Gain DXA-Confirmed 3% Lean Mass Within ~12h, Glycogen Loading Does the Trick | Plus: Training on 'The Pill' & More...

The first December 2016 research update with studies that are relevant for both, women and men. I mean, who wouldn't want to get sign. more muscular in hours? I guess those who know that this is just an often overlooked measuring error.
Have you ever wondered about the accuracy of your DXA data? It's supposed to be "the gold standard", but you've learned only recently in the SuppVersity Facebook News that this is only the case if you measure at the same time of the day, identical hydration and - as a more recent study shows - even identical glycogen stores. What? Yes, that's right! You can make DXA-confirmed 3% gains in lean mass within hours. Simply by glycogen loading.

You're not interested in body fat data? Well, this is your lucky day. Today's installment of the short news will also discuss the latest study on the interaction between oral contraceptive and the adaptive response to exercise (Schaumberg. 2016).
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That's still not for you? Well, there's also the interaction between glucose, fructose and gastric emptying, which is of "urgent" (keyword: diarrhea vs. fastest glucose uptake) importance for endurance athletes (Shi. 2016).
  • Diarrhea vs. fastest glucose uptake - How the glucose / fructose ratio can make all the difference (Shi. 2016) -- In their latest study, scientists investigated the effect of beverage osmolalities, carbohydrate (CHO) type and CHO concentration on gastric emptying in euhydrated subjects at rest.

    To this ends, the scientists measured the gastric emptying of water (W), and compared it to four glucose beverages containing either 2, 4, 6, or 8% glucose (2G, 4G, 6G, and 8G, respectively) and four sucrose (= 50% glucose + 50% fructose) beverages containing identical percentages, i.e. 2, 4, 6, or 8% of sucrose (2S, 4S, 6S, and 8S) in eight healthy subjects using the modified George double-sampling technique (Beckers. 1988).
    Figure 1: Mean gastric residual volume and gastric emptying rate in with standardized drinks with different carbohydrate sources (glucose or sucrose = 1:1 glucose : fructose) and volume (Shi. 2016).
    The scientists did not find significant differences in the gastric secretion volume among beverages across time and practically less relevant differences for the gastric residual beverage (GRBV) volume. What is interesting for you, on the other hand, is the scientists' observation that the gastric emptying rate (GER) was negatively correlated to the calories emptied (r=0.84) - and that the effect was more pronounced for glucose than for sucrose.

    Bad Fructose? Increased Glycogen Synthesis, Reduced Glycemia, Higher Glucose Oxidation | more
    What does that mean? Well, the answer is simple. Shi et al. provide more evidence of and a "novel" mechanism for the superiority of glucose + fructose mixes as intra- and post-workout shakes. Especially at high energy content, i.e. high levels of glucose and fructose in the drink, they are simply processed faster. Accordingly, it is not surprising that studies show benefits, not detrimental effects of adding the allegedly bad fruit sugar to a sugary intra- or post-workout shake. You can learn more about this in "Bad Fructose? Increased Glycogen Synthesis, Reduced Glycemia, Higher Glucose Oxidation" (more) and "Post-Workout Glycogen Repletion - The Role of Protein, Leucine, Phenylalanine & Insulin" (more).

    On the other hand, the risk of getting diarrhea may increase with each extra-gram of fructose in your intra- or post-workout beverage. The "optimal" 2:1 ratio for glycogen recompensation, I discussed in the previously cited article from 2013.
  • Manipulation of Muscle Creatine and Glycogen Changes DXA Estimates of Body Composition (Bone. 2016) -- As the authors of the previously referred to study say dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) protocols are thought to provide a reliable measurement of body composition. In fact, however, their study shows that the accuracy will largely depend on the muscle glycogen content upon measurement (not so much on the level of creatine, though).

    How do they know? Well, the researchers had eighteen well-trained male cyclists (the training status is important, because the results may well differ for untrained or only recreationally active subjects) participate in a parallel group application of creatine loading (n=9) (20 g/d for 5 d loading; 3 g/d maintenance) or placebo (n=9) with crossover application of glycogen loading (12 v 6 g/kg BM/d for 48 h) as part of a larger study involving a glycogen-depleting exercise protocol. Body composition, total body water, muscle glycogen and creatine content were assessed via DXA, bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy, and standard biopsy techniques.
    Figure 2: Percent changes in leg lean and fat mass vs. baseline following glycogen depletion and creatine and glycogen loading with and without creatine (Bone. 2016).
    Their results confirm glycogen, as the primary determinant of ostensible gains. In fact, glycogen loading, both with and without creatine loading, resulted in substantial increases in estimates of lean body mass (mean +/- SD; 3.0 +/- 0.7 % and 2.0 +/- 0.9 %) and leg lean mass (3.1 +/- 1.8 %and 2.6 +/- 1.0 %) respectively. Cool? Well, the only bad news is that the DXA scan's body fat analysis will be messed up even more (+4.5% of body weight for the whole body, albeit - due to interpersonal differences - not statistically significantly) - in the end, you would thus always be told that you failed to achieve lean gains.
  • Oral Contraceptive Use Dampens Physiological Adaptations to Sprint Interval Training (Schaumberg. 2016) -- Dampens? Yes, this means "the pill" will impair your fitness gains - in this case maximal oxygen uptake (VO2peak) and peak cardiac output (Qpeak), but there is good news, too... before we get to that, however, we should take a brief look at the study design.

    The scientists studied women taking oral contraceptives (OC | n=25) or experiencing natural regular menstrual cycles (MC; n=16) who completed an incremental exercise test to assess VO2peak, PPO, and Qpeak before, immediately after, and four weeks following 12 sessions of SIT. The SIT consisted of 10, one-minute efforts at 100-120% PPO in a 1:2 work:rest ratio.
    Now, the bad news I've already revealed is that the OC group saw a significantly reduced increase in VO2peak (OC +8.5%; MC +13.0%; p=0.010) and Qpeak (OC +4.0%; MC +16.1%; p=0.013), but the good news is...
    • the peak power output (PPO) increased to a similar extent in both groups (OC +13.1%; MC +13.8%; NS), and
    • intriguingly, the OC group showed more sustained training effects in VO2peak (OC -4.0%; MC -7.7%; p=0.010) on the follow up 12 weeks later
    Eventually, SIT did thus (i) improve peak exercise responses in all recreationally-active women, with (ii) women on OC responding significantly worse, yet (ii) more sustained (when the women seized training) than those with natural menstrual cycles.

    Therefore, the authors conclusion that "OC use should be verified, controlled for, and considered when interpreting physiological adaptations to exercise training in women" (Schaumberg. 2016) is obviously right - during detraining, on the other hand, it could be an advantage to be on oral contraceptives (needless to say that the adaptation conserving effects would have to be proven in a future study in which MC women would be put on OC after SIT).
Yes, I do suggest that it may be beneficial to drink these two and another two cups of coffee w/ lots of sugar after your workout - if you are an athlete, at least -- "Post-Workout Coffee Boosts Glycogen Repletion by Up to 30% and May Even Have Sign. Glucose Partitioning Effects" | more
So what's the verdict here? I guess there's no clear verdict on the headliner study. We will need a follow up to investigate whether a woman's "gains" (in this case in the conditioning department) can be conserved if she starts taking oral contraceptives during de-training. What we do know without another study, however, is that taking oral contraceptives during a training period will impair the normal physiological adaptation to sprint training.

And what about the other studies? Well, I guess if you can stomach it (and as of now, nobody complained), the previously discussed 2:1 glucose:fructose ratio is probably the "optimal" natural sugar supplement for your workout.  And if you want to measure your results, you better make sure you did not change your carb intake or had a glycogen depleting workout before doing a DXA scan | Comment!
  • Beckers, E. J., et al. "Determination of total gastric volume, gastric secretion and residual meal using the double sampling technique of George." Gut 29.12 (1988): 1725-1729.
  • Bone, et al. "Manipulation of Muscle Creatine and Glycogen Changes DXA Estimates of Body Composition." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Post Acceptance: November 28, 2016 - doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001174.
  • Schaumberg, et al. "Oral Contraceptive Use Dampens Physiological Adaptations to Sprint Interval Training." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Post Acceptance: November 28, 2016 - doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001171.
  • Shi et al. "Effect of Different Osmolalities, CHO Types, and [CHO] on Gastric Emptying in Humans." Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: Post Acceptance: November 28, 2016 -doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001176.
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