Sports nutrition Powerbar conference 2012
Sports nutrition Powerbar conference 2012
by Emma Gardner, EIS Performance Nutrition Intern - 01.10.12
The 14th International Sports Nutrition conference was recently held in Oxford, and with London hosting the 2012 summer Olympic Games, ‘Nutritional strategies to prepare for the Olympics’ was the chosen theme.
Hosted by a number of collaborators, including the English Institute of Sport (EIS), 120 UK and European sports nutrition professionals were invited to attend a number of sessions presented by world-leading sports nutrition researchers and experts. The EIS had nine of its performance nutrition team involved throughout.
Held over three days, lectures on areas such as the ergogenic properties of L-Carnitine, nitrates and its application as an ergogenic aid, nutritional signals for muscle reconditioning and a panel discussion on sport specific problems and solutions featured, as well as an opportunity for delegates to watch part of the men’s Olympic marathon at several points through the streets of London. A detailed report about the lecture content can be found here.
Revisiting the ergogenic properties of Carnitine – Kevin Currell
Dr Francis Stephens from the University of Nottingham presented the first lecture. Towards the end of the 20th century, a large amount of research was directed towards investigating the effects of L-Carnitine supplementation on exercise performance.
Carnitine performs vital metabolic roles in the oxidation of both fat and carbohydrate during exercise, however, scientific interest in L-Carnitine as an ergogenic aid soon declined when it became apparent that L-Carnitine feeding did not alter fuel metabolism for athletic performance.
Although previous literature has suggested that muscle carnitine availability was not limiting to fuel metabolism, recent interest in the supplement has resurfaced as it is now believed that muscle carnitine availability is limiting fuel metabolism and that there could be interesting ergogenic properties of Carnitine after all.
Nitrate and its application as an ergogenic aid – Mhairi Keil
Nitrate has quickly become an exciting topic in the Sports Nutrition world. Several recent studies have reported nitrate ingestion may alter the physiological responses to exercise and enhance exercise performance. This presentation by Dr. Andy Jones aimed to revise the research around nitrates to date, and consider the application and practical recommendations for the supplementation of nitrates in athletes.
A point of interest was the discussion around the benefits of chronic versus acute nitrate supplementation, as well as unpublished findings from other researchers in the field regarding the increased blood flow to muscles, specifically fast twitch muscle fibres, following supplementation.
Nutritional Signals for Muscle Reconditioning – Freddy Brown
The basic principles of protein supplementation have not changed much over the past five years, however a great deal more research has been published about the mechanisms behind how a protein-rich meal leads to an increase in protein synthesis. This presentation, by Dr Keith Baar, discussed the importance of amino acids to activate protein synthesis. In summary, ingesting 20g protein, containing 8-10g of essential amino acids partly before and immediately after resistance training is advised.
Preparing for the 2012 Olympics: success and failures of nutritional interventions – Olivia Busby
The panel discussion provided exceptional insights into the nutrition planning and preparations by each nation leading up to the Games. Team GB saw the collaboration between home country institutes as well as the BOA, National Sport Governing Bodies and UK Sport. The sharing of expertise and clinical practice is one of the most notable achievements within the discipline of performance nutrition. For many team GB practitioners and athletes the approach was to continue with normal best practice as there would be little disruption to routines, climate and food availability.
Reports from the Australian Institute of Sport and the United States also highlighted the less challenging conditions and similar food cultures as a positive aspect of the London 2012 Olympic Nutrition planning. Ensuring that foundation performance nutrition guidelines were put into practice through practical applications such as recovery stations was key to the organisation of nutrition support.
Following the morning presentations delegates took part in an afternoon of traditional English activities. Teams of 10 delegates braved the rainy English weather to take part in Cricket, Football, Orienteering, Croquet and a traditional School Sports Day at various grounds and facilities within Oxford University. The day, coordinated by Emma Gardner from the EIS Performance Nutrition team, was a huge success and a prize giving dinner for the winning teams followed in the evening.
Day two lectures and workshops included the global application of beta alanine in sports practice, nutritional modulation of muscle reconditioning and caffeine as an ergogenic aid.
Global Application of Beta Alanine in sports practice – Wendy Martinson
This session, by Dr Trent Stellingwerff provided a useful overview of Beta Alanine supplementation to increase levels of Carnosine in the muscle. Carnosine acts as an intracellular buffer for the excess hydrogen ions produced during very intense exercise. The presentation described how carnosine levels need to increase by over 50% to show performance benefits and approximately 230g Beta Alanine needs to be consumed (1.6- 6.4g per day) to increase levels by 50%. High intensity sports of 2-6 min duration are most likely to show performance benefits following Carnosine supplementation.
Nutritional modulation of muscle reconditioning – Alex Popple
A review by Dr Luc Van Loon discussed the amount and type of protein needed to effectively stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Ingesting 20-25g of whey protein is considered most effective in stimulating post exercise muscle protein synthesis. Ingesting protein with carbohydrate has shown that this does not further augment post exercise muscle protein synthesis. Timing of intake was also discussed and found that ingestion prior to sleep allows muscle protein synthesis rates to increase during overnight recovery from exercise, which may further improve training efficiency.
Caffeine – Emma McCrudden
Caffeine is a widely consumed, legal drug that has no nutritional value, but has been shown to have a potent work-enhancing or ergogenic effect in many sporting situations.
Previously, research in the 80s and 90s focused on researching a range of caffeine doses from 1 – 9mg mg/kgbm. In practice, this posed challenges for practitioners as athletes often reported negative side effects towards the upper end of this range. In this presentation by Dr. Lawrence Spriet, research was presented showing caffeine and its ergogenic effects may be evident at lower doses (up to 1.5 – 3 mg/kgbm). Lower caffeine doses are associated with fewer side effects and may be more favourable for those competing in late night events due to the effect of caffeine on sleep.
The conference was a huge success and due to the numbers of delegates invited many attendees commented how the conference felt more personal with a greater opportunity for interaction between practitioners and academics.
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