Applied Bodybuilding Research: The Latest News - 11-20-03!

Find out all about the new glutamine research, if rotator cuff injuries are a career ender, how to get more from your creatine, if andro is worth the risk, if milk is as good as we think it is, all about powerlifting and bodybuilding and much more...
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New Glutamine Research!

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. In fact, over 60% of the bodies amino acid pool is comprised of glutamine.

When athletes subject their bodies to physical stress, glutamine is released from the muscles, to maintain immune system functioning. Glutamine is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, and is responsible for the secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland.

Preserving glutamine levels is imperative, as glutamine also stimulates protein synthesis. So, what is the best way that athletes can spare glutamine loss that results from training? Consume a carbohydrate drink during your workout.

Brazilian researchers have found that consuming a simple carbohydrate drink helps to positively affect glutamine levels in hard working athletes. This will lead to less glutamine loss and, potentially, greater muscle gains.

SOURCE: Clin Nutr. 2002 Oct;21(5):423-9.

Rotator Cuff Injuries: A Career Ender?

Many athletes suffer from shoulder problems. For some this ranges from simple muscle soreness, and for others this can mean injury to the underlying rotator cuff.

So, what determines if a rotator cuff tear is fatal to ones career? Several factors, according to researchers. There are two methods of repairing a rotator cuff tear: the primary method and the graft patch technique. Which method of reconstruction is appropriate (and what the chance for recovery is) depends on the length and width of the tear. Researchers found that when the length of the tear was greater than 40mm, recovery chances were complicated.

SOURCE: J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2003 May-Jun;12(3):222-5.

Want more from your creatine?

Athletes are always looking for an edge, and who can blame them? For years, creatine monohydrate has been an industry mainstay. This has to do with creatines remarkable safety record and its incredible effectiveness.

Research now suggest that taking creatine on its own may not be the best way to take advantage of creatines ergogenic properties. A clinical trial conducted by researchers at Washington State University has revealed that taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily, along with 800mg of magnesium for a two week period can increase lean muscle mass significantly more so than taking creatine monohydrate alone.

Magnesium is essential for athletic performance, and a shortage can compromise results. By supplementing with magnesium and creatine, you will not only ensure that you counter any potential deficiencies in your nutrition plan, but you will also be taking advantage of the synergy that results from creatine and magnesium being consumed together.

SOURCE: Metabolism. 2003 Sep;52(9):1136-40.

Andro: Is it worth the risk?

Androstendiol products are widely used not only by bodybuilders, but by athletes from all sports. Although research in the past has suggested that andro does not work, athletes know that it does, and big time.

A recent study has called into question the risks associated with andro supplementation. While not outright condemning andro use, the study does point out that andro is known to decrease high-density lipoprotein levels (good cholesterol), and can potentially raise estrogen levels, leading to conditions like prostate hypertrophy and gynocomastia. It is also suggested that long-term andro use can increase ones risk for various cancers.

Physiologically, the findings make sense. Make no mistake, andro (of any type) is a steroid hormone. The closer you get to the effects of real steroids, the closer you get to suffering the side effects of the same magnitude. With andro, like all things, moderation is key. More is not better: precise is best.

SOURCE: Can J Appl Physiol. 2003 Feb;28(1):102-16.

How good is milk?

For years, the dairy producers of America have been pushing the beneficial effects of milk. In fact, publicity and advertising campaigns have been so effective that we all know how important milk can be for adults, and especially for growing children.

But the question concerning many active and athletic parents has been: How effective is milk for my growing child who is interested in resistance training? According to research, very effective indeed!

A recent study had 28 randomly assigned male participants, between the ages of 13 to 17, engage in a three week resistance training program, along with drinking three servings of milk daily. The results were staggering. In the three week period, all participants had a 43% increase in strength with the squat, and a 23% strength increase with the bench press. Aside from strength increases, the participants had a slight increase in stature, and bone density. Milk and resistance training in adolescents go together big time!

Source: J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 Oct;103(10):1353-6.

Powerlifting: Fascicle length is key.

Many bodybuilders make the mistake of trying to powerlift while still being bodybuilders. Often, by taking a look around any gym, it is obvious that too many people use too much weight with poor form.

When this occurs, and when the person using too much weight fails to become stronger, confusion is often the result. The question that the person asks is usually something along the lines of: If muscle overload results in adaptation (both CNS and muscular) then why is it that I am not getting stronger as a result of picking a weight that is very heavy?

New research reveals the answer to this question.

Two words: Fascicle length.

Researchers in Indiana had twenty elite male powerlifters perform a variety of tasks. Muscle mass in selected areas was measured, as was performance on the tasks.

Researchers found that "muscle architecture appears to play an important role in powerlifting performance in that greater fascicle lengths are associated with greater FFM accumulation and powerlifting performance."

SOURCE: Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Feb;86(4):327-36.

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