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Mahmoud S. El-Sayed, Angelheart J.M. Rattu, Xia Lin and Thomas Reilly

We examined the effects of active warm-down (AWD) and carbohydrate ingestion on plasma levels of free fatty acids (FFAs) and glucose changes into recovery following prolonged submaximal exercise. Subjects in Group 1 cycled at 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max); carbohydrate (CHO) or placebo (PLA) was ingested 15 min before and 45 min during exercise. In the AWD experiment, exercise was followed immediately by an AWD and subjects were given a placebo solution. Group 2 subjects consumed CHO or PLA at 75 min during and after exercise at 70% VO2max. ANOVA revealed a significant decrease in blood glucose levels only in Group 1, with a concomitant increase in FFA concentrations during exercise in both groups. Carbohydrate ingestion in Groups 1 and 2 significantly decreased the normal response of FFAs during exercise and markedly reduced the normal elevation of FFAs in recovery. AWD following submaximal exercise had no effect on plasma FFA elevations in recovery. These results suggest that carbohydrate ingestion, but not active warm-down, attenuates FFA elevations in recovery.

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Judith Allgrove, Emily Farrell, Michael Gleeson, Gary Williamson and Karen Cooper

This study investigated the effects of regular consumption of dark chocolate (DC), rich in cocoa polyphenols, on plasma metabolites, hormones, and markers of oxidative stress after prolonged exhaustive exercise. Twenty active men cycled at 60% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) for 1.5 hr, with the intensity increased to 90% VO2max for a 30-s period every 10 min, followed by a ride to exhaustion at 90% VO2max. In the 2 wk before exercise participants consumed 40 g of DC or an isocarbohydrate-fat control cocoa liquor–free chocolate (CON) twice daily and once 2 hr before exercise in a randomized, counterbalanced, crossover design. Venous blood samples were taken immediately before exercise, postexercise (fixed duration), postexhaustion, and after 1 hr of recovery. F2-isoprostanes were significantly lower (post hoc tests: p < .001) at exhaustion and after 1 hr of recovery with DC. Oxidized low-density lipoproteins were significantly lower with DC (p < .001) both before and after exercise and at exhaustion. DC was also associated with ~21% greater rises in free fatty acids during exercise (main effect: p < .05). Changes in circulating glucose, insulin, glucagon, cortisol, and interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, and IL-1ra were unaffected by treatment. Time to exhaustion at 90% VO2max was not significantly different between trials (398 ± 204 and 374 ± 194 s for DC and CON, respectively). These results suggest that regular DC intake is associated with reduced oxidative-stress markers and increased mobilization of free fatty acids after exercise but has no observed effect on exercise performance.

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Ine Wigernæs, Sigmund B. Strømme and Arne T. Høstmark

The present study investigated the effect of active recovery (AR) as compared to rest recovery (RR) upon FFA concentrations following moderate- (MI) or high-intensity (HI) running. Fourteen well-trained males (23.7±6 years. V̇O2max = 69.5±1.8ml · min−1kg−1) were randomly assigned into two trials (HI = 30 min at 82% of V̇O2max; MI = 60 min at 75% of V̇O2max). Within each group, the subject completed two sets of experiments of running followed by either AR (15 min running at 50% of V̇O2max) or RR (complete rest in the supine position). Plasma volume changes after the exercise did not deviate between the AR or RR trials. In both the HI and Ml trials, AR resulted in lower FFA peaks and lower overall FFA concentrations while performing AR (p<.05). However, upon discontinuing AR. there was a rise in the FFA concentration. At 120-min post-exercise, the FFA concentrations after AR and RR were not significantly different. The changes in the FFA/albumin ratio were similar to the FFA responses. It is concluded that AR may counteract the rise in FFA 5–15 minutes after exercise.

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Isaiah Trice and Emily M. Haymes

In this study a double-blind design was used to determine the effect of caffeine on time to exhaustion and on associated metabolic and circulatory measures. Eight male subjects ingested either caffeine (5 mg/kg body weight) or a placebo 1 hr prior to exercise at 85-90% of maximum workload. Subjects were encouraged to complete three 30-min intermittent cycling periods at 70 rpm with 5 min rest between each. The exercise was terminated when the subject failed to complete three 30-min periods or failed to maintain 70 rpm for at least 15 s consecutively. Serum free fatty acids, glycerol, blood glucose, lactate, perceived exertion, heart rate, and O2 cost were measured. The time to exhaustion was significantly longer during the caffeine trial than during the placebo trial. Serum free fatty acid levels were significantly different between trials. The decline in blood glucose levels was significantly less during the caffeine trial than during the placebo trial. There were no significant differences between trials for the other measures. It was concluded that caffeine increases time to exhaustion when trained subjects cycled intermittently at high levels of intensity.

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Diana E. Thomas, John R. Brotherhood and Janette Brand Miller

It was hypothesized that slowly digested carbohydrates, that is, low glycemic index (GI) foods, eaten before prolonged strenuous exercise would increase the blood glucose concentration toward the end of exercise. Six trained cyclists pedaled on a cycle ergometer at 65-70% VO2max 60 min after ingestion of each of four test meals: a low-GI and a high-GI powdered food and a low-GI and a high-GI breakfast cereal, all providing 1 g of available carbohydrate per kilogram of body mass. Plasma glucose levels after more that 90 min of exercise were found to correlate inversely with the observed GI of the foods (p < .01). Free fatty acid levels during the last hour of exercise also correlated inversely with the GI (p < .05). The findings suggest that the slow digestion of carbohydrate in the preevent food favors higher concentrations of fuels in the blood toward the end of exercise.

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Sharon L. Miller, Carl M. Maresh, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Cara B. Ebbeling, Shannon Lennon and Nancy R. Rodriguez

The interaction of substrates and hormones in response to ingestion of intact proteins during endurance exercise is unknown. This study characterized substrate and hormone responses to supplementation during endurance exercise. Nine male runners participated in 3 trials in which a non-fat (MILK), carbohydrate (CHO), or placebo (PLA) drink was consumed during a 2-hour treadmill >· run at 65% V̇O2max. Circulating levels of insulin, glucagon, epinephrine, norepi-nephrine, growth hormone, testosterone, and cortisol were measured. Plasma substrates included glucose, lactate, free fatty acids, and select amino acids. Except for insulin and cortisol, hormones increased with exercise. While post-exercise insulin concentrations declined similarly in all 3 trials, the glucagon increase was greatest following MILK consumption. CHO blunted the post-exercise increase in growth hormone compared to levels in MILK. Free fatty acids and plasma amino acids also were responsive to nutritional supplementation with both CHO and MILK attenuating the rise in free fatty acids compared to the increase observed in PLA. Correspondingly, respiratory exchange ratio increased during CHO. Essential amino acids increased significantly only after MILK and were either unchanged or decreased in CHO. PLA was characterized by a decrease in branched-chain amino acid concentrations. Modest nutritional supplementation in this study altered the endocrine response as well as substrate availability and utilization following and during an endurance run, respectively.

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Andrew C. Morris, Ira Jacobs, Tom M. McLellan, Abbey Klugerman, Lawrence C.H. Wang and Jiri Zamecnik

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of ginseng extract ingestion on physiological responses to intense exercise. Subjects performed a control ride (CN) on a cycle ergometer, followed by placebo (PL) and ginseng (GS) treatments. Ginseng was ingested as 8 or 16 mg/kg body weight daily for 7 days prior to trial GS. Venous blood was sampled for FFA, lactate, and glucose analyses. Due to similar findings for both dose groups, the subjects were considered as one group. Lactate, FFA, VO2, VE, and RPE increased significantly from 10 through 40 min. RER increased during the first 10 min of exercise and then remained stable, with no intertrial differences. Glucose did not vary significantly from 0 to 40 min or among treatments. RPE was significantly greater and time to exhaustion was significantly less during trial CN than PL or GS, while PL and GS trials were similar. The data indicated that with 1 week of pretreatment there is no ergogenic effect of ingesting the ginseng saponin extract.

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Caitlin Campbell, Diana Prince, Marlia Braun, Elizabeth Applegate and Gretchen A. Casazza

Numerous studies have shown that ingesting carbohydrate in the form of a drink can improve exercise performance by maintaining blood glucose levels and sparing endogenous glycogen stores. The effectiveness of carbohydrate gels or jellybeans in improving endurance performance has not been examined. On 4 separate days and 1–2 hr after a standardized meal, 16 male (8; 35.8 ± 2.5 yr) and female (8; 32.4 ± 2.4 yr) athletes cycled at 75% VO2peak for 80 min followed by a 10-km time trial. Participants consumed isocaloric (0.6 g of carbohydrate per kg per hour) amounts of randomly assigned sports beans, sports drink, gel, or water only, before, during, and after exercise. Blood glucose concentrations were similar at rest between treatments and decreased significantly during exercise with the water trial only. Blood glucose concentrations for all carbohydrate supplements were significantly, p < .05, higher than water during the 80-min exercise bout and during the time trial (5.7 ± 0.2 mmol/L for sports beans, 5.6 ± 0.2 mmol/L for sports drink, 5.7 ± 0.3 mmol/L for gel, and 4.6 ± 0.3 mmol/L for water). There were no significant differences in blood glucose between carbohydrate treatments. The 10-km time trials using all 3 carbohydrate treatments were significantly faster (17.2 ± 0.6 min for sports beans, 17.3 ± 0.6 min for sports drink, and 17.3 ± 0.6 min for gel) than water (17.8 ± 0.7 min). All carbohydrate-supplement types were equally effective in maintaining blood glucose levels during exercise and improving exercise performance compared with water only.

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Lauree M. Grubbs

Women, considering swimming as a form of exercise to lose weight, have been discouraged from doing so, since researchers suggest that swimming does not burn fat as efficiently as land exercise. The purpose of this study was to compare carbohydrate and fat utilization by women engaging in two different forms of exercise, walking and swimming, at the same intensity and duration. Subjects were 20 moderately trained female subjects, walkers (W) = 10 and swimmers (S) = 10; ages 18-40 years. Measurements of blood free fatty acids (FFA), glycerol, lactate, glucose, free fatty acid turnover (FFAT), respiratory quotient (RQ), and fat oxidation were made during 60 minutes of walking or swimming at the same exercise intensity. Multivariate analysis of variance determined no significant differences between groups in net energy expenditure (NEE), RQ, fat oxidation, blood FFA, glycerol, glucose, and FFAT(p > .05). There was a significant difference between groups in blood lactic acid levels (p < .01). Since it was found that swimming and walking at the same duration and intensity bum similar amounts of fat and carbohydrate as energy sources during exercise, women may find swimming to be a viable form of exercise for weight control.

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Jacqueline R. Berning

Studies investigating fat as a fuel for exercise have found that increasing free fatty acids during exercise tends to spare muscle glycogen due to increased utilization of free fatty acids for energy, which in turn can enhance the capacity for endurance exercise. Medium-chain triglycerides do not delay gastric emptying or absorption. They are broken down by lipase in the stomach and duodenum to glycerol and medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). Since MCFAs are metabolized as quickly as glucose, it has been speculated that they might provide an alternative carbon source for the muscle during prolonged exercise. While the majority of studies investigating the role of medium-chain triglycerides and exercise have found no sparing effect of muscle glycogen after consumption of medium-chain triglycerides, two recent studies have presented conflicting results. This review will investigate the speculated role of medium-chain triglycerides as an alternative fuel source for exercising muscles and will discuss the possibility that medium-chain triglycerides preserve muscle glycogen during exercise,