Welcome to our weekly summary of the latest research from the world of sports nutrition.
HMB Preserves Fat-free Mass in Boxers During Acute Body Mass Loss
This study looked at the impact of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on the body composition and performance of college boxers trying to lose weight quickly before a competition. The researchers found that those who took HMB could maintain their muscle mass while losing weight, compared to those who did not take the supplement. The HMB group also showed better heart rate responses during simulated matches. The study suggests that HMB supplementation during rapid weight loss may help boxers preserve muscle mass and maintain performance.
Our Thoughts: This is more evidence of HMB’s ability to aid in muscle preservation, this time in a real-world athletic setting—cutting weight before a fight. Think of all the other applications HMB can have besides boxing!
Sodium Citrate Improves Sprint Performance in Soccer Players
This study investigated the impact of consuming sodium citrate (CIT) before exercise on the performance of repeated sprints in soccer players. The study involved 20 male soccer players who underwent a running-based anaerobic sprint test after ingesting either sodium citrate or a placebo. Blood samples were taken and gastrointestinal symptoms were monitored, and the results showed that sodium citrate improved blood pH and bicarbonate levels before and after exercise, indicating enhanced performance. The athletes who took sodium citrate experienced improved minimum power output and percentage decrement scores. However, there were higher instances of gastrointestinal symptoms for the first 60 minutes after ingestion, but this did not continue after the first 60 minutes.
Our Thoughts: Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) has already been shown to improve performance but comes at the expense of your gastrointestinal system. Could sodium citrate be an alternative? It's sure starting to look that way.
Physiological Factors That Can Influence the Impact of Supplements on Performance
This study explores the physiological aspects that determine how sports nutrition supplements impact performance, considering things like how the body processes these substances and how they interact with our tissues. The researchers discuss practical factors like the ones listed below:
- Human Variability: People respond differently to supplements due to variations in factors like metabolism and storage.
- Dosing Protocol: The amount, timing and frequency of supplement intake matters.
- Training Status: Some supplements may be more effective for recreational athletes than elite ones, and vice versa.
- Sport-Specific Effects: The benefits of a supplement may vary based on the type of sport they’re used for. For instance, a supplement may work better for stop-and-go sports than endurance events.
- Sex Differences: Men and women may respond differently to supplements, so it's essential to consider sex-specific responses in research and include more female participants.
- The Placebo Effect: The placebo effect, where belief in a treatment influences its performance, is important to consider in sports science and sports nutrition.
Our Thoughts: Human variability makes it difficult to prescribe both drugs and supplements. We always recommend fine-tuning how you take your sports nutrition supplements to get the biggest positive impact.