a buffer of the association between life stress and depressive symptoms, but did not buffer the influence of time pressure on depressive symptoms. These findings indicated that leisure-time physical activity assists in maintaining the mental health of mothers of infants; however, caution is needed when promoting physical activity for mothers who feel under time pressure.

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Michael D. Nelson, Lynneth A. Stuart-Hill and Gordon G. Sleivert

Purpose:

To evaluate the influence of acute hypervolemia, achieved through the ingestion of a sodium citrate-rich beverage, on cardiovascular strain and thermoregulatory function, during moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in a warm environment. Sodium citrate’s ability to increase buffering capacity was also assessed.

Methods:

Twelve endurance-trained athletes completed two blind randomized treatment trials, separated by a minimum of seven days, on a cycle ergometer under heat stress (30.9°C, 64% RH). The subjects ingested 12 mL·kg−1of (1) Gatorade, the control (CNT), or (2) sodium-citrate plus Gatorade (NaCIT: 170 mmol Na+L−1) before cycling at 15% below ventilatory threshold (VT) for 62 minutes. Core and skin temperature, expired gas samples, heart rate, and perceived exertion were measured throughout exercise. Blood samples were taken before drinking each beverage, before commencing exercise, and throughout the exercise bout.

Results:

Plasma volume (PV) was significantly expanded in the NaCIT trial (3.6 ± 5.5%) and remained significantly higher throughout exercise in the NaCIT trial compared with the CNT trial (P ≤ .05). No significant differences were found in heart rate, in core and skin temperature, or in the metabolic data between the treatment groups. NaCIT significantly increased [HCO3 ], base excess, and pH throughout the trial.

Conclusion:

Acute oral ingestion of high-sodium citrate beverages before moderate exercise induces mild levels of hypervolemia and improves blood-buffering capacity in humans; however, mild hypervolemia during 62 minutes of moderate exercise does not reduce physiological strain or improve thermoregulation.

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Grant David Brinkworth, Jonathan David Buckley, Pitre Collier Bourdon, Jason Paul Gulbin and Adrian Zachei David

A randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled design was used in which 13 elite female rowers, all of whom had competed at World Championships, were supplemented with 60 g · day−1 of either bovine colostrum (BC; n = 6) or concentrated whey protein powder (WP; n = 7) during 9 weeks of pre-competition training. All subjects undertook the study as a group and completed the same training program. Prior to, and after 9 weeks of supplementation and training, subjects completed an incremental rowing test (ROW1) on a rowing ergometer consisting of 3 3 4-min submaximal workloads and a 4-min maximal effort (4max), each separated by a 1-min recovery period. The rowing test was repeated after a 15-min period of passive recovery (ROW2). The 4max for ROW1 provided a measure of performance, and the difference between the 4max efforts of ROW1 and ROW2 provided an index of recovery. Blood lactate concentrations and pH measured prior to exercise and at the end of each workload were used to estimate blood buffer capacity (b). Food intake was recorded daily for dietary analysis. There were no differences in macronutrient intakes (p > .56) or training volumes (p > .99) between BC and WP during the study period. Rowing performance (distance rowed and work done) during 4max of ROW2 was less than ROW1 at baseline (p < .05) but not different between groups (p > .05). Performance increased in both rows by Week 9 (p < .001), with no difference between groups (p > .75). However, the increase was greatest in ROW2 (p < .05), such that by Week 9 there was no longer a difference in performance between the two rows in either group (p > .05). b was not different between groups for ROW1 at baseline (BC 38.3 ± 5.0, WP 38.2 ± 7.2 slykes; p > .05) but was higher in BC by Week 9 (BC 40.8 ± 5.9, WP 33.4 ± 5.3 slykes; p < .05). b for ROW2 followed the same pattern of change as for ROW1. We conclude that supplementation with BC improves b, but not performance, in elite female rowers. It was not possible to determine whether b had any effect on recovery.

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Bryan Saunders, Craig Sale, Roger C. Harris and Caroline Sunderland

Purpose:

To investigate the separate and combined effects of sodium bicarbonate and beta-alanine supplementation on repeated sprints during simulated match play performed in hypoxia.

Methods:

Study A: 20 recreationally active participants performed two trials following acute supplementation with either sodium bicarbonate (0.3 g·kg−1BM) or placebo (maltodextrin). Study B: 16 recreationally active participants were supplemented with either a placebo or beta-alanine for 5 weeks (6.4 g·day−1 for 4 weeks, 3.2 g·day−1 for 1 week), and performed one trial before supplementation (with maltodextrin) and two following supplementation (with sodium bicarbonate and maltodextrin). Trials consisted of 3 sets of 5 × 6 s repeated sprints performed during a football specific intermittent treadmill protocol performed in hypoxia (15.5% O2). Mean (MPO) and peak (PPO) power output were recorded as the performance measures.

Results:

Study A: Overall MPO was lower with sodium bicarbonate than placebo (p = .02, 539.4 ± 84.5 vs. 554.0 ± 84.6 W), although there was no effect across sets (all p > .05). Study B: There was no effect of beta-alanine, or cosupplementation with sodium bicarbonate, on either parameter, although there was a trend toward higher MPO with sodium bicarbonate (p = .07).

Conclusions:

The effect of sodium bicarbonate on repeated sprints was equivocal, although there was no effect of beta-alanine or cosupplementation with sodium bicarbonate. Individual variation may have contributed to differences in results with sodium bicarbonate, although the lack of an effect with beta-alanine suggests this type of exercise may not be influenced by increased buffering capacity.

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Amelia J. Carr, Gary J. Slater, Christopher J. Gore, Brian Dawson and Louise M. Burke

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to determine the effect and reliability of acute and chronic sodium bicarbonate ingestion for 2000-m rowing ergometer performance (watts) and blood bicarbonate concentration [HCO3 ].

Methods:

In a crossover study, 7 well-trained rowers performed paired 2000-m rowing ergometer trials under 3 double-blinded conditions: (1) 0.3 grams per kilogram of body mass (g/kg BM) acute bicarbonate; (2) 0.5 g/kg BM daily chronic bicarbonate for 3 d; and (3) calcium carbonate placebo, in semi-counterbalanced order. For 2000-m performance and [HCO3 ], we examined differences in effects between conditions via pairwise comparisons, with differences interpreted in relation to the likelihood of exceeding smallest worthwhile change thresholds for each variable. We also calculated the within-subject variation (percent typical error).

Results:

There were only trivial differences in 2000-m performance between placebo (277 ± 60 W), acute bicarbonate (280 ± 65 W) and chronic bicarbonate (282 ± 65 W); however, [HCO3 ] was substantially greater after acute bicarbonate, than with chronic loading and placebo. Typical error for 2000-m mean power was 2.1% (90% confidence interval 1.4 to 4.0%) for acute bicarbonate, 3.6% (2.5 to 7.0%) for chronic bicarbonate, and 1.6% (1.1 to 3.0%) for placebo. Postsupplementation [HCO3 ] typical error was 7.3% (5.0 to 14.5%) for acute bicarbonate, 2.9% (2.0 to 5.7%) for chronic bicarbonate and 6.0% (1.4 to 11.9%) for placebo.

Conclusion:

Performance in 2000-m rowing ergometer trials may not substantially improve after acute or chronic bicarbonate loading. However, performances will be reliable with both acute and chronic bicarbonate loading protocols.

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David M. Morris, Rebecca S. Shafer, Kimberly R. Fairbrother and Mark W. Woodall

The authors sought to determine the effects of oral lactate consumption on blood bicarbonate (HCO3−) levels, pH levels, and performance during high-intensity exercise on a cycle ergometer. Subjects (N = 11) were trained male and female cyclists. Time to exhaustion (TTE) and total work were measured during high-intensity exercise bouts 80 min after the consumption of 120 mg/kg body mass of lactate (L), an equal volume of placebo (PL), or no treatment (NT). Blood HCO3− increased significantly after ingestion of lactate (p < .05) but was not affected in PL or NT (p > .05). No changes in pH were observed as a result of treatment. TTE and total work during the performance test increased significantly by 17% in L compared with PL and NT (p = .02). No significant differences in TTE and total work were seen between the PL and NT protocols (p = .85). The authors conclude that consuming 120 mg/kg body mass of lactate increases HCO3− levels and increases exercise performance during high-intensity cycling ergometry to exhaustion.

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Amelia J. Carr, Gary J. Slater, Christopher J. Gore, Brian Dawson and Louise M. Burke

Context:

Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is often ingested at a dose of 0.3 g/kg body mass (BM), but ingestion protocols are inconsistent in terms of using solution or capsules, ingestion period, combining NaHCO3 with sodium citrate (Na3C6H5O7), and coingested food and fluid.

Purpose:

To quantify the effect of ingesting 0.3 g/kg NaHCO3 on blood pH, [HCO3−], and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms over the subsequent 3 hr using a range of ingestion protocols and, thus, to determine an optimal protocol.

Methods:

In a crossover design, 13 physically active subjects undertook 8 NaHCO3 experimental ingestion protocols and 1 placebo protocol. Capillary blood was taken every 30 min and analyzed for pH and [HCO3−]. GI symptoms were quantified every 30 min via questionnaire. Statistics used were pairwise comparisons between protocols; differences were interpreted in relation to smallest worthwhile changes for each variable. A likelihood of >75% was a substantial change.

Results:

[HCO3−] and pH were substantially greater than in placebo for all other ingestion protocols at almost all time points. When NaHCO3 was coingested with food, the greatest [HCO3−] (30.9 mmol/kg) and pH (7.49) and lowest incidence of GI symptoms were observed. The greatest incidence of GI side effects was observed 90 min after ingestion of 0.3 g/kg NaHCO3 solution.

Conclusions:

The changes in pH and [HCO3−] for the 8 NaHCO3-ingestion protocols were similar, so an optimal protocol cannot be recommended. However, the results suggest that NaHCO3 coingested with a high-carbohydrate meal should be taken 120–150 min before exercise to induce substantial blood alkalosis and reduce GI symptoms.

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Kagan J. Ducker, Brian Dawson and Karen E. Wallman

Beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to improve exercise performance in short-term, high-intensity efforts.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to assess if beta-alanine supplementation could improve 800 m track running performance in male recreational club runners (n = 18).

Methods:

Participants completed duplicate trials (2 presupplementation, 2 postsupplementation) of an 800 m race, separated by 28 days of either beta-alanine (n = 9; 80 mg·kg−1BM·day−1) or placebo (n = 9) supplementation.

Results:

Using ANCOVA (presupplementation times as covariate), postsupplementation race times were significantly faster following beta-alanine (p = .02), with post- versus presupplementation race times being faster after beta-alanine (–3.64 ± 2.70 s, –2.46 ± 1.80%) but not placebo (–0.59 ± 2.54 s, –0.37 ± 1.62%). These improvements were supported by a moderate effect size (d = 0.70) and a very likely (99%) benefit in the beta-alanine group after supplementation. Split times (ANCOVA) at 400 m were significantly faster (p = .02) postsupplementation in the beta-alanine group, compared with placebo. This was supported by large effect sizes (d = 1.05–1.19) and a very likely (99%) benefit at the 400 and 800 m splits when comparing pre- to postsupplementation with beta-alanine. In addition, the first and second halves of the race were faster post- compared with presupplementation following beta-alanine (1st half –1.22 ± 1.81 s, likely 78% chance of benefit; 2nd half –2.38 ± 2.31 s, d = 0.83, very likely 98% chance of benefit). No significant differences between groups or pre- and postsupplementation were observed for postrace blood lactate and pH.

Conclusion:

Overall, 28 days of beta-alanine supplementation (80 mg·kg-1BM·day-1) improved 800 m track performance in recreational club runners.

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Amelia J. Carr, Christopher J. Gore and Brian Dawson

Introduction:

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of ingested caffeine, sodium bicarbonate, and their combination on 2,000-m rowing performance, as well as on induced alkalosis (blood and urine pH and blood bicarbonate concentration [HCO3−]), blood lactate concentration ([La]), gastrointestinal symptoms, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE).

Methods:

In a double-blind, crossover study, 8 well-trained rowers performed 2 baseline tests and 4 × 2,000-m rowing-ergometer tests after ingesting 6 mg/kg caffeine, 0.3 g/kg body mass (BM) sodium bicarbonate, both supplements combined, or a placebo. Capillary blood samples were collected at preingestion, pretest, and posttest time points. Pairwise comparisons were made between protocols, and differences were interpreted in relation to the likelihood of exceeding the smallestworthwhile- change thresholds for each variable. A likelihood of >75% was considered a substantial change.

Results:

Caffeine supplementation elicited a substantial improvement in 2,000-m mean power, with mean (± SD) values of 354 ± 67 W vs. placebo with 346 ± 61 W. Pretest [HCO3−] reached 29.2 ± 2.9 mmol/L with caffeine + bicarbonate and 29.1 ± 1.9 mmol/L with bicarbonate. There were substantial increases in pretest [HCO3−] and pH and posttest urine pH after bicarbonate and caffeine + bicarbonate supplementation compared with placebo, but unclear performance effects.

Conclusions:

Rowers’ performance in 2,000-m efforts can improve by ~2% with 6 mg/kg BM caffeine supplementation. When caffeine is combined with sodium bicarbonate, gastrointestinal symptoms may prevent performance enhancement, so further investigation of ingestion protocols that minimize side effects is required.

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Kagan J. Ducker, Brian Dawson and Karen E. Wallman

Beta-alanine supplementation has been shown to improve exercise performance in short-term high-intensity efforts. However, whether supplementation with beta-alanine is ergogenic to actual sporting events remains unclear and should be investigated in field testing or race simulations.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to assess if beta-alanine supplementation could improve 2,000-m rowing-ergometer performance in well-trained male rowers.

Methods:

Participants (N = 16) completed duplicate trials (2 × before supplementation and 2 × after supplementation) of a 2,000-m rowing-ergometer race separated by 28 days of either beta-alanine (n = 7; 80 mg · kg−1 BM · d−1) or placebo (n = 9; glucose) supplementation.

Results:

Beta-alanine group (pooled) race times improved by 2.9 ± 4.1 s and placebo group slowed by 1.2 ± 2.9 s, but these results were inconclusive for performance enhancement (p = .055, ES = 0.20, smallest worthwhile change = 49% beneficial). Race split times and average power outputs only significantly improved with beta-alanine at the 750-m (time –0.7 s, p = .01, power +3.6%, p = .03) and 1,000-m (time –0.5 s, p = .01, power +2.9%, p = .02) distances. Blood La and pH postrace values were not different between groups before or after supplementation.

Conclusions:

Overall, 28 d of beta-alanine supplementation with 80 mg · kg−1 BM · d−1 (~7 g/d) did not conclusively improve 2,000-m rowing-ergometer performance in well-trained rowers.