Special Issue "Nutrition and Athletic Performance"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Sports Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Stephen Ives
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Health and Human Physiological Sciences, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, USA
Interests: muscle; exercise science; cardiovascular physiology; exercise physiology; atherosclerosis; exercise

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Exercise necessitates increased energy production to match the elevated demand of physical activity, the magnitude of which varies significantly by activity, sport, and/or athletic position. While long term nutritional habitus is known to impact exercise performance, short term or acute nutritional strategies may also prove beneficial, or detrimental, to athletic performance.  Modifications to macro- or micro-nutrient intakes likely influence athletic capacity through the altered metabolic capacity, although cardiovascular, respiratory, or neurocognitive effects are not to be discounted as possibly being influenced by altering the nutritional approach. Similarly, dietary supplementation with factors such as probiotics or antioxidants, either acutely or chronically, is also a likely avenue in which to optimize athletic performance. Supplementation, or the timing of supplementation, diurnally or with activity, may help to bridge gaps between dietary intakes and needs, perhaps as a result of either an inadequate intake and/or high level of athletic demand via high intensity, frequency, volume, or a combination thereof. Altering nutritional strategy for athletic performance is a de facto approach employed by athletes, often occurring seemingly independent of knowledge or evidence for or against a particular strategy. Rigorous studies of nutritional manipulation, supplementation, or those exploring the temporal optimization of nutrition or supplementation are desperately needed in an ever-changing sports nutrition landscape with an increasingly larger audience.

Accordingly, this Special Issue seeks submissions of manuscripts describing original research or analytical reviews, with particular focus on the effects on exercise or athletic performance. Although work in humans may be preferential in translational strength, mechanistic work in animals may also prove valuable fodder for further work in humans, and is welcomed.

Dr. Stephen Ives
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Sport
  • Exercise
  • Athletes performance
  • Supplementation
  • Timing
  • Acute
  • Chronic

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
High Salt Diet Impacts the Risk of Sarcopenia Associated with Reduction of Skeletal Muscle Performance in the Japanese Population
Nutrients 2020, 12(11), 3474; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12113474 - 12 Nov 2020
Viewed by 932
Abstract
The World Health Organization has recommended 5 g/day as dietary reference intakes for salt. In Japan, the averages for men and women were 11.0 g/day and 9.3 g/day, respectively. Recently, it was reported that amounts of sodium accumulation in skeletal muscles of older [...] Read more.
The World Health Organization has recommended 5 g/day as dietary reference intakes for salt. In Japan, the averages for men and women were 11.0 g/day and 9.3 g/day, respectively. Recently, it was reported that amounts of sodium accumulation in skeletal muscles of older people were significantly higher than those in younger people. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the risk of sarcopenia with decreased muscle mass and strength was related to the amount of salt intake. In addition, we investigated its involvement with renalase. Four groups based on age and salt intake (“younger low-salt,” “younger high-salt,” “older low-salt,” and “older high-salt”) were compared. Stratifying by age category, body fat percentage significantly increased in high-salt groups in both younger and older people. Handgrip strength/body weight and chair rise tests of the older high-salt group showed significant reduction compared to the older low-salt group. However, there was no significant difference in renalase concentrations in plasma. The results suggest that high-salt intake may lead to fat accumulation and muscle weakness associated with sarcopenia. Therefore, efforts to reduce salt intake may prevent sarcopenia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Pre-Sleep Low Glycemic Index Modified Starch Does Not Improve Next-Morning Fuel Selection or Running Performance in Male and Female Endurance Athletes
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2888; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092888 - 22 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1152
Abstract
To determine the effects of pre-sleep supplementation with a novel low glycemic index (LGI) carbohydrate (CHO) on next-morning substrate utilization, gastrointestinal distress (GID), and endurance running performance (5-km time-trial, TT). Using a double-blind, randomized, placebo (PLA) controlled, crossover design, trained participants (n [...] Read more.
To determine the effects of pre-sleep supplementation with a novel low glycemic index (LGI) carbohydrate (CHO) on next-morning substrate utilization, gastrointestinal distress (GID), and endurance running performance (5-km time-trial, TT). Using a double-blind, randomized, placebo (PLA) controlled, crossover design, trained participants (n = 14; 28 ± 9 years, 8/6 male/female, 55 ± 7 mL/kg/min) consumed a LGI, high glycemic index (HGI), or 0 kcal PLA supplement ≥ 2 h after their last meal and <30 min prior to sleep. Upon arrival, resting energy expenditure (REE), substrate utilization, blood glucose, satiety, and GID were assessed. An incremental exercise test (IET) was performed at 55, 65, and 75% peak volume of oxygen consumption (VO2peak) with GID, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and substrate utilization recorded each stage. Finally, participants completed the 5-km TT. There were no differences in any baseline measure. During IET, CHO utilization tended to be greater with LGI (PLA, 56 ± 11; HGI, 60 ± 14; LGI, 63 ± 14%, p = 0.16, η2 = 0.14). GID was unaffected by supplementation at any point (p > 0.05). Performance was also unaffected by supplement (PLA, 21.6 ± 9.5; HGI, 23.0 ± 7.8; LGI, 24.1 ± 4.5 min, p = 0.94, η2 = 0.01). Pre-sleep CHO supplementation did not affect next-morning resting metabolism, BG, GID, or 5-km TT performance. The trend towards higher CHO utilization during IET after pre-sleep LGI, suggests that such supplementation increases morning CHO availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Cyclical Ketogenic Reduction Diet vs. Nutritionally Balanced Reduction Diet on Body Composition, Strength, and Endurance Performance in Healthy Young Males: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2832; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092832 - 16 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2519
Abstract
(1) Background: The influence of ketogenic diet on physical fitness remains controversial. We performed a randomized controlled trial to compare the effect of cyclical ketogenic reduction diet (CKD) vs. nutritionally balanced reduction diet (RD) on body composition, muscle strength, and endurance performance. (2) [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The influence of ketogenic diet on physical fitness remains controversial. We performed a randomized controlled trial to compare the effect of cyclical ketogenic reduction diet (CKD) vs. nutritionally balanced reduction diet (RD) on body composition, muscle strength, and endurance performance. (2) Methods: 25 healthy young males undergoing regular resistance training combined with aerobic training were randomized to CKD (n = 13) or RD (n = 12). Body composition, muscle strength and spiroergometric parameters were measured at baseline and after eight weeks of intervention. (3) Results: Both CKD and RD decreased body weight, body fat, and BMI. Lean body mass and body water decreased in CKD and did not significantly change in RD group. Muscle strength parameters were not affected in CKD while in RD group lat pull-down and leg press values increased. Similarly, endurance performance was not changed in CKD group while in RD group peak workload and peak oxygen uptake increased. (4) Conclusions: Our data show that in healthy young males undergoing resistance and aerobic training comparable weight reduction were achieved by CKD and RD. In RD group; improved muscle strength and endurance performance was noted relative to neutral effect of CKD that also slightly reduced lean body mass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Can Creatine Supplementation Interfere with Muscle Strength and Fatigue in Brazilian National Level Paralympic Powerlifting?
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2492; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092492 - 19 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1375
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to analyze the effect of creatine (Cr) supplementation on peak torque (PT) and fatigue rate in Paralympic weightlifting athletes. Eight Paralympic powerlifting athletes participated in the study, with 25.40 ± 3.30 years and 70.30 ± 12.15 [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to analyze the effect of creatine (Cr) supplementation on peak torque (PT) and fatigue rate in Paralympic weightlifting athletes. Eight Paralympic powerlifting athletes participated in the study, with 25.40 ± 3.30 years and 70.30 ± 12.15 kg. The measurements of muscle strength, fatigue index (FI), peak torque (PT), force (kgf), force (N), rate of force development (RFD), and time to maximum isometric force (time) were determined by a Musclelab load cell. The study was performed in a single-blind manner, with subjects conducting the experiments first with placebo supplementation and then, following a 7-day washout period, beginning the same protocol with creatine supplementation for 7 days. This sequence was chosen because of the lengthy washout of creatine. Regarding the comparison between conditions, Cr supplementation did not show effects on the variables of muscle force, peak torque, RFD, and time to maximum isometric force (p > 0.05). However, when comparing the results of the moments with the use of Cr and placebo, a difference was observed for the FI after seven days (U3: 1.12; 95% CI: (0.03, 2.27); p = 0.02); therefore, the FI was higher for placebo. Creatine supplementation has a positive effect on the performance of Paralympic powerlifting athletes, reducing fatigue index, and keeping the force levels as well as PT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Exogenous Ketone Supplements Improved Motor Performance in Preclinical Rodent Models
Nutrients 2020, 12(8), 2459; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082459 - 15 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2571
Abstract
Nutritional ketosis has been proven effective for neurometabolic conditions and disorders linked to metabolic dysregulation. While inducing nutritional ketosis, ketogenic diet (KD) can improve motor performance in the context of certain disease states, but it is unknown whether exogenous ketone supplements—alternatives to KDs—may [...] Read more.
Nutritional ketosis has been proven effective for neurometabolic conditions and disorders linked to metabolic dysregulation. While inducing nutritional ketosis, ketogenic diet (KD) can improve motor performance in the context of certain disease states, but it is unknown whether exogenous ketone supplements—alternatives to KDs—may have similar effects. Therefore, we investigated the effect of ketone supplements on motor performance, using accelerating rotarod test and on postexercise blood glucose and R-beta-hydroxybutyrate (R-βHB) levels in rodent models with and without pathology. The effect of KD, butanediol (BD), ketone-ester (KE), ketone-salt (KS), and their combination (KE + KS: KEKS) or mixtures with medium chain triglyceride (MCT) (KE + MCT: KEMCT; KS + MCT: KSMCT) was tested in Sprague-Dawley (SPD) and WAG/Rij (WR) rats and in GLUT-1 Deficiency Syndrome (G1D) mice. Motor performance was enhanced by KEMCT acutely, KE and KS subchronically in SPD rats, by KEKS and KEMCT groups in WR rats, and by KE chronically in G1D mice. We demonstrated that exogenous ketone supplementation improved motor performance to various degrees in rodent models, while effectively elevated R-βHB and in some cases offsets postexercise blood glucose elevations. Our results suggest that improvement of motor performance varies depending on the strain of rodents, specific ketone formulation, age, and exposure frequency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Continuous Glucose Monitoring for Assessment of Individual Carbohydrate Requirement during Ultramarathon Race
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1121; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041121 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
Background: The current study intended to evaluate the feasibility of the application of continuous glucose monitoring to guarantee optimal intake of carbohydrate to maintain blood glucose levels during a 160-km ultramarathon race. Methods: Seven ultramarathon runners (four male and three female) took part [...] Read more.
Background: The current study intended to evaluate the feasibility of the application of continuous glucose monitoring to guarantee optimal intake of carbohydrate to maintain blood glucose levels during a 160-km ultramarathon race. Methods: Seven ultramarathon runners (four male and three female) took part in the study. The glucose profile was monitored continuously throughout the race, which was divided into 11 segments by timing gates. Running speed in each segment was standardized to the average of the top five finishers for each gender. Food and drink intake during the race were recorded and carbohydrate and energy intake were calculated. Results: Observed glucose levels ranged between 61.9–252.0 mg/dL. Average glucose concentration differed from the start to the end of the race (104 ± 15.0 to 164 ± 30.5 SD mg/dL). The total amount of carbohydrate intake during the race ranged from 0.27 to 1.14 g/kg/h. Glucose concentration positively correlated with running speeds in segments (P < 0.005). Energy and carbohydrate intake positively correlated with overall running speed (P < 0.01). Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that continuous glucose monitoring could be practical to guarantee optimal carbohydrate intake for each ultramarathon runner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessCommunication
Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on VO2max: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1119; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041119 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2749
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to systematically review the scientific literature about the effects of supplementation with Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), as well as to provide directions for clinical practice. A systematic search was [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to systematically review the scientific literature about the effects of supplementation with Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), as well as to provide directions for clinical practice. A systematic search was conducted in three electronic databases following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Guidelines (PRISMA). The inclusion criteria were: (a) VO2max data, with means ± standard deviation before and after the supplement intervention, (b) the study was randomized controlled trial (RCT), (c) the article was written in English. The quality of evidence was evaluated according to the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. A meta-analysis was performed to determine effect sizes. Five studies were selected in the systematic review (162 participants) and four were included in the meta-analysis (142 participants). Results showed a significant enhancement in VO2max in healthy adults and athletes (p = 0.04). The mean difference was 3.00 (95% CI from 0.18 to 5.82) with high heterogeneity. In conclusion, Ashwagandha supplementation might improve the VO2max in athlete and non-athlete people. However, further research is need to confirm this hypothesis since the number of studies is limited and the heterogeneity was high. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Low- and High-Glycemic Index Sport Nutrition Bars on Metabolism and Performance in Recreational Soccer Players
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040982 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2508
Abstract
Consumption of low-glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates (CHO) may be superior to high-GI CHO before exercise by increasing fat oxidation and decreasing carbohydrate oxidation. We compared the effects of pre-exercise feeding of a low-GI lentil-based sports nutrition bar with a high-GI bar on metabolism [...] Read more.
Consumption of low-glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates (CHO) may be superior to high-GI CHO before exercise by increasing fat oxidation and decreasing carbohydrate oxidation. We compared the effects of pre-exercise feeding of a low-GI lentil-based sports nutrition bar with a high-GI bar on metabolism and performance during a simulated soccer match. Using a randomized, double-blind, counterbalanced, crossover design, participants (n = 8) consumed 1.5 g/kg available CHO from a low-GI bar (GI = 45) or high-GI bar (GI = 101) two hours before a 90 min simulated soccer match, and 0.38 g/kg body mass during a 15 min half-time break. The test involved alternating 6 min intervals of paced jogging, running, walking, and sprinting, and 3 min intervals of soccer-specific skills (timed ball dribbling, agility running, heading, kicking accuracy). Carbohydrate oxidation rate was lower during the match after consuming the low-GI compared to high-GI bar (2.17 ± 0.6 vs. 2.72 ± 0.4 g/min; p < 0.05). Participants performed better during the low-GI versus high-GI bar condition on the agility test (5.7 ± 0.4 versus 6.1 ± 0.6 s; p < 0.01) and heading (i.e., jumping height 24.7 ± 4.3 versus 22.2 ± 4.5 cm; p < 0.01) late in the soccer match (72 min). A low-GI lentil-based sports nutrition bar provides a metabolic benefit (lower carbohydrate oxidation rate) and a modest improvement in agility running and jumping height (heading) late in the test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Gut Microbiota, Probiotics and Physical Performance in Athletes and Physically Active Individuals
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 2936; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12102936 - 25 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4200
Abstract
Among athletes, nutrition plays a key role, supporting training, performance, and post-exercise recovery. Research has primarily focused on the effects of diet in support of an athletic physique; however, the role played by intestinal microbiota has been much neglected. Emerging evidence has shown [...] Read more.
Among athletes, nutrition plays a key role, supporting training, performance, and post-exercise recovery. Research has primarily focused on the effects of diet in support of an athletic physique; however, the role played by intestinal microbiota has been much neglected. Emerging evidence has shown an association between the intestinal microbiota composition and physical activity, suggesting that modifications in the gut microbiota composition may contribute to physical performance of the host. Probiotics represent a potential means for beneficially influencing the gut microbiota composition/function but can also impact the overall health of the host. In this review, we provide an overview of the existing studies that have examined the reciprocal interactions between physical activity and gut microbiota. We further evaluate the clinical evidence that supports the effects of probiotics on physical performance, post-exercise recovery, and cognitive outcomes among athletes. In addition, we discuss the mechanisms of action through which probiotics affect exercise outcomes. In summary, beneficial microbes, including probiotics, may promote health in athletes and enhance physical performance and exercise capacity. Furthermore, high-quality clinical studies, with adequate power, remain necessary to uncover the roles that are played by gut microbiota populations and probiotics in physical performance and the modes of action behind their potential benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessReview
Nutritional Ergogenic Aids in Racquet Sports: A Systematic Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2842; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092842 - 17 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1807
Abstract
A nutritional ergogenic aid (NEA) can help athletes optimize performance, but an evidence-based analysis is required in order to support training outcomes or competition performance in specific events. Racquet sports players are regularly exposed to a high-intensity workload throughout the tournament season. The [...] Read more.
A nutritional ergogenic aid (NEA) can help athletes optimize performance, but an evidence-based analysis is required in order to support training outcomes or competition performance in specific events. Racquet sports players are regularly exposed to a high-intensity workload throughout the tournament season. The activity during a match is characterized by variable durations (2–4 h) of repeated high-intensity bouts interspersed with standardized rest periods. Medline/PubMed, Scopus, and EBSCO were searched from their inception until February 2020 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Two independent reviewers extracted data, after which they assessed the risk of bias and the quality of trials. Out of 439 articles found, 21 met the predefined criteria: tennis (15 trials), badminton (three trials), paddle (one trial), and squash (two trials). Among all the studied NEAs, acute dosages of caffeine (3–6 mg/kg) 30–60 min before a match have been proven to improve specific skills and accuracy but may not contribute to improve perceived exertion. Currently, creatine, sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, beetroot juice, citrulline, and glycerol need more studies to strengthen the evidence regarding improved performance in racquet sports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Dietary Nitrates on Time Trial Performance in Athletes with Different Training Status: Systematic Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2734; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092734 - 08 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1340
Abstract
Much research has been done in sports nutrition in recent years as the demand for performance-enhancing substances increases. Higher intake of nitrates from the diet can increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO) via the nitrate–nitrite–NO pathway. Nevertheless, the increased availability of NO [...] Read more.
Much research has been done in sports nutrition in recent years as the demand for performance-enhancing substances increases. Higher intake of nitrates from the diet can increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO) via the nitrate–nitrite–NO pathway. Nevertheless, the increased availability of NO does not always lead to improved performance in some individuals. This review aims to evaluate the relationship between the athlete’s training status and the change in time trial performance after increased dietary nitrate intake. Articles indexed by Scopus and PubMed published from 2015 to 2019 were reviewed. Thirteen articles met the eligibility criteria: clinical trial studies on healthy participants with different training status (according to VO2max), conducting time trial tests after dietary nitrate supplementation. The PRISMA guidelines were followed to process the review. We found a statistically significant relationship between VO2max and ergogenicity in time trial performance using one-way ANOVA (p = 0.001) in less-trained athletes (VO2 < 55 mL/kg/min). A strong positive correlation was observed in experimental situations using a chronic supplementation protocol but not in acute protocol situations. In the context of our results and recent histological observations of muscle fibres, there might be a fibre-type specific role in nitric oxide production and, therefore, supplement of ergogenicity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Physical Performance in Aerobic–Anaerobic Transition Zones: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2490; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092490 - 19 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1655
Abstract
Beta-alanine supplementation (BA) has a positive impact on physical performance. However, evidence showing a benefit of this amino acid in aerobic–anaerobic transition zones is scarce and the results controversial. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to analyze the effects of [...] Read more.
Beta-alanine supplementation (BA) has a positive impact on physical performance. However, evidence showing a benefit of this amino acid in aerobic–anaerobic transition zones is scarce and the results controversial. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to analyze the effects of BA supplementation on physical performance in aerobic–anaerobic transition zones. At the same time, the effect of different dosages and durations of BA supplementation were identified. The search was designed in accordance with the PRISMA® guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses and performed in Web of Science (WOS), Scopus, SPORTDiscus, PubMed, and MEDLINE between 2010 and 2020. The methodological quality and risk of bias were evaluated with the Cochrane Collaboration tool. The main variables were the Time Trial Test (TTT) and Time to Exhaustion (TTE) tests, the latter separated into the Limited Time Test (LTT) and Limited Distance Test (LDT). The analysis was carried out with a pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) through Hedges’ g test (95% CI). Nineteen studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis, revealing a small effect for time in the TTT (SMD, −0.36; 95% CI, −0.87–0.16; I2 = 59%; p = 0.010), a small effect for LTT (SMD, 0.25; 95% CI, −0.01–0.51; I2 = 0%; p = 0.53), and a large effect for LDT (SMD, 4.27; 95% CI, −0.25–8.79; I2 = 94%; p = 0.00001). BA supplementation showed small effects on physical performance in aerobic–anaerobic transition zones. Evidence on acute supplementation is scarce (one study); therefore, exploration of acute supplementation with different dosages and formats on physical performance in aerobic–anaerobic transition zones is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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Open AccessReview
Modulation of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage, Inflammation, and Oxidative Markers by Curcumin Supplementation in a Physically Active Population: A Systematic Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 501; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020501 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4519
Abstract
Physical activity, particularly high-intensity eccentric muscle contractions, produces exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). The breakdown of muscle fibers and the consequent inflammatory responses derived from EIMD affect exercise performance. Curcumin, a natural polyphenol extracted from turmeric, has been shown to have mainly antioxidant and [...] Read more.
Physical activity, particularly high-intensity eccentric muscle contractions, produces exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). The breakdown of muscle fibers and the consequent inflammatory responses derived from EIMD affect exercise performance. Curcumin, a natural polyphenol extracted from turmeric, has been shown to have mainly antioxidant and also anti-inflammatory properties. This effect of curcumin could improve EIMD and exercise performance. The main objective of this systematic review was to critically evaluate the effectiveness of curcumin supplementation on EIMD and inflammatory and oxidative markers in a physically active population. A structured search was carried out following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines in the databases SCOPUS, Web of Science (WOS), and Medline (PubMed) from inception to October 2019. The search included original articles with randomized controlled crossover or parallel design in which the intake of curcumin administered before and/or after exercise was compared with an identical placebo situation. No filters were applied to the type of physical exercise performed, the sex or the age of the participants. Of the 301 articles identified in the search, 11 met the established criteria and were included in this systematic review. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed using the McMaster Critical Review Form. The use of curcumin reduces the subjective perception of the intensity of muscle pain; reduces muscle damage through the decrease of creatine kinase (CK); increases muscle performance; has an anti-inflammatory effect by modulating the pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-8; and may have a slight antioxidant effect. In summary, the administration of curcumin at a dose between 150–1500 mg/day before and during exercise, and up until 72 h’ post-exercise, improved performance by reducing EIMD and modulating the inflammation caused by physical activity. In addition, humans appear to be able to tolerate high doses of curcumin without significant side-effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Athletic Performance)
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