Dietary supplement speeds silver cyclists

Mar 23, 2010

Taking arginine supplements can improve the cycling ability of over-50s. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition tested a combination of the amino acid and an antioxidant in sixteen cyclists, finding that it enhanced their anaerobic threshold - the amount of work done before lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood.

Zhaoping Li worked with a team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, USA, to carry out the . She said, "The loss of exercise capacity with age often results in a reduction in physical fitness and more rapid senescence. A dietary supplement that increases exercise capacity might help to preserve by optimizing performance and improving general health and well being in older people".

One way in which older people may reduce their exercise capacity revolves around the signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO), which is involved in many physiological processes, including those related to working out. NO production diminishes in quantity and availability as we age and is associated with an increased prevalence of other . In the body, NO is created from the amino acid arginine and is inactivated by oxygen free radicals. By supplementing diet with both the precursor and an anti-oxidant, the researchers hoped to support the NO system in the cyclists and thereby enhance performance.

Sixteen cyclists aged between 50 and 73 were randomly assigned to receive either the supplement or dummy placebo pills. After one week of study, the anaerobic threshold of the supplement group increased, while that of the control group did not significantly alter. This increase in anaerobic threshold was preserved at week three. According to Li, "We've demonstrated a 16.7% increase in anaerobic threshold. This indicates a potential role of arginine and antioxidant supplementation in improving exercise performance in elderly".

Explore further: Down syndrome teens need support, health assessed

More information: Arginine and antioxidant supplement on performance in elderly male cyclists: a randomized controlled trial, Steve Chen, Woosung Kim, Susanne M Henning, Catherine L Carpenter and Zhaoping Li, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (in press), www.jissn.com/

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dietary sport supplement shows strong effects in the elderly

Nov 07, 2008

Beta-alanine (BA), a dietary supplement widely used by athletes and body builders, has been proven to increase the fitness levels of a group of elderly men and women. The research, published in BioMed Central's open access ...

Protein sports drinks proven to give best performance

Dec 24, 2008

Sports drinks containing protein are better at improving athletes' performance. Research published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has shown that drinks containing a mix ...

New study: pine bark extract boosts nitric oxide production

Oct 17, 2007

A study to be published in the October edition of Hypertension Research reveals Pycnogenol, (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, helps individuals by enhancing healthy ...

Discovery could help fight human obesity

Feb 04, 2009

A Texas AgriLife Research scientist and fellow researchers have discovered that arginine, an amino acid, reduces fat mass in diet-induced obese rats and could help fight human obesity.

Recommended for you

Down syndrome teens need support, health assessed

24 minutes ago

Young adults with Down syndrome experience a range of physical and mental health conditions over and above those commonly reported in children with the condition—and these health problems may significantly ...

Time out for exercise

43 minutes ago

University of Queensland researcher has found that restructuring our daily routine to include exercise can have unexpected effects on health.

Possible risk of folic acid overexposure

2 hours ago

A new study has shown that synthetic folic acid, the form taken in folic acid supplements we can buy over the counter, is not processed by the body in the same way as natural folates, the form found in green vegetables.

Is coffee aggravating your hot flashes?

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Drinking caffeine may worsen the hot flashes and night sweats that affect roughly two-thirds of women as they go through menopause, new survey data suggests.

User comments : 0