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Maïtel Botcazou, Christophe Jacob, Arlette Gratas-Delamarche, Sophie Vincent, Danièle Bentué-Ferrer, Paul Delamarche and Hassane Zouhal

The purpose of this study was to clarify the effect of sex on plasma catecholamine responses to sprint exercise in adolescents and adults. Thirty-six untrained participants took part in this study—9 girls and 10 boys (Tanner Stage 4) and 9 women and 8 men. Each participant performed a 6-s sprint test on a cycle ergometer. Plasma adrenaline (A) and noradrenaline (NA) concentrations were determined successively at rest (A0 and NA0), immediately after the 6-s sprint test (AEX and NAEX), and after 5 min of recovery (A5 and NA5). Peak power, expressed in absolute values or relative to body weight and fat-free mass, was significantly higher in boys than in girls and higher in men than in women (p < .001). No sex effect was observed in AEX in the adolescents, but the NA increase was significantly higher in boys in response to the 6-s sprint (p < .05). In adults, no sex difference was found in NAEX, but AEX was significantly higher in men than in women (p < .05). NAEX was significantly higher in women than in girls (p < .05), and AEX was significantly higher in men than in boys (p < .01). The results of this study suggest that male and female adolescents and young adults might exhibit different catecholamine responses to sprint exercise.

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Melissa J. Crowe, Anthony S. Leicht and Warwick L. Spinks

This study investigated the effects of caffeine on repeated, anaerobic exercise using a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. Seventeen subjects (five female) underwent cognitive (reaction time, number recall) and blood (glucose, potassium, catecholamines, lactate) testing before and after consuming caffeine (6 mg/kg), placebo, or nothing (control). An exercise test (two 60 s maximal cycling bouts) was conducted 90 min after caffeine/placebo consumption. Plasma caffeine concentrations significantly increased after caffeine ingestion, however, there were no positive effects on cognitive or blood parameters except a significant decrease in plasma potassium concentrations at rest. Potentially negative effects of caffeine included significantly higher blood lactate compared to control and significantly slower time to peak power in exercise bout 2 compared to control and placebo. Caffeine had no significant effect on peak power, work output, RPE, or peak heart rate. In conclusion, caffeine had no ergogenic effect on repeated, maximal cycling bouts and may be detrimental to anaerobic performance.

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Edward E. Pistilli, David C. Nieman, Dru A. Henson, David E. Kaminsky, Alan C. Utter, Debra M. Vinci, J. Mark Davis, Omar R. Fagoaga and Sandra L. Nehlsen-Cannarella

Immune changes in 75 younger (age 37.4 ± 0.9 years) and 23 older (57.0 ± 1.4 years) runners were compared after a competitive marathon, with blood samples collected pre- and immediately and 1.5 hr postrace. Race times were slower for the older group (4.7 ± 0.2 vs. 4.3 ± 0.1 hr, p = .015), but both groups performed at similar intensity (83.4 ± 0.9 vs. 82.9 ± 0.5% HRmax). The pattern of change in plasma cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and blood leukocyte subsets did not differ significantly between the groups postrace. Blood lymphocyte counts were 20–24% lower in the older runners at each time point because of reduced T-cell counts. Postrace, plasma levels of IL-1ra, -10, -6, and -8 rose strongly in all runners, and salivary IgA secretion rate decreased, but no group differences in the pattern of change were noted. In conclusion, younger and older runners experienced similar hormonal and immune changes after running a marathon.

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Marcos Echegaray, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Carl M. Maresh, Deborah Riebe, Robert W. Kenefick, John W. Castellani, Stavros Kavouras and Douglas Casa

This study assessed the plasma glucose (PG) and hormonal responses to carbohydrate ingestion, prior to exercise in the heat, in a hypohydrated state versus partial rehydration with intravenous solutions. On separate days, 8 subjects (21.0 ± 1.8 years; 57.3 ± 3.7 ml · kg−1 · min−1) exercised at 50% V̇O2maxin a 33 °C environment until a 4% body weight loss was achieved. Following this, subjects were rehydrated (25 ml · kg−1) with either: 0.45% IV saline (45IV), 0.9% IV saline (9IV), or no fluid (NF). Subjects then ingested 1 g · kg−1 of carbohydrate and underwent an exercise test (treadmill walking, 50% V̇O2max, 36 °C) for up to 90 min. Compared to pre-exercise level (294 mg · dl−1), PG increased significantly (>124 mg · dl−1) at 15 min of the exercise test in all trials and remained significantly elevated for 75 min in NF, 30 min more than in the 2 rehydration trials. Although serum Insulin increased significantly at 15 min of exercise in the 45IV trial (7.2 ± 1.2 vs. 23.7 ± 4.7 μIU · ml−1) no significant differences between trials were observed. Peak plasma norepinephrine was significantly higher in NF (640 ± 66 pg · ml−1) compared to the 45IV and 9IV trials (472 ± 55 and 474 ± 52 pg · ml−1, respectively). In conclusion, ingestion of a small solid carbohydrate load prior to exercise in the 4% hypohydration level resulted in prolonged high PG concentration compared to partial IV rehydration.

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John L. Ivy, Lynne Kammer, Zhenping Ding, Bei Wang, Jeffrey R. Bernard, Yi-Hung Liao and Jungyun Hwang

Context:

Not all athletic competitions lend themselves to supplementation during the actual event, underscoring the importance of preexercise supplementation to extend endurance and improve exercise performance. Energy drinks are composed of ingredients that have been found to increase endurance and improve physical performance.

Purpose:

The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of a commercially available energy drink, ingested before exercise, on endurance performance.

Methods:

The study was a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. After a 12-hr fast, 6 male and 6 female trained cyclists (mean age 27.3 ± 1.7 yr, mass 68.9 ± 3.2 kg, and VO2 54.9 ± 2.3 ml · kg–1 · min–1) consumed 500 ml of either flavored placebo or Red Bull Energy Drink (ED; 2.0 g taurine, 1.2 g glucuronolactone, 160 mg caffeine, 54 g carbohydrate, 40 mg niacin, 10 mg pantothenic acid, 10 mg vitamin B6, and 10 μg vitamin B12) 40 min before a simulated cycling time trial. Performance was measured as time to complete a standardized amount of work equal to 1 hr of cycling at 70% Wmax.

Results:

Performance improved with ED compared with placebo (3,690 ± 64 s vs. 3,874 ± 93 s, p < .01), but there was no difference in rating of perceived exertion between treatments. β-Endorphin levels increased during exercise, with the increase for ED approaching significance over placebo (p = .10). Substrate utilization, as measured by open-circuit spirometry, did not differ between treatments.

Conclusion:

These results demonstrate that consuming a commercially available ED before exercise can improve endurance performance and that this improvement might be in part the result of increased effort without a concomitant increase in perceived exertion.

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Martin J. Turner, Marc V. Jones, David Sheffield, Matthew J. Slater, Jamie B. Barker and James J. Bell

This study assessed whether cardiovascular (CV) reactivity patterns indexing challenge and threat states predicted batting performance in elite male county (N = 12) and national (N = 30) academy cricketers. Participants completed a batting test under pressure, before which CV reactivity was recorded in response to ego-threatening audio instructions. Self-reported self-efficacy, control, achievement goals, and emotions were also assessed. Challenge CV reactivity predicted superior performance in the Batting Test, compared with threat CV reactivity. The relationships between self-report measures and CV reactivity, and self-report measures and performance were inconsistent. A small subsample of participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed well, reported greater self-efficacy than participants who exhibited threat CV reactivity, but performed poorly. Also a small subsample of participants who exhibited challenge reactivity, but performed poorly, had higher avoidance goals than participants with challenge reactivity who performed well. The mechanisms for the observed relationship between CV reactivity and performance are discussed alongside implications for future research and applied practice.

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Jozef Langfort, Ryszard Zarzeczny, Krystyna Nazar and Hanna Kaciuba-Uscilko

The purpose of this study was to discover whether severe dietary carbohydrate (CHO) restriction modifies the relationship between exercise intensity and hormonal responses to exercise. Changes in the plasma adrenaline (A), noradrenaline (NA), growth hormone (hGH), testosterone (T), and blood lactate (LA) during an incremental exercise performed until volitional exhaustion were determined in 8 physically active volunteers after 3 days on low CHO (<5% of energy content; L-CHO) and isocaloric mixed (M) diets. Following L-CHO diet, the basal plasma A, NA, and hGH concentrations were increased, whilst T and LA levels were decreased. During exercise all the hormones increased exponentially, with thresholds close to that of LA. Neither the magnitude nor the pattern of the hormonal changes were affected by L-CHO diet except the NA threshold, which was lowered. Blood LA response to exercise was diminished and LA threshold was shifted towards higher loads by L-CHO diet. It is concluded that restriction of CHO intake (a) does not affect the pattern of changes in plasma A, hGH, and T concentrations during graded exercise but lowers NA threshold, indicating increased sensitivity of the sympathetic nervous system to exercise stimulus; (b) alters the basal and exercise levels of circulating hormones, which may have an impact on the balance between anabolic and catabolic processes and subsequently influence the effectiveness of training.

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Anna Valenzano, Fiorenzo Moscatelli, Antonio Ivano Triggiani, Laura Capranica, Giulia De Ioannon, Maria Francesca Piacentini, Sergio Mignardi, Giovanni Messina, Stefano Villani and Giuseppe Cibelli

Purpose:

To evaluate the effect of a solo ultraendurance open-water swim on autonomic and nonautonomic control of heart rate (HR).

Methods:

A male athlete (age 48 y, height 172 cm, body mass 68 kg, BMI 23 kg/m2) underwent HR-variability (HRV) and circulating catecholamine evaluations at different times before and after an ultraendurance swim crossing the Adriatic Sea from Italy to Albania. HRV was measured in 5-min segments and quantified by time and frequency domain. Circulating catecholamines were estimated by salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) assay.

Results:

The athlete completed 78.1 km in 23:44 h:min. After arrival, sAA levels had increased by 102.6%. Time- and frequency-domain HRV indexes decreased, as well (mean RR interval, −29,7%; standard deviation of normal mean RR interval, −63,1%; square root of mean squared successive differences between normal-to-normal RR intervals, −49.3%; total power, −74.3%; low frequency, −78.0%; high frequency, −76.4%), while HR increased by 41.8%. At 16-h recovery, sAA had returned to preevent values, while a stable tachycardia was accompanied by reduced HRV measures.

Conclusion:

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study reporting cardiac autonomic adjustments to an extreme and challenging ultraendurance open-water swim. The findings confirmed that the autonomic drives depend on exercise efforts. Since HRV changes did not mirror the catecholamine response 16 h postevent, the authors assume that the ultraendurance swim differently influenced cardiac function by both adaptive autonomic and nonautonomic patterns.

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Yves Eberhard, Jacqueline Eterradossi and Bettina Debû

The effects of exercise and of a physical conditioning program on 11 subjects (7 males, 4 females, aged 15 to 20) with Down’s syndrome (DS) were analyzed. Metabolic responses were evaluated before and after two ergometric cycle exercise tests: an incremental exercise to symptom limited VO2 max. and an endurance test performed at 60% of maximal aerobic power. Plasma substrates, electrolytes, catecholamines, lipoprotein lipid profiles, and superoxide dismutase were assayed immediately before and after these tests. The results indicated (a) a low blood lactate level for peak exercise, (b) slow free fatty acid mobilization at the start of exercise, (c) a low level of cholesterol HDL and a high level of pre-beta VLDL at rest, (d) adjustment to nearly normal lipid profiles with endurance activity, and (e) differences between before and after training for superoxide dismutase levels in subjects with DS. These results suggest that endurance training could have long-term effects on the pathophysiological consequences of DS.

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Keith B. Wheeler and Keith A. Garleb

The use of gamma-oryzanol and phytosterols is gaining popularity among various athletic populations. These compounds are being consumed in the belief that they elicit anabolic effects ranging from increased testosterone production and release to stimulating human growth hormone release. However, published scientific studies suggest that these compounds are poorly absorbed. Furthermore, animal studies indicate that when these compounds are injected subcutaneously or intravenously, they induce antianabolic or catabolic activity. Normally, less than 5% of orally consumed phytosterols are absorbed from the Intestinal tract, with the majority being excreted in the feces. Intravenous or subcutaneous injections of gamma-oryzanol in rats have been shown to suppress luteinizing hormone release, reduce growth hormone synthesis and release, and increase release of the catecholamines, dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. Although it hasn't been directly measured, this metabolic milieu, if accurate, may actually reduce testosterone production.