Sunday, January 12, 2014

Exercise Threesome: Heart Protective Effects of Lifelong Weight Training ✰ Cortisol Doping in High Intensity Sports ✰ Lifelong Exercise Normalizes CVD Risk of T2D Patients

Which of these news do you find more dubious? The fact that weight training is good for the heart or that cortisol doping can make the difference between victory and defeat in high intensity sports?
It's Sunday and I am still trying to figure out, if Sunday or Saturday is the day with the least visitors here at the SuppVersity. I am not sure what exactly you are doing on the weekend, but I guess after reading today's "Exercise Threesome" you will certainly feel "caught in the act" - in the act of working out or in the act of not working out on the weekend ;-)

In the end it does yet not matter if you are a weekend-warrior or loafer, the mere fact that you are here tells me that you must have some kind of interest in exercise and will thus probably not mad at me if I tell you that today's installment of the Short News is an exercise exclusive.

What? Oh right, the topics. Well I guess with heart health, performance and longevity I managed to cover some of the most interesting aspect of exercise training, didn't I?
  • Long-term intense resistance training has beneficial effects on heart health / morphology -- (Morra. 2013) In their latest paper in the Journal of Hypertension, Morra et al. do away with the often-heard prejudice that resistance training as bad for your heart.
    Figure 2:  Central and peripheral hemodynamics and cardiac structural parameters (left), as well as Crude and adjusted central augmentation pressure (cAP) of intense resistance trained, endurance runners, and healthy untrained controls (Morra. 2013)
    As the title of the study already tells you, their analysis of the radial tonometry-pulse wave, pulse wave velocity (PWV), and echocardiogram's of sixty-nine 25-50 year-old male participants (19 intense resistance trained (IRT) group, 21 endurance runners, and 29 CON) revealed "preserved cardiac structure/function, decreased aortic stiffness, and lower central augmentation pressure" in the long-term intense resistance trained study participants.
  • If you don't want to resort to prescription drugs to boost your HIT performance, I'd suggest you take a closer look at the effects of baking soda (NaHCO3) and beta alanine on 4-min All-Out Sprints Even in Highly Trained Athletes.
    Glucocorticoids improve high-intensity exercise performance in humans -- (Casuso. 2013) That's not just the result, it's also the title of a paper in the December edition of the European Journal of Applied Physiology in which  Rafael A. Casuso, Lars Melskens, Thomas Bruhn, Niels H. Secher, and Nikolai Baastrup Nordsborg describe a statistically significant increases of +29% in one-legged dynamic knee-extensor exercise time to exhaustion, and +19% total running distance during a shuttle run test in response to the ingestion of 2 mg of dexamethasone or placebo in the morning (between 7 and 9 a.m.) and evening (between 5 and 9 p.m.) for five consecutive days.

    These improvements didn't come without a minimal downside though: The twitch relaxation was slower (P < 0.05) after dexamethasone compared to placebo treatment after 45 s of exercise. In view of the fact that the rate of force development was higher in the dexmethasone treated subjects, this is yet probably a "downside" professional athletes can cope with. The ~30$ and ~20% increases in strength and sprint endurance, respectively, could after all make the difference between victory and defeat.  
  • Life-long physical activity restores metabolic and cardiovascular function in type 2 diabetes -- (Schreuder. 2013) While the overwhelming majority of epidemiological evidence suggests that the impact of type II diabetes (T2DM) on metabolic and cardiovascular health will necessarily limit our life-expectancy, the results of a recent study from the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in The Netherlands clearly suggests that this may apply only to the lazy majority of T2DM patients.
    Figure 1: Lifetime risk score (%, risk of cardiovascular mortality in the next 30 years) in inactive and age-, sex- and body weight-matched life-long  active T2DM patients, and healthy controls (Schreuder. 2013).
    According to the results of their analysis (see Figure 1) of fitness, HOMA-IR (insulin resistance), brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease in 15 exercising T2DM patients, 12 age-, sex- and weight-matched sedentary T2DM patients and 9 sedentary men that were free of established cardiovascular and metabolic disease and served as controls, being physically active before the diagnosis of T2DM (7.8 ± 6.9 years duration of T2DM at the time of study), and having been physically active for 37.4 ± 8.4 years (18–47 years), with an average number of 5.3 ± 1.8 hours / week of physical activity, nullifies the negative effects of type II diabetes on the lifetime risk if cardiovascular mortality in the next 30 years.
Addison's disease is the consequence of a hereditary cortisol deficiency... looks like pimped up "adrenal fatigue", doesn't it?
Let me guess, you dig the news about the heart protective effects of weight training and are by no means surprised by the CVD protective effects of exercise in type II diabetics, but the thing about the performance enhancing effects of cortisol is giving you headaches, right?

I am not sure how often I will have to repeat that, but cortisol is more important for you than testosterone and growth hormone together. You just have to look at the poor wretches who are born with a congenital cortisol deficiency... I don't even want to start talking about the (usually self-induced) phenomenon people call "adrenal fatigue". If you experienced that once, you will certainly be inclined to believe that cortisol is ergogenic and can help you lose body fat (learn more).
References:
  • Casuso, R. A., Melskens, L., Bruhn, T., Secher, N. H., & Nordsborg, N. B. (2013). Glucocorticoids improve high-intensity exercise performance in humans. European journal of applied physiology.
  • Morra, E. A., Zaniqueli, D., Rodrigues, S. L., El-Aouar, L. M., Lunz, W., Mill, J. G., & Carletti, L. (2013). Long-term intense resistance training in men is associated with preserved cardiac structure/function, decreased aortic stiffness, and lower central augmentation pressure. Journal of hypertension.
  • Schreuder, T. H., Maessen, M. F., Tack, C. J., Thijssen, D. H., & Hopman, M. T. (2013). Life-long physical activity restores metabolic and cardiovascular function in type 2 diabetes. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1-9.