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Applied Bodybuilding Research: The Latest News - 5-06-04!

Do Amphetamines effect your performance, are you getting enough iron, your brain and alcohol, Abdominal implants and more!
Note: Do YOU know of new studies that have come out recently & we don't have them? Send me an E-mail!

Amphetamines and their effects on the motor cortex.

The recent ban of ephedra has resulted amphetamines being at the forefront of public consciousness. Athletes for years have used them to enhance performance, increase energy levels and improve focus.

Many athletes, and even supplement companies, have claimed that amphetamines are safe, if used correctly by individuals with a clean bill of health. Doctors and the government have always maintained that more research is required to determine the mechanisms of action and safety.

A study by Scandinavian researchers examined the effects of amphetamines on motor-cortex plasticity in an attempt to determine if amphetamines had therapeutic value.

The study examined 10 right handed subjects, between the ages of 22-43, and split them into two groups using random assignment.

At the beginning of the study the manipulation group was given 20mg of amphetamines, while the control group was given a placebo. Three hours after amphetamine and placebo administration, each group then underwent one hour of physical activity.

In the manipulation group, it was found that amphetamines were associated with an increase in the number of errors in movement, compared with the placebo group.

So while amphetamines provide energy and focus, they may be responsible for predisposing one to potential injury through a disruption of the CNS.

Source: M. Tegenthoff, B. Cornelius, B. Pleger, J.-P. Malin, P. Schwenkreis. Amphetamine enhances training-induced motor cortex plasticity. Acta Neurologica Scandinavica. Volume 109 Issue 5 Page 330 - May 2004.

Get enough iron...

It is estimated that 1.2 billion people around the world are adversely affected by iron deficiencies. While most of these persons live in developing countries, many also live in North America and affluent parts of Europe.

It is well known that iron deficiency during fetal development and early adolescents will have lasting cognitive impairments, most of which are reversible only with intensive treatment. But in adults the effects of low iron are less well known.

Recent research has shown that even in the absence of anaemia, the body begins to exhibit changes in functioning when iron counts are low.

For bodybuilders and athletes, a deficiency of any kind is disastrous. Without water and fat soluble vitamins and minerals, the body will not function as is needed for muscular hypertrophy.

Eating plenty of red meat and supplementing with a vitamin will help to ward off iron deficiencies, as well as conditions that one could be at risk for.

Source: Beard, J., Connor, J. Iron Status and Neural Functioning. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2003. 23:41-58.

Abdominal implants? the world of bodybuilding just became more strange...

Breast implants. Calf implants. Penis Implants. What will they think of next?

Everyone is familiar with liposuction, and many may even know of a liposuction technique known as abdominal-sculpting or abdominal-etching.

Recently, Dr. Rogerio Porto de Rocha, MD., published a letter in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, describing his research as a plastic surgeon. Dr. Rocha, as a result of his brothers complaint about lagging abdominals, has begun researching the prospect of abdominal implants.

According to the letter, current cadaver research involves "?inserting spherical silicon prosthesis of 1cm in diameter? to simulate the results of localized exercise for hypertrophy."

While significant obstacles still exist, Dr. Rocha is confident that abdominal implants will be available in the near future.

Just when you thought bodybuilding couldn't get any more strange, along came this. What's next? Stay tuned...

Source: Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. 27:332, 2003.

Your brain and alcohol...

Every day around the world, millions of gallons of alcohol are consumed. Some consume in moderation while others consume excessive amounts, and with reckless abandon. It is well known that alcohol is a tool of socialization that helps people relax and defuse social tensions.

In the past thirty years science has discovered much about alcohols effect on the body and the results of research have not been favourable. Despite this research, many health conscious athletes still consume alcohol in excessive quantities. New research should leave them thinking about this practice.

Scientists in California commissioned a study to determine alcohols effects on cerebral reserve capacity. CRC refers to the brains ability to maintain its functions when confronted by degenerative processes like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

The researchers concluded that alcohol intake adversely affects the brains ability to deal with degenerative conditions, and as such alcohol can exacerbate many degenerative conditions.

For serious bodybuilders, this is yet one more reason to avoid alcohol whenever possible.

Source: Fein, G., Di Sclafanio, V. Cerebral capacity: implications for alcohol and drug abuse. Alcohol 32 (2004) 63-67.

Carbohydrates and diabetes: Its not how much you eat but what kind that counts!

Since the 1960's, serving sizes of food have quadrupled, carbohydrate intake has increased by an average of 126g daily, and incidences of diabetes have increased by a whopping 47%!

These are staggering figures with even more staggering health effects.

These figures have been causing panic in government and the private sector. Not surprisingly, scientists have been probing the connection between carbohydrate intake and diabetes in an attempt to understand if all carbohydrates, or only certain kinds, increase the chances that one will develop diabetes.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School obtained data on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes for the year 1935 and for every year after and including 1957.

Researchers took data from the NHANES reports of 1971-1974, 1976-1980, 1988-1994 and 1999. They then analyzed the data to examine the relationship between dietary consumption and disease rates.

The analysis showed that while protein and fat were not associated with the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, when total energy intake was accounted for, corn syrup was positively associated, with a positive correlation of 0.83! Given that a perfect correlation is 1.0 (ie. When x happens y MUST happen and visa versa), simple carbohydrates are strongly correlated. Other carbohydrates like brown rice had insignificant correlations.

This shows that, when it comes to type 2 diabetes, it is not how many carbohydrates that you consume (within moderation) but what kind that count.

Source: Gross, L., Li, L., Ford, E., Liu, S. Increased consumption of refined carbohydrates and the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in the United States: an ecologic assessment. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 79, No.5, 774-779, May 2004.

Obesity: Too many carbohydrates, or too much food?

Obesity is be far North Americas most rampant health affliction. The dramatic rise in new cases of diabetes, hypertension and arterial sclerosis are, in large part, due to the obesity pandemic.

In recent years as the public becomes more health conscious and, perhaps, more fearful about the consequences of obesity, new diets have emerged, promising miracle cures and fairy tale results. One of these diets, the Atkins program, has focused on the role of carbohydrates in the weight-gain weight-loss process.

By eliminating carbohydrates, adherents of low-carbohydrate diets have noticed remarkable reductions in bodyweight. This has led some to conclude that carbohydrates are to be avoided as much as possible if weight loss is the desired goal.

A study by Canadian researchers sought to examine whether carbohydrate reduction was the real solution to weight loss or if weight loss occurred as a result of not consuming the calories that would otherwise be consumed if carbohydrates were part of ones diet.

The study found that sine 1963 carbohydrate intake had increased by an average of 126g daily, and at the same time diabetes had increased by an astounding 47%. It was also noted that since 1980 average daily caloric intake had increased by 500 calories.

Previous research substantiated that caloric intake more than another other factor will determine weight gain or weight loss.

From this study it is clear that low carbohydrate is not the answer: low calorie is.

Source: Jenkins, D., Kendall, C., Marchie, A., Augustine, L. Too much sugar, too much carbohydrate, or just too much? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol, 79. No.5, 711-712, May 2004.

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