Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Barley Water: Traditional British Soft Drink Turns out to be Natural Ergogenic

A recent investigation into the effects of 4 weeks feeding of barley water (talbina), a traditional British soft drink (click here for recipe) to albino mice found remarkable neurological and endocrine changes (Bawazir, 2010):
[...] this treatment caused significant increase in, dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT) and gamm-aminobutyric acid (GABA) contents in different brain areas (Cerebellum, striatum, cerebral cortex, hypothalamus, brain steam and hippocampus) of male albino rats. Moreover, it caused the maximal increase in GABA content in the cerebral cortex after 4 weeks (+41.51%) and the maximal increase in DA, GABA, 5-HT and 5-HIAA content in the cerebral cortex after 3 weeks ((+62.85, +41.51, +72.73 and (+71.98%, respectively). Significant increases in cortisol (+20.09 %) and testosterone ( 46.8%) levels were found in blood after 4 weeks. The tubules of testis showed an increased active spermatogenesis with significant rise of number of mature sperms.
Before you start boiling washed pearl barley, only to pour hot water over the rind and/or pulp of the fruit, and add some fruit juice and sugar for the taste, in order have a supply of a few liters of self-made talbina for everyday consumption, you should however have a closer look at the following graph taken directly from the study (sorry for the bad image quality):
Fig.1: Changes (%) in Cortisol (left) and testosterone (right) (Bawazir, 2010)
So, even if (in the end) consumption of that brew will give you a testosterone boost the slight fall in testosterone levels accompanied by a major increase in cortisol levels in weeks 1-3 will probably give you a hard time - not so hard as in the first weeks of cold steroid withdrawal but catabolic (low testosterone / cortisol ratio), anyway.