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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:31 am 
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The problem with most of these studies is that the experimental protocols are flawed. They are conducted on non-representative test populations or they assume what the response will be and test for that, rather than allowing the body to respond to the stress and recovery and then determining what the actual response is. It's sloppy research. I spent years in the lab and clinic doing this kind of stuff and switched to the business side after watching about 80% of the work get disproven because of experimental flaws.

The basic and reasonably sound argument is that your body responds to exercise-induced stress by adaptations that are enduring and partially cumulative. This is what is called training. If you don't do the workouts you don't train. If you interfere with the stress produced by your body during workouts, you also don't get the benefits. One of the more significant studies with a little bit of credibility was a large study done by the Institute of Military Medicine on highly trained and extremely fit soldiers in elite groups such as Rangers. They found that soldiers who regularly took Tylenol or other anti-inflammatories to minimize muscle discomfort after hard workouts would not have a training response as effective as those who abstained. The studies were repeated in a number of ways and pretty much nailed the issue with regard to Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc. This work encouraged people to look at other supposedly analogous situations such as supplements, oxygen recovery, specific antioxidants, and so on. However, they assumed the experiment could simply ask whether the physical training response occurred or not, but didn't ask whether they were measuring the correct training response or whether they were simply measuring one parameter when there were larger and more significant changes (or lack of changes) underway. Frankly, exercise and nutrition physiology studies tend to be sloppy research -- the literature peer review is weak and the analytical rigor of the research ranks right up with research on education methods. They have their own academic journals and rarely if ever are able to get published in the broader scientific journals that have higher standards. If you read NEJM, PNAS, or Nature regularly, you see editorial combat over this kind of issue.

Is there a rationale to this work? I suspect there probably is. If I'm in a training phase when I'm expecting to fatigue and build an adaptive response, avoiding the supplements and simply focusing on nutritional replacement may be the best approach. Then you have recovery in which you consolidate and to some extent recover from those high-stress workouts. In those periods, you aren't pursuing adaptation any longer and whether you want to eat blueberries or take specific antioxidant supplements, they are helpful generally and not detrimental to your training response (because you aren't seeking an incremental training response during that time span). Many of these studies didn't differentiate between adaptive and consolidation phases of a training program so their results are not necessarily constructive for actual athletic training. I also work with track and field athletes and with powerlifters, both of whom impose extreme loads and have to do more periodization and other scheduling of their training than we generally look at in cycling. Those athletes do continue to improve athletically and avoid metabolic deficiencies if they are simply put on carefully scheduled training regimens with adaptation and consolidation phases determined by blood and muscle tests. Nothing like that is considered in these nutritional studies. And I don't think there's any decent research literature to guide us. However, enough top coaches have achieved successes by combining these various methodologies pragmatically and empirically, so I'd look there and not try to validate the work on academic research. Adequate academic research just hasn't happened and probably ain't going to.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:53 am 
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I like how sinic and critic you are regarding scientific litterature and research. You seem to have quite a bit of experience so I won't argue with you.

I must be studying for nothing I guess...


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Posted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:53 am 


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 3:24 am 
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devinci wrote:
I like how sinic and critic you are regarding scientific litterature and research. You seem to have quite a bit of experience so I won't argue with you.

I must be studying for nothing I guess...


It's not at all a criticism of you. When one goes to graduate school in molecular biology, molecular medicine, etc., a big part of your studies is taking important research articles and dissecting them for their fundamental errors. Many are published and referenced every year in classes and textbooks, yet they are wrong. Almost every major series of articles has large flaws or errors, some because the experiments were bad to begin with and some because they made assumptions that were subsequently proven to be wrong. It's all about learning how to critique research for the flaws that result in major errors, whether in the experimental protocol or how they're interpreted. Unfortunately the news media don't have any idea how to evaluate what they read in scientific papers, so flaws get perpetuated. And in fields like exercise physiology, it's both a popular subject for the news and also an area where the research isn't all that well done.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 1:34 pm 
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I was not being sarcastic. I like how critical you are about scientific research. I do not have enough academic training to be as critic as you are regarding the multiple papers I read. Most of what I read are scientific reviews and a few studies but not much. I prefer reading reviews as the filterings of very bad research is already done.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:01 am 
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It's just how science works.

"A biologist, a chemist, and a statistician are out hunting. The biologist shoots at a deer and misses 5ft to the left, the chemist takes a shot and misses 5ft to the right, the statistician yells "We got 'em!""


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:08 pm 
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^ "Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study." :thumbup:

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"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:57 pm 
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Great comments 11.4. I love the cynicism of a good scientist. I too did a Masters in molecular biology and worked for a number of years in the field before going into medicine. I find it challenging to read a lot of exercise physiology study because it is so impossible to control so many confounders. Something medicine tries hard to do as well. It is so hard to control human nature and get people to do things reliably. The placebo effect is so powerful. In reading medical literature it really stands out that Placebos are the most consistently powerful and safe medication out there. For so many things that are studied the placebo effect seems to improve the metric being studied by around 20%, it really is truly remarkable how often that happens. This likely though comes from the enrolment of people in rigid testing protocols which puts a shackle on there basic nature (why yes I think I will have another bacon wrapped donut).
Anyway on to the original topic, eat food not pills/supplements. Well balanced well timed diet instead of expensive urine.
And above all listen to tapeworm he usually just makes good sense.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:46 pm 
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Thinking about this thread, I thought I'd add one point. I made an argument upstairs that one tries to stress the body during the building phase of training and then protect the development during the stabilization phase. And this was applied originally to the question of whether to take antioxidants during training and racing.

There are definitely basal levels of all nutritional components that one should be taking at all times. To malnourish your body is never good training. The point would be to maintain basal levels of all nutritional components, including antioxidants, but not take more massive doses (just as one would prefer not to take massive doses of anti-inflammatory meds) during the building phase of a training cycle. Training is never about nutritional abstinence, just not about nutritional excess. What the dividing line will be is something you have to figure out for your own body, but a handful of blueberries on your morning oatmeal is not counterproductive -- it's simply good nutrition. Taking a handful of antioxidant pills on top of that -- that's counterproductive.

Hope that makes sense. Of course it makes it devilishly hard to figure out just how to nourish an athletic body, but that's part of the game in it all.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:16 pm 
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I think it would be hard to obtain serious doses of antioxidants via dietary sources alone, let alone precise antioxidants compounds that would hurt training adaptations, cause it seems not all antiox are created equal in that regard. Sure chugging serious antiox supplement could be detrimental. Over consumming antioxidants can end up being pro-oxidant in some cases... ah! science and it's contradictions!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:48 pm 
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One of the many advantages of eating real food is that it's very difficult to OD on anything. Your body will use as much as it can of any particular vitamin, mineral, or what have you, and excrete the rest. That's not the case with supplements, where it's possible to take in enough to be toxic.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:49 am 
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agreed


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