This study examined trends in stimulant use and attitudes towards use among American collegiate hockey athletes. All 139 players in one college hockey conference completed a comprehensive questionnaire. Over half of the athletes (51.8%) confrmed stimulant use before a hockey game or practice. About half of the respondents (48.5%) reported having used ephedra at least one time to improve athletic performance. Additionally, 17.4% reported using pseudoephedrine to improve performance in the 30 days prior to survey administration. Over half (55.4%) were aware of the recent national ban on ephedra. Fifty-nine% stated the national ban made them less likely to use ephedra products. The majority of athletes began use prior to college. Coaches, athletic trainers, and team physicians should be aware of athletes’ patterns of stimulant use. Improved educational efforts directed at younger athletes are necessary to deter abuse of metabolic stimulants.
Robert T. Bents and Erik Marsh
Selasi Attipoe, Pieter A. Cohen, Amy Eichner, and Patricia A. Deuster
Many studies have found that some dietary supplement product labels do not accurately reflect the actual ingredients. However, studies have not been performed to determine if ingredients in the same dietary supplement product vary over time. The objective of this study was to assess the consistency of stimulant ingredients in popular sports supplements sold in the United States over a 9-month period. Three samples of nine popular sports supplements were purchased over the 9-month period. The 27 samples were analyzed for caffeine and several other stimulants (including adulterants). The identity and quantity of stimulants were compared with stimulants listed on the label and stimulants found at earlier time points to determine the variability in individual products over the 9-month period. The primary outcome measure was the variability of stimulant amounts in the products examined. Many supplements did not contain the same number and quantity of stimulants at all time points over the 9-month period. Caffeine content varied widely in five of the six caffeinated supplements compared with the initial measurement (–7% to +266%). In addition, the stimulants—synephrine, octopamine, cathine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, strychnine, and methylephedrine—occurred in variable amounts in eight of the nine products. The significance of these findings is uncertain: the sample size was insufficient to support statistical analysis. In our sample of nine popular sports supplements, the presence and quantity of stimulants varied over a 9-month period. However, future studies are warranted to determine if the variability found is significant and generalizable to other supplements.
Anthony D. Mahon, Megan E. Woodruff, Mary P. Horn, Andrea D. Marjerrison, and Andrew S. Cole
The effect of stimulant medication use by children with attention deficit/hyper-activity disorder (ADHD) on the rating of perceived exertion (RPE)—heart rate (HR) relationship was examined. Children with ADHD (n = 20; 11.3 ± 1.8 yrs) and children without ADHD (n = 25; 11.2 ± 2.1 yrs) were studied. Children with ADHD were examined while on their usual dose of medication on the day of study. HR and RPE, using the OMNI RPE scale, were assessed during a graded exercise to peak voluntary effort. The RPE-HR relationship was determined individually and the intercept and slope responses were compared between groups. The intercept was 132.4 ± 19.5 bpm for children with ADHD and 120.6 ± 15.7 bpm for children without ADHD. The slope was 7.3 ± 1.9 bpm/RPE for the children with ADHD and 8.1 ± 1.6 bpm/RPE for the children without ADHD. For the group with ADHD the intercept and slope values fell outside of the 95% CI observed in the control group. The altered relationship between RPE and HR with stimulant medication use in children with ADHD has practical implications with respect to the use of HR and RPE to monitor exercise intensity.
Melinda M. Manore
Weight-loss supplements typically fall into 1 of 4 categories depending on their hypothesized mechanism of action: products that block the absorption of fat or carbohydrate, stimulants that increase thermogenesis, products that change metabolism and improve body composition, and products that suppress appetite or give a sense of fullness. Each category is reviewed, and an overview of the current science related to their effectiveness is presented. While some weight-loss supplements produce modest effects (<2 kg weight loss), many have either no or few randomized clinical trials examining their effectiveness. A number of factors confound research results associated with the efficacy of weight-loss supplements, such as small sample sizes, short intervention periods, little or no follow-up, and whether the supplement is given in combination with an energy-restricted diet or increased exercise expenditure. There is no strong research evidence indicating that a specific supplement will produce significant weight loss (>2 kg), especially in the long term. Some foods or supplements such as green tea, fiber, and calcium supplements or dairy products may complement a healthy lifestyle to produce small weight losses or prevent weight gain over time. Weight-loss supplements containing metabolic stimulants (e.g., caffeine, ephedra, synephrine) are most likely to produce adverse side effects and should be avoided.
Francisco Javier Diaz-Lara, Juan del Coso, Javier Portillo, Francisco Areces, Jose Manuel García, and Javier Abián-Vicén
Although caffeine is one of the most commonly used substances in combat sports, information about its ergogenic effects on these disciplines is very limited.
To determine the effectiveness of ingesting a moderate dose of caffeine to enhance overall performance during a simulated Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) competition.
Fourteen elite BJJ athletes participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental design. In a random order, the athletes ingested either 3 mg/kg body mass of caffeine or a placebo (cellulose, 0 mg/kg) and performed 2 simulated BJJ combats (with 20 min rest between them), following official BJJ rules. Specific physical tests such as maximal handgrip dynamometry, maximal height during a countermovement jump, permanence during a maximal static-lift test, peak power in a bench-press exercise, and blood lactate concentration were measured at 3 specific times: before the first combat and immediately after the first and second combats. The combats were video-recorded to analyze fight actions.
After the caffeine ingestion, participants spent more time in offensive actions in both combats and revealed higher blood lactate values (P < .05). Performance in all physical tests carried out before the first combat was enhanced with caffeine (P < .05), and some improvements remained after the first combat (eg, maximal static-lift test and bench-press exercise; P < .05). After the second combat, the values in all physical tests were similar between caffeine and placebo.
Caffeine might be an effective ergogenic aid for improving intensity and physical performance during successive elite BJJ combats.
Rory Warnock, Owen Jeffries, Stephen Patterson, and Mark Waldron
Purpose: To investigate the effects of caffeine (C), taurine (T), caffeine and taurine coingestion (C +T), or placebo (P) on repeated Wingate cycling performance and associated physiological responses. Methods: Seven male team-sport players participated in a randomized, single-blind, crossover study, where they completed 3 Wingate tests, each separated by 2 min, an hour after ingesting: C (5 mg/kg body mass [BM]), T (50 mg/kg BM), C +T (5 mg/kg BM + 50 mg/kg BM), or P (5 mg/kg BM) in a gelatin capsule. Performance was measured on an ergometer, and blood lactate, perceived exertion, heart rate (HR), mean arterial pressure (MAP), and rate pressure product (RPP) were measured at rest (presupplement), baseline (1 h postsupplement), and during and after exercise. Results: Magnitude-based inferences revealed that all of the supplements increased (small to moderate, likely to very likely) mean peak power (MPP), peak power (PP), and mean power (MP) compared to P, with greater MPP, PP, and MP in T compared to C (small, possible). Intrasprint fatigue index (%FIIntra) was greater in T compared to P and C (moderate, likely), and %FIInter was lower in T compared to C (small, possible). C and C +T increased HR, MAP, and RPP compared to P and T at baseline (moderate to very large, likely to most likely); however, these only remained higher in C compared to all conditions in the final sprint. Conclusions: T elicited greater improvements in performance compared to P, C, or C +T while reducing the typical chronotropic and pressor effects of C.
Angela L. Spence, Marc Sim, Grant Landers, and Peter Peeling
Both caffeine (CAF) and pseudoephedrine (PSE) are proposed to be central nervous system stimulants. However, during competition, CAF is a permitted substance, whereas PSE is a banned substance at urinary levels >150 μg·ml−1. As a result, this study aimed to compare the effect of CAF versus PSE use on cycling time trial (TT) performance to explore whether the legal stimulant was any less ergogenic than the banned substance. Here, 10 well-trained male cyclists or triathletes were recruited for participation. All athletes were required to attend the laboratory on four separate occasions—including a familiarization trial and three experimental trials, which required participants to complete a simulated 40 km (1,200 kJ) cycling TT after the ingestion of either 200 mg CAF, 180 mg PSE or a nonnutritive placebo (PLA). The results showed that the total time taken and the mean power produced during each TT was not significantly different (p > .05) between trials, despite a 1.3% faster overall time (~57 s) after CAF consumption. Interestingly, the time taken to complete the second half of the TT was significantly faster (p < .05) in CAF as compared with PSE (by 99 s), with magnitude based inferences suggesting a 91% beneficial effect of CAF during the second half of the TT. This investigation further confirms the ergogenic benefits of CAF use during TT performances and further suggests this legal CNS stimulant has a better influence than a supra-therapeutic dose of PSE.
Marios Papaloucas, Kyriaki Kyriazi, and Vassilis Kouloulias
Nowadays, antidoping laboratories are improving detection methods to confirm the use of forbidden substances. These tests are based both on direct identification of new substances or their metabolites and on indirect evaluation of changes in gene, protein, or metabolite patterns (genomics, proteomics, or metabolomics). The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) officially monitors anabolic steroids, hormones, growth factors, β-agonists, hormone and metabolic modulators, masking agents, street drugs, manipulation of blood and blood components, chemical and physical manipulation, gene doping, stimulants, narcotics, glucocorticosteroids, and β-blockers. However, several other substances are under review by WAdA. Pheromones accomplish the structure and function of life from its first step, while they have an impact on the body’s performance. Both testosterone and pheromones have an ergogenic effect that could potentially affect an athlete’s performance. The authors share their questions concerning the potential impact of pheromones in sports.
Oliver Tucha and Klaus W. Lange
Adverse effects of drug therapy on handwriting fluency attributed to increased attentional control have been observed in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The writing performance of 8 children with ADHD was assessed using a digitizing tablet in a double-blind, placebo-controlled test. Participants wrote a phrase in cursive script both on and off stimulant medication writing normally, writing with eyes closed, and writing faster than normal. Medication reduced fluency of normal handwriting movements. When children with ADHD were instructed to write faster than normal or with eyes closed, however, more fluent and even automated movements resulted, even on medication. We also assessed 10 children with ADHD, 10 children without ADHD, 10 adults with ADHD, and 10 adults without ADHD. Participants with ADHD were assessed both on and off medication. Children with ADHD on medication were less fluent than children without ADHD. Without medication, Children with ADHD did not differ from children without ADHD; those on medication showed increased handwriting dysfluency. There was no significant difference between the adults. Both children and adults with ADHD could perform age-appropriate and automated handwriting movements. Children with ADHD on medication, however, gave more attention to the writing process, possibly hampering fluent handwriting movements.
Chiara Gattoni, Michele Girardi, Barry Vincent O’Neill, and Samuele Maria Marcora
Purpose: Sleep deprivation (SD) is very common during ultraendurance competitions. At present, stimulants such as caffeine and naps are the main strategies used to reduce the negative effects of SD on ultraendurance performance. In this case study, the authors describe the application of a novel strategy consisting of the intermittent repetition of SD (SD training [SDT]) during the weeks preceding an ultraendurance competition. Methods: A male ultraendurance runner underwent a 6-week SDT program (consisting of 1 night SD every Sunday) in addition to his regular physical training program before taking part in a 6-day race. Before and after SDT, the participant performed 5 consecutive days of daily 2-hour constant-pace running with SD on the first and third night. Psychological and physiological responses were measured during this multiday test. Results: SDT was well tolerated by the athlete. A visual analysis of the data suggests that including SDT in the weeks preceding an ultraendurance competition may have beneficial effects on sleepiness and perceived mental effort in the context of 5 consecutive days of prolonged running and 2 nights of SD. This multiday test seems a feasible way for assessing ultraendurance athletes in the laboratory. Conclusions: The results provided some encouraging initial information about SDT that needs to be confirmed in a randomized controlled trial in a group of ultraendurance athletes. If confirmed to be effective and well tolerated, SDT might be used in the future to help ultraendurance athletes and other populations that have to perform in conditions of SD.