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Abstract and Figures

Previous studies have demonstrated that ayurvedic ingredients exhibit ergogenic (performance enhancing) properties, however, no previous studies have examined the ergogenic potential of Asparagus racemosus. The purpose of the present study was to examine the ergogenic efficacy of supplementation with 500 mg·d−1 of A. racemosus during bench press training. Eighteen recreationally trained men (mean ± SD; age = 20.4 ± 0.5 yrs; height = 179.7 ± 1.5 cm; weight = 84.7 ± 5.7 kg) were randomly assigned either 500 mg·d−1 of A. racemosus (n = 10) or placebo (n = 8). An overlapping sample of 10 participants were used to determine test-retest reliability. Pre- and post-training testing included bench press with one repetition maximum (1RM) and repetitions to failure at 70% of pre-training 1RM. The participants performed two sets of bench press to failure three times a week for eight weeks. Independent t-tests, Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA), and regression analyses were used to analyze the dependent variables. The results demonstrated greater mean percentage (14.3 ± 7.7% vs. 7.8 ± 4.5%; p = 0.048) and individual (80% vs. 50%) increases in 1RM, mean (17.5 ± 2.2 repetitions vs. 15.2 ± 2.2 repetitions; p = 0.044) and individual (80% vs. 38%) increases in repetitions to failure, and a greater rate of increase in training loads for the Asparagus racemosus group than the placebo group. In conjunction with bench press training, supplementation with A. racemosus provided ergogenic benefits compared to placebo.
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Journal of
Functional Morphology
and Kinesiology
Article
The Eects of Asparagus Racemosus
Supplementation Plus 8 Weeks of Resistance Training
on Muscular Strength and Endurance
John Paul V. Anders 1, *, Joshua L. Keller 1, Cory M. Smith 2, Ethan C. Hill 3, Terry J. Housh 1,
Richard J. Schmidt 1and Glen O. Johnson 1
1Department of Nutrition and Human Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE 68510 1, USA;
joshua.keller@huskers.unl.edu (J.L.K.); thoush1@unl.edu (T.J.H.); rschmidt@unl.edu (R.J.S.);
gojohnson10@gmail.com (G.O.J.)
2Kinesiology, College of Health Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968, USA;
cmsmith7@utep.edu
3Division of Kinesiology, School of Kinesiology & Physical Therapy, University of Central Florida, Orlando,
FL 32816, USA; ethan.hill@ucf.edu
*Correspondence: janders@huskers.unl.edu
Received: 11 December 2019; Accepted: 14 January 2020; Published: 17 January 2020


Abstract:
Previous studies have demonstrated that ayurvedic ingredients exhibit ergogenic
(performance enhancing) properties, however, no previous studies have examined the ergogenic
potential of Asparagus racemosus. The purpose of the present study was to examine the ergogenic
ecacy of supplementation with 500 mg
·
d
1
of A. racemosus during bench press training. Eighteen
recreationally trained men (mean
±
SD; age =20.4
±
0.5 yrs; height =179.7
±
1.5 cm; weight =84.7
±
5.7 kg) were randomly assigned either 500 mg
·
d
1
of A. racemosus (n=10) or placebo (n=8).
An overlapping sample of 10 participants were used to determine test-retest reliability. Pre- and
post-training testing included bench press with one repetition maximum (1RM) and repetitions to
failure at 70% of pre-training 1RM. The participants performed two sets of bench press to failure
three times a week for eight weeks. Independent t-tests, Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA), and
regression analyses were used to analyze the dependent variables. The results demonstrated greater
mean percentage (14.3
±
7.7% vs. 7.8
±
4.5%; p=0.048) and individual (80% vs. 50%) increases in
1RM, mean (17.5
±
2.2 repetitions vs. 15.2
±
2.2 repetitions; p=0.044) and individual (80% vs. 38%)
increases in repetitions to failure, and a greater rate of increase in training loads for the Asparagus
racemosus group than the placebo group. In conjunction with bench press training, supplementation
with A. racemosus provided ergogenic benefits compared to placebo.
Keywords: Asparagus racemosus; resistance training; bench press; supplement; Ayurveda
1. Introduction
Ayurveda is an ancient medical tradition originating in India that has grown in popularity
as an alternative medicine [
1
]. Ayurveda consists of eight divisions of healing and approximately
1250 plants that have been used for Ayurvedic formulations to treat a wide range of ailments [
2
].
In Ayurveda, Asparagus racemosus is one of the most popular adaptogens that is classified as a
rasayana, a plant that improves vitality, immunity, and vigor [
1
,
3
]. A member of the Asparagaceae
family, A. racemosus is characterized as a tuberous, climbing plant found throughout Asia, Australia,
and Africa [
4
]. A. racemosus has previously been demonstrated to elicit antitussive, antibacterial,
antihepatotoxic, immunomodulatory, and antioxidant eects in both rat and human models [
4
].
The primary
phytochemicals found in A. racemosus include saponins, such as shatavarin VI and
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4; doi:10.3390/jfmk5010004 www.mdpi.com/journal/jfmk
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 2 of 11
shatavarin VII [
5
], as well as antioxidants such as asparagamine A, racemosol, and racemofuran [
2
].
Steroidal saponins are a diverse group of glycosides whose structural complexity results in a wide
range of biological and chemical properties [
6
] that may be a source of health benefits associated with
herbal medicines [
7
,
8
]. Antioxidants are enzymatic and nonenzymatic agents that neutralize and
reduce the damage elicited by reactive oxygen species which are overproduced during strenuous bouts
of aerobic and anaerobic exercise [
9
]. Under some conditions, antioxidant supplementation has been
shown to positively aect exercise performance [
10
,
11
]. No studies, however, have investigated the
ergogenic (performance enhancing) potential of supplementation with A. racemosus.
Previous studies have suggested that Ayurvedic ingredients may also function as an ergogenic
aid [
12
15
]. Specifically, Wankhede et al. [
12
] demonstrated that eight weeks of resistance training and
supplementation with 600 mg
·
d
1
of ashwagandha root extract resulted in greater improvements in
upper and lower body strength, muscle size, body composition, serum testosterone, and markers of
muscle recovery compared to placebo in untrained men. Das et al. [
13
] demonstrated
that 12
weeks
of
250 mg·d1
of shilajit supplementation with a four week aerobic training program promoted
collagen and extracellular matrix-associated gene transcription in overweight/obese men and
women. Furthermore, Keller et al. [
14
] demonstrated that following eight weeks of 500 mg
·
d
1
of shilajit supplementation attenuated fatigue and reduced baseline levels of serum hydroxyproline in
recreationally trained men. Tanabe et al. [
15
] reported attenuated declines in force production and
serum creatine kinase activity compared to placebo following 150 mg of curcumin before and 150 mg
of curcumin after eccentric muscle actions of the forearm flexors. Thus, previous studies [
12
15
] have
shown that Ayurvedic ingredients may have ergogenic properties that enhance the adaptations to
exercise training.
Previous research has demonstrated improved physical performance following supplementation
with ayurvedic extracts, supplements, and ingredients [
12
15
]. Furthermore, A. racemosus has potential
properties [
4
,
5
] that may lead to similar improvements in exercise performance [
12
15
]. Therefore,
the purpose
of the present study was to examine the ergogenic ecacy of supplementation with
500 mg·d1
of A. racemosus during bench press training. Based on the result of previous studies [
12
15
],
it was hypothesized that daily supplementation with A. racemosus would improve measures of muscular
strength and endurance compared to placebo.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Participants
Twenty-six men volunteered to participate in this study (Table 1). Ten of the participants were
randomly assigned to the A. racemosus group and eight to the placebo group. An overlapping sample
of 10 men (age =22.0
±
2.3 years; height =177.8
±
6.9 cm; body mass =76.3
±
24.2 kg) were used to
determine the test-retest reliability for the dependent variables and calculate the minimal dierence (MD)
statistic [
16
]. Two of the 10 participants used for the test-retest reliability analyses were also participants
in the A. racemosus group (n=1) or the placebo group (n=1). All participants were recreationally trained
and had previously participated in resistance training exercises [
17
].
The participants
had no known
prior cardiovascular, metabolic, pulmonary, or musculoskeletal diseases. In addition,
the participants
reported no use of any medication, nutritional product, dietary supplement, or dietary program within
the last month which would have interfered with the conduct of the study.
The study
was approved
by the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (IRB #
20190219049FB, date: 19 month 2019). The participants signed a written informed consent and health
history questionnaire prior to participation.
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 3 of 11
2.2. Familiarization Visit
The first laboratory visit consisted of an orientation session to familiarize the participants with the
testing and training protocols. During the orientation, the participants performed submaximal bench
press repetitions. The participants then scheduled their pre-training test visit.
Table 1. Participant Characteristics.
Asparagus Racemosus Placebo
Age (years) 20.1 ±1.2 20.7 ±1.1
Height (cm) 180.7 ±6.3 178.6 ±5.5
Body Mass (kg)
Pre-Training 88.2 ±12.8 81.4 ±11.0
Post-Training 88.6 ±13.0 80.5 ±11.6
Note: There were no significant (p>0.05) pre-training dierences between the A. racemosus and placebo groups for
age, height, or body mass. Furthermore, there were no pre-training versus post-training changes in body mass for
the A. racemosus or placebo groups.
2.3. Pre-Training Test Visit
During the pre-training test visit, the participants performed a one-repetition maximum strength
test (1RM) and a bench press repetitions-to-failure test. The bench press was performed on a standard
free-weight bench (Body Power, Williamsburg, VA, USA) with a traditional Olympic barbell. After an
initial lift ofrom a spotter, the participants were instructed to control the barbell down until it made
contact with their chest, then lift the barbell back to a locked-out position in a controlled movement.
During all bench press repetitions, a spotter was standing in position behind the bench to prepare to
lift the barbell in the event the participant was unable to successfully complete a repetition. The 1RM
was performed according to the guidelines established by the National Strength and Conditioning
Association [
18
]. Specifically, a light warm-up set was performed for 5–10 repetitions at 50% of their
estimated 1RM, followed by 2–3 heavier warm up sets of 2–5 repetitions with loads increasing by
10–20% each set. The participants then began completing sets of 1 repetition with increasing loads
(5–10%) until they were no longer able to complete a single repetition. Verbal encouragement was
provided, and two minutes of rest were allotted between sets. The highest load (kg) successfully
lifted through the entire range of motion with proper technique was considered a 1RM. The 1RM was
determined within 3 to 5 sets. After 10 min of rest, bench press repetitions to failure was assessed by
participants performing one set of as many repetitions to failure with a load corresponding to 70% of
the 1RM established during the pre-training test visit. Failure was defined as the inability to complete
a proper repetition [
18
]. The participants were then randomized in either 500 mg d
1
of A. racemosus
(Natreon Inc., New Brunswick, NJ, USA; n=10) or 500 mg
·
d
1
of placebo (n=8; microcrystalline
cellulose) and instructed to consumed 2 capsules (250 mg each) of their assigned supplement once a day
for 8 weeks. All capsules were identical in size, appearance, and taste. At the end of the pre-training
test visit, participants were instructed to complete and return a 3-day dietary recall form.
2.4. Training Visits
The training visits were supervised and performed 3 days a week for 8 weeks. Prior to the start of
each training session, an investigator confirmed that the participants were consuming their assigned
supplement and asked whether they had experienced any adverse events. During each training visit,
the participants warmed up with 2 to 3 sets of low load resistance, then completed 2 sets of bench
press to failure with loads initially corresponding to 80% of their 1RM. Verbal encouragement was
provided during each set and two minutes of rest was allotted between sets. If a participant was able
to perform more than 8 repetitions on the second set, 2.3 kg was added to the start of the next training
session. In the last week of the of the study, the participants were instructed to complete and return a
second 3-day dietary recall form.
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 4 of 11
2.5. Post-Training Test Visit
Following 8 weeks of training and supplementation, the participants underwent a post-training
test visit using the same testing protocol as the pre-training test visit. The post-training test visit
included a 1RM bench press and bench press repetitions to failure at 70% of the pre-training 1RM.
2.6. Reliability of Bench Press 1RM and Endurance
Repeated measures of bench press 1RM and bench press repetitions-to-failure tests were assessed
2–7 days apart to determine test-retest reliability. The participants (n=10) performed a 1RM, followed
by bench press repetitions to failure and the protocols used were identical to those used during the
pre-training and post-training test visits.
2.7. Statistical Analyses
Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to determine dierences between the A. racemosus
and placebo groups for post-training bench press 1RM and repetitions to failure, covaried for pre-training
values. Independent samples t-tests were used to compare the percent change in bench press 1RM
and bench press repetitions to failure between the A. racemosus and placebo groups.
The training
loads for each visit across the eight weeks were log transformed and linear regression analyses were
performed to compare the slope coecients for the training load versus training visit relationship
between the A. racemosus and placebo groups. Separate 2 (Group [A. racemosus and Placebo])
×
2 (Time
[Pre-training and Post-training]) mixed factorial ANOVAs were used to compare total caloric and
macronutrient intakes across the training period. Test-retest reliability for bench press 1RM and bench
press repetitions to failure were assessed with a repeated measures ANOVA to identify systematic
error and a 2,k model was used to determine the intraclass correlation coecient (ICC) and minimal
dierence (MD) [16]. Specifically, the formula used to calculate the MD was [16]:
MD =SEM ×1.96 ×2
where the SEM is the standard error of the measurement that was estimated from the square root
of the mean square error from the ANOVA analyses [
16
]. While various methods are available to
estimate the SEM, using the mean square error as opposed to methods utilizing the ICC allows for
more consistency in interpreting the SEM across dierent studies [
16
]. Eect sizes (
η2p
and Cohen’s d)
were calculated for each comparison and an alpha of p<0.05 was considered statistically significant
for all tests. The statistical analyses were performed using IBM SPSS v 25 (Armonk, NY, USA).
3. Results
3.1. Reliability
The test-retest reliability for mean dierences (systematic error), ICCs, and MD for bench press
1RM and repetitions to failure were calculated using the 2,k model described by Weir [
16
]. There were
no mean dierences between test versus retest of the bench press 1RM (104.8
±
22.7 vs. 105.7
±
22.6;
p=0.440
,
η2p
=0.067) and bench press repetitions to failure (13.4
±
1.4 vs. 14.4
±
1.3; p=0.051,
η2p
=
0.360) (Table 2).
3.2. Adverse Events, Adherence, Compliance, and Dietary Recall
The participants reported no adverse or serious adverse events during the study and all of the
participants completed 24 bench press training sessions. The participants reported consuming all
daily doses of their assigned supplement throughout the eight week training period. There were no
significant interactions (p=0.149–0.812;
η2p
=0.004–0.126) or main eects for Group (p=0.149–0.812;
η2p
=0.004–0.126) or Time (p=0.225–0.970;
η2p
=0.000–0.091) for total calories, carbohydrate, fat, and
protein intake from their three day dietary recalls (Table 3).
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 5 of 11
Table 2.
Test-retest reliability for bench press one repetition maximum (1RM) and bench press repetitions
to failure.
Visit 1
(Mean ±SD)
Visit 2
(Mean ±SD) p-Value ICC ICC 95% CI SEM CV (%) MD
1RM (kg) 104.8 ±22.7 105.6 ±22.6 0.440 0.994 0.98–0.99 2.53 2.4 7.01
Repetitions to
Failure 13.8 ±1.5 14.4 ±1.3 0.051 0.90 0.58–0.97 0.68 4.8 1.90
CV (%) =coecient of variation; ICC =interclass correlation coecient; ICC 95%; CI =interclass correlation
coecient 95% confidence interval; MD =minimal dierence needed to be considered real; p-value =type I error
rate for the one-way repeated measures analyses used to assess systematic variability; SEM =standard error of
the measurement.
Table 3.
Mean
±
SD of total calories, carbohydrate, fat, and protein consumption across 3 days before
and after training.
Pre-Training Post-Training
Asparagus Racemosus Placebo Asparagus Racemosus Placebo
Total Calories (kcal) 1623.1 ±524.2
1639.0
±
505.1
1544.1 ±432.15
1953.2
±
946.6
Carbohydrate (g) 154.1 ±45.1 170.5 ±55.5 138.6 ±50.5 218.7 ±151.2
Fat (g) 61.0 ±23.5 54.4 ±19.1 73.9 ±45.4 65.5 ±27.2
Protein (g) 112.8 ±83.3 102.3 ±35.0 97.8 ±53.5 118.6 ±45.6
3.3. Bench Press 1RM and Bench Press Repetitions to Failure
There was no significant (p=0.196,
η2p
=0.109) dierence for the adjusted mean bench press
1RM between the A. racemosus (106.1
±
5.1 kg) and placebo (102.7
±
5.1 kg) groups when covaried
for pre-training values (Table 4). The results of the independent samples t-test demonstrated that the
A. racemosus
group had a significantly (p=0.048) greater percent change in bench press 1RM (14.3
±
7.7%) compared to the placebo group (7.8
±
4.5 %; d=1.06) (Table 4). The MD for a change to be real for
bench press 1RM of an individual participant was 7.01 kg, based on the reliability data (Table 2). In the
A. racemosus group, eight of the 10 participants exceeded the MD while four of the eight participants in
the placebo group exceeded the MD.
Table 4.
Individual values as well as absolute and adjusted mean
±
SD values for pre-training and
post-training bench press 1RM.
Participant Pre-Training
1RM (kg)
Post-Training
1RM (kg)
Absolute
Change (kg)
Percent
Change (%)
Asparagus Racemosus Group
1 70.3 83.9 13.6 * 19.3
2 79.4 93.0 13.6 * 17.1
3 124.7 124.7 0.0 0.0
4 83.9 102.1 18.2 * 21.6
5 115.7 124.7 9.1 * 7.8
6 102.1 115.7 13.6 * 13.3
7 52.2 65.8 13.6 * 26.1
8 90.7 97.5 6.8 7.5
9 102.1 115.7 13.6 * 13.3
10 79.4 93.0 13.6 * 17.1
Mean 90.0 ±21.7 101.6 ±18.9 11.6 ±5.1 14.3 ±7.7 **
Adjusted Mean 106.1 ±5.1
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 6 of 11
Table 4. Cont.
Participant Pre-Training
1RM (kg)
Post-Training
1RM (kg)
Absolute
Change (kg)
Percent
Change (%)
Placebo Group
1 83.9 93.0 9.1 * 10.8
2 79.4 81.7 2.3 2.9
3 65.8 68.0 2.3 3.5
4 142.9 154.2 11.3 * 7.9
5 102.1 115.7 13.6 * 13.3
6 111.1 117.9 6.8 6.1
7 97.5 111.1 13.6 * 14.0
8 120.2 124.7 4.5 3.8
Mean 100.4 ±24.6 108.3 ±26.9 7.9 ±4.7 7.8 ±4.5
Adjusted Mean 102.7 ±5.1
* Minimal dierence (MD) value for a change to be “real” for an individual participant in bench press 1RM was 7.01
kg, based on reliability data in Table 2. ** Percent change (%) in 1M bench press for the A. racemosus group was
greater than the placebo group at p=0.048. Adjusted mean
±
SD post-test values were covaried for pre-training
values for the A. racemosus group and the placebo group.
The A. racemosus group demonstrated significantly (p=0.044) greater adjusted mean bench press
repetitions to failure (17.5
±
2.2 repetitions) than the placebo group (15.2
±
2.2;
η2p
=0.243) when
covaried for pre-training values (Table 5). There was no significant dierence (p =0.058) in the percent
change for bench press repetitions to failure between the A. racemosus (33.2
±
27.8 %) and placebo
groups (12.2
±
11.1 %; d=1.00) (Table 5). The MD for the change to be real for bench press repetitions
to failure was 1.9 repetitions, based on the reliability data (Table 2). In the A. racemosus group, eight of
the 10 participants exceeded the MD, while three of the 8 participants in the placebo group exceeded
the MD.
3.4. Training Load
Over eight weeks of training, the rate of change in the bench press training loads was significantly
(p<0.001) greater for the A. racemosus group (slope =0.004
±
0.0005) than the placebo group (slope =
0.002 ±0.0002) (Figure 1).
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020, 5, x FOR PEER REVIEW 7 of 11
7 15 19 4 * 26.7
8 15 18 3 * 20.0
Mean 13.5 ± 1.6 15.1 ± 2.3 1.6 ± 1.5 12.2 ± 11.1
Adjusted Mean 15.2 ± 2.2
* Minimal difference (MD) value for a change to be “real” for an individual participant in bench press
repetitions to failure was 1.90 repetitions, based on reliability data in Table 2. ** Adjusted post-training
repetitions to failure for the A. racemosus group was greater than the placebo group at p = 0.044.
Adjusted mean ± SD post-test values were covaried for pre-training values for the A. racemosus group
and the placebo group.
3.4. Training Load
Over eight weeks of training, the rate of change in the bench press training loads was
significantly (p < 0.001) greater for the A. racemosus group (slope = 0.004 ± 0.0005) than the placebo
group (slope = 0.002 ± 0.0002) (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Regression analyses of the log-transformed training loads for the A. racemosus (AR) group
() and the placebo group (---). * Indicates the slope coefficient for the A. racemosus group was
significantly (p < 0.001) greater than the placebo group.
4. Discussion
The purpose of the present study was to examine the ergogenic efficacy of A. racemosus during
eight weeks of bench press training. The results of the study demonstrated that supplementing with
500 mg·d1 of A. racemosus, in conjunction with bench press training three days per week, resulted in
a 6.5% greater increase in bench press 1RM (14.3 ± 7.7% vs. 7.8 ± 4.5%) and a greater increase in bench
press repetitions to failure (17.5 ± 2.2 repetitions vs. 15.2 ± 2.2 repetitions) compared to placebo.
Furthermore, daily supplementation with A. racemosus allowed for a greater rate of increase in
training load throughout the eight weeks compared to the placebo group. Thus, the results of the
present study suggested that supplementation with A. racemosus facilitated greater increases in
training loads throughout the eight weeks of resistance training that likely contributed to the
improvements in muscular strength and endurance.
The results of the test-retest reliability data demonstrated that the bench press 1RM and bench
press repetitions to failure were highly reliable measures of muscular strength and endurance (Table
2). Calculation of the MD values from the reliability analyses in the present study indicated that for
individual participants, training-induced changes in bench press 1RM and bench press repetitions to
failure of 7.0 kg and 1.9 repetitions, respectively, were required to be considered “real” [16]. A recent
Figure 1.
Regression analyses of the log-transformed training loads for the A. racemosus (AR) group (–)
and the placebo group (—). * Indicates the slope coecient for the A. racemosus group was significantly
(p<0.001) greater than the placebo group.
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 7 of 11
Table 5.
Individual values as well as absolute and adjusted mean
±
SD values for pre-training and
post-training bench press repetitions to failure.
Participant Pre-Training
Repetitions
Post-Training
Repetitions
Absolute Change
(Repetitions)
Percent
Change (%)
Asparagus Racemosus Group
1 12 20 8 * 66.7
2 14 15 1 7.1
3 14 13 1 7.0
4 13 18 5 * 38.5
5 15 18 3 * 20.0
6 15 17 2 * 13.3
7 10 19 9 * 90.0
8 15 19 4 * 26.7
9 11 16 5 * 45.5
10 17 20 3 * 17.6
Mean 13.6 ±2.1 17.5 ±2.3 4.1 ±2.7 33.2 ±27.4
Adjusted Mean 17.5 ±2.2 **
Placebo Group
1 14 14 0 0.0
2 14 14 0 0.0
3 11 12 1 9.1
4 11 14 3 * 27.3
5 14 15 1 7.1
6 14 15 1 7.1
7 15 19 4 * 26.7
8 15 18 3 * 20.0
Mean 13.5 ±1.6 15.1 ±2.3 1.6 ±1.5 12.2 ±11.1
Adjusted Mean 15.2 ±2.2
* Minimal dierence (MD) value for a change to be “real” for an individual participant in bench press repetitions to
failure was 1.90 repetitions, based on reliability data in Table 2. ** Adjusted post-training repetitions to failure for
the A. racemosus group was greater than the placebo group at p=0.044. Adjusted mean
±
SD post-test values were
covaried for pre-training values for the A. racemosus group and the placebo group.
4. Discussion
The purpose of the present study was to examine the ergogenic ecacy of A. racemosus during
eight weeks of bench press training. The results of the study demonstrated that supplementing with
500 mg
·
d
1
of A. racemosus, in conjunction with bench press training three days per week, resulted
in a 6.5% greater increase in bench press 1RM (14.3
±
7.7% vs. 7.8
±
4.5%) and a greater increase
in bench press repetitions to failure (17.5
±
2.2 repetitions vs. 15.2
±
2.2 repetitions) compared to
placebo. Furthermore, daily supplementation with A. racemosus allowed for a greater rate of increase
in training load throughout the eight weeks compared to the placebo group. Thus, the results of the
present study suggested that supplementation with A. racemosus facilitated greater increases in training
loads throughout the eight weeks of resistance training that likely contributed to the improvements in
muscular strength and endurance.
The results of the test-retest reliability data demonstrated that the bench press 1RM and bench
press repetitions to failure were highly reliable measures of muscular strength and endurance (Table 2).
Calculation of the MD values from the reliability analyses in the present study indicated that for
individual participants, training-induced changes in bench press 1RM and bench press repetitions to
failure of 7.0 kg and 1.9 repetitions, respectively, were required to be considered “real” [
16
]. A recent
review [
19
] has characterized individuals as high or low responders to training-induced adaptations
to resistance training. Thus, it is important to examine the training-induced responses of individual
participants, as well as group mean responses. The findings of the present study demonstrated no
mean dierence between groups for improvements in absolute bench press 1RM (Table 4), but a greater
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 8 of 11
mean improvement in absolute bench press repetitions to failure (Table 5) for the A. racemosus group
than the placebo group. On an individual basis, however, 80% of the participants in the A. racemosus
group exceeded the MD of 7.01 kg needed to be considered a real change for the bench press 1RM, while
only 50% of participants exceeded the MD for the placebo group. For bench press repetitions to failure,
80% of the participants in the A. racemosus group exceeded the MD of 1.9 repetitions to failure needed
to be considered a real change, compared to 38% of the participants in the placebo group. Calculation
of the MD in the present study allowed for a practical interpretation of the training-induced changes in
muscular strength and endurance on a participant by participant basis [
16
]. Thus, the results of the
present study demonstrated that supplementation with A. racemosus elicited greater improvements
for bench press 1RM and bench press repetitions to failure compared to placebo on an individual
participant basis that were only partially reflected in the group mean analyses (Tables 4and 5).
In the present study, supplementation with A. racemosus over eight weeks elicited a greater rate of
increase in the training loads compared to the placebo group (Figure 1). The greater rate of increase in
the training load for the A. racemosus group likely contributed the greater mean increase in bench press
repetitions to failure, as well as the greater percentage of “real” individual increases in both bench press
1RM and bench press repetitions to failure compared to the placebo group. It is possible that the greater
rate of increase in training loads over a longer period of resistance training plus supplementation with
A. racemosus would lead to greater mean and individual increases in muscular strength and endurance.
No previous studies have examined the influence of supplementation with A. racemosus on exercise
performance. In the Ayurvedic tradition, A. racemosus has been utilized as an adaptogen [
2
4
] in
part due to its antioxidant [
4
,
20
] properties. Reactive oxygen species, such as those produced during
exercise [
21
], undergo oxidative reactions with cellular mechanisms that can impair muscle function
and growth through the disruption of cellular functions such as myofibrillar calcium dynamics and
gene transcription [
22
,
23
]. Enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants function to buer, scavenge,
and minimize the deleterious eects of reactive oxygen species [
24
,
25
]. Wiboonpun et al. [
26
]
reported the presence of antioxidants in A. racemosus including asparagamine A, racemosol, and
racemofuran. Furthermore, Kamat et al. [
20
] demonstrated that supplementation with A. racemosus
attenuated mitochondrial oxidative stress elicited by radiation-induced reactive oxygen species in
the rat model. Although there is conflicting evidence [
27
,
28
], the use of antioxidants as an ergogenic
aid has demonstrated improvements in exercise performance [
10
,
11
,
29
,
30
]. For example, Aguilo et
al. [
29
] reported that the antioxidant eects of 90 days of vitamin E and ß-carotene supplementation
during duathlon training resulted in improved lactate buering and utilization. Bowtell et al. [
30
]
found that the antioxidant eects associated with seven days of Montmorency cherry juice concentrate
supplementation led to improved force recovery and lower creatine kinase activity 24 and 48 h
following a muscle-damaging protocol that included 10 sets of 10 repetitions of leg extensions at
80% of 1RM. Levers et al. [
11
] showed that the antioxidant eects of 10 days of powdered tart cherry
supplementation reduced the perception of muscle soreness and serum creatinine concentrations
following 10 sets of 10 repetitions of back squat at 70% of 1RM. During submaximal cycle ergometry,
McKenna et al. [
10
] reported a greater time to exhaustion and improved plasma potassium regulation
with continuous infusion of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine. In the present study, exercise-induced
oxidative stress [
23
] may have been mitigated by the antioxidant properties of A. racemosus, which
enhanced muscle recovery and reduced muscle soreness on a day-to-day basis that contributed to
the greater rate of increase in training load throughout the eight weeks of training. The antioxidant
eects of A. racemosus may have also contributed to the mean improvements in muscular endurance
and the higher percentage of individual participants who exhibited real training-induced increases
in bench press 1RM and bench press repetitions to failure. Further research is needed to determine
if there are mechanisms, in addition to antioxidant properties, that underly the ergogenic ecacy of
supplementation with A. racemosus.
Limitations of the present study include the low mean total caloric and macronutrient consumption
values from the 3-day dietary recall when compared to the dietary recommendations for the participants’
J. Funct. Morphol. Kinesiol. 2020,5, 4 9 of 11
age demographic [
31
]. Previous studies, however, have demonstrated that dietary recalls are subject
to systematic underreporting of nutritional intake [
32
]. The present study utilized only the bench
press to assess muscular strength and endurance. It remains unclear whether the ergogenic ecacy of
A. racemosus
supplementation is limited to resistance training modalities and when supplemented by
men. In addition, the participants self-reported their adherence to daily supplementation but were not
supervised in the taking of their assigned supplement.
5. Conclusions
This is the first study that has examined the eects of supplementation with A. racemosus on
exercise performance. The results demonstrated that during the eight weeks of resistance training,
supplementation with 500 mg
·
d
1
of A. racemosus elicited greater mean percentage and individual
increases in bench press 1RM, mean and individual increases in bench press repetitions to failure, and
a greater rate of increase in bench press training loads compared to placebo. It was hypothesized
that the ergogenic eects of A. racemosus were due to its antioxidant properties. Future studies are
warranted to examine the ergogenic ecacy of A. racemosus with exercise modalities other than upper
body resistance training.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization, J.P.V.A., T.J.H., G.O.J. and R.J.S.; methodology, J.P.V.A., T.J.H., G.O.J.
and R.J.S.; software J.P.V.A. and C.M.S.; formal Analysis, J.P.V.A. and T.J.H.; investigation, C.M.S., T.J.H., E.C.H.
and J.L.K.; resources, C.M.S., E.C.H., T.J.H., G.O.J., and R.J.S.; data curation, J.P.V.A., T.J.H., C.M.S., G.O.J., and
R.J.S., writing—original Draft Preparation, J.P.V.A., T.J.H.; writing—review and editing, J.P.V.A., T.J.H., E.C.H.,
J.L.K., G.O.J., and R.J.S., visualization, J.P.V.A. and T.J.H.; project administration, T.J.H., G.O.J., and R.J.S. All
authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding:
This study was funded by Natreon, Inc. (New Brunswick, NJ, USA). Natreon Inc. provided the
supplements and placebo used for this study.
Conflicts of Interest:
The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the
study; in the collection, analyses or interpretation of the data; in the wiring of the manuscript; or in the decision to
publish the results.
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... phosphorylation of p70S6k Thr389 , 4EBP1 Thr37/46 or S6 Ser240/244 . An earlier study showed that shatavari promoted strength gains in young men during eight weeks of bench press training [2]. However, this study did not attempt to elucidate possible mechanisms of shatavari action. ...
... However, the work of Anders et al. in young men suggests that the mechanism of shatavari action in skeletal muscle is likely more complicated than estradiol-mimicking effects alone [2]. ...
... Therefore, to provide mechanistic insights and signposts for future work, we performed tandem mass tagged global proteomics on skeletal muscle samples that remained from our original shatavari supplementation study in postmenopausal women. Given our previous work and the work of Anders et al. [2] we hypothesised that shatavari supplementation might increase the levels of proteins associated with muscle protein synthesis and myosin function. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Purpose Shatavari is an understudied but widely available herbal supplement. It contains steroidal saponins and phytoestrogenic compounds. We previously showed that 6 weeks of shatavari supplementation improved handgrip strength and increased markers of myosin contractile function. Mechanistic insights into shatavari’s actions are limited. Therefore, we performed global proteomics on vastus lateralis (VL) samples that remained from our original study. Methods In a randomised double-blind trial, women (68.5 ± 6 years) ingested either placebo or shatavari (equivalent to 26,500 mg/d fresh weight) for 6 weeks. Tandem mass tag global proteomic analysis of VL samples was conducted (participants - N = 7 shatavari, N = 5 placebo). Data were normalised to total peptides and scaled using a reference sample across experiments. Data were filtered using a 5% FDR. Log2 transformed fold change (week 6 vs baseline) was calculated and Welch’s t-test performed. Over-representation (ORA) and pathway enrichment analyses (PADOG) were conducted in Reactome (v79). Results 76 VL proteins were differentially expressed between placebo and shatavari. ORA demonstrated that proteins in pathways related to metabolism of proteins, amino acids and RNA were downregulated by shatavari. Proteins related to the pentose phosphate pathway were upregulated. PADOG showed that proteins in pathways related to integrin/MAPK signalling, cell growth, metabolism, apoptosis, elastic fibre formation, the neuronal system and chemical synapse transmission were significantly upregulated. Conclusion Our analyses indicate that shatavari may support muscle adaptation responses to exercise. These data provide useful signposts for future investigation of shatavari’s utility in conserving and enhancing musculoskeletal function. Trial registration NCT05025917 30/08/21, retrospectively registered.
... The evaluation of strength endurance by means of a repetition maximum test (occasionally also called repetition endurance test) usually involves an exercise being performed to momentary failure at either a fixed absolute load, expressed in a unit of mass like kg or lbs, or a fixed relative load that has been normalized to the exercise-specific one-repetition maximum (1-RM). The concept is widely applied by coaches to guide resistance training programming [1,3,4]. However, given the fact that resistance training is usually carried out across a wider spectrum of loads, assessing the RTF an individual can execute at a single load only provides limited insight into a person's fatigue resistance. ...
... In particular, the SEM for the 1-RM was found to be likely less than the smallest load increment applied during the 1-RM assessment in the present study (2.5 kg). These findings correspond to previous research reporting excellent reliability of 1-RM performance in the bench press exercise [4,35,36]. Similarly, the RTF at 90, 80 and 70% 1-RM revealed high absolute consistency, the SEM likely being less than 1.5 repetitions at 70% 1-RM, and less than 1 repetition at 90% and 80% 1-RM. Posterior distribution analysis revealed no systematic differences of SEM between RTF performed at 70%, 80% and 90% 1-RM. ...
... Conforming trends for the reliability of the RTF performed at given relative loads can be observed from other sources. For example, Anders and colleagues reported an ICC of 0.90 (95% CI: [0.58, 0.97]) for RTF completed at 70% 1-RM in the bench press [4], indicating a similar magnitude compared to the present study (ICC [90% HDI] = 0.86 [0.71, 0.93]). While the reported SEM of 0.68 repetitions was noticeably lower compared to the present study, the authors also described a lower between-subject standard deviation of ±1.5 repetitions. ...
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The present study was designed to evaluate the test-retest consistency of repetition maximum tests at standardized relative loads and determine the robustness of strength-endurance profiles across test-retest trials. Twenty-four resistance-trained males and females (age, 27.4 ± 4.0 y; body mass, 77.2 ± 12.6 kg; relative bench press one-repetition maximum [1-RM], 1.19 ± 0.23 kg•kg ⁻¹ ) were assessed for their 1-RM in the free-weight bench press. After 48 to 72 hours, they were tested for the maximum number of achievable repetitions at 90%, 80% and 70% of their 1-RM. A retest was completed for all assessments one week later. Gathered data were used to model the relationship between relative load and repetitions to failure with respect to individual trends using Bayesian multilevel modeling and applying four recently proposed model types. The maximum number of repetitions showed slightly better reliability at lower relative loads (ICC at 70% 1-RM = 0.86, 90% highest density interval: [0.71, 0.93]) compared to higher relative loads (ICC at 90% 1-RM = 0.65 [0.39, 0.83]), whereas the absolute agreement was slightly better at higher loads (SEM at 90% 1-RM = 0.7 repetitions [0.5, 0.9]; SEM at 70% 1-RM = 1.1 repetitions [0.8, 1.4]). The linear regression model and the 2-parameters exponential regression model revealed the most robust parameter estimates across test-retest trials. Results testify to good reproducibility of repetition maximum tests at standardized relative loads obtained over short periods of time. A complementary free-to-use web application was developed to help practitioners calculate strength-endurance profiles and build individual repetition maximum tables based on robust statistical models.
... Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to compare the effects of 28 days of supplementation with a blend of phosphocreatine disodium salts plus blueberry extract (PCDSB), CM, and placebo on measures of muscular strength, power, and endurance. Based on the findings of previous studies [11,22,23], we hypothesized that supplementation with PCDSB would exhibit greater improvements in muscular strength, power, and endurance than supplementation with CM or placebo. ...
... Evidence regarding the use of antioxidants have reported equivocal reports, including studies suggesting that antioxidants may blunt cellular mechanisms associated with adaptation and recovery [44,45]. Antioxidant supplementation, however, has been demonstrated to improve strength [23,46] and power [47], as well as delay the effects of fatigue [23,48] and enhance recovery following eccentrically induced muscle damage [49]. Thus, theoretically, the blend of phosphocreatine, blueberry extract, and sodium may have had synergistic effects that resulted in significant improvements in exercise performance. ...
... Evidence regarding the use of antioxidants have reported equivocal reports, including studies suggesting that antioxidants may blunt cellular mechanisms associated with adaptation and recovery [44,45]. Antioxidant supplementation, however, has been demonstrated to improve strength [23,46] and power [47], as well as delay the effects of fatigue [23,48] and enhance recovery following eccentrically induced muscle damage [49]. Thus, theoretically, the blend of phosphocreatine, blueberry extract, and sodium may have had synergistic effects that resulted in significant improvements in exercise performance. ...
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Background Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of creatine supplementation for improvements in exercise performance. Few studies, however, have examined the effects of phosphocreatine supplementation on exercise performance. Furthermore, while polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, little is known regarding the influence of polyphenol supplementation on muscular strength, power, and endurance. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to compare the effects of 28 days of supplementation with phosphocreatine disodium salts plus blueberry extract (PCDSB), creatine monohydrate (CM), and placebo on measures of muscular strength, power, and endurance. Methods Thirty-three men were randomly assigned to consume either PCDSB, CM, or placebo for 28 days. Peak torque (PT), average power (AP), and percent decline for peak torque (PT%) and average power (AP%) were assessed from a fatigue test consisting of 50 maximal, unilateral, isokinetic leg extensions at 180°·s − 1 before and after the 28 days of supplementation. Individual responses were assessed to examine the proportion of subjects that exceeded a minimal important difference (MID). Results The results demonstrated significant ( p < 0.05) improvements in PT for the PCDSB and CM groups from pre- (99.90 ± 22.47 N·m and 99.95 ± 22.50 N·m, respectively) to post-supplementation (119.22 ± 29.87 N·m and 111.97 ± 24.50 N·m, respectively), but no significant ( p = 0.112) change for the placebo group. The PCDSB and CM groups also exhibited significant improvements in AP from pre- (140.18 ± 32.08 W and 143.42 ± 33.84 W, respectively) to post-supplementation (170.12 ± 42.68 W and 159.78 ± 31.20 W, respectively), but no significant ( p = 0.279) change for the placebo group. A significantly ( p < 0.05) greater proportion of subjects in the PCDSB group exceeded the MID for PT compared to the placebo group, but there were no significant ( p > 0.05) differences in the proportion of subjects exceeding the MID between the CM and placebo groups or between the CM and PCDSB groups. Conclusions These findings indicated that for the group mean responses, 28 days of supplementation with both PCDSB and CM resulted in increases in PT and AP. The PCDSB, however, may have an advantage over CM when compared to the placebo group for the proportion of individuals that respond favorably to supplementation with meaningful increases in muscular strength.
... According to the relevant definitions and training recommendations of HIIT by the American Physical Fitness Association, the final HIIT implementation method of this experiment was determined. 9 According to the pressure recommended by Dr. Yoshiaki Sato, the inventor of KAATSU training, the KAATSU value of this experiment was determined. The test uses the form of the bench press to assess the upper body strength of the athlete. ...
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Full-text available
Introduction Blood flow restriction therapy, also known as KAATSU pressurization training or ischemic exercise training is a controlled method of vascular occlusion combined with resistance training, with the great growth of its research in recent years. Regular strength training, prevention of lean mass loss, and post-operative rehabilitation are some areas in which the therapy has been prominent. It is believed that it can also be beneficial in sports performance. Objective Study the effects of an intervention with blood flow restriction therapy on athletes during training. Methods 32 college athletes with more than two years of experience in sports training, free of injuries, and 20±3 years old were volunteers. They were randomly divided into groups A (no pressure), B (training pressure), C (intermittent pressure), D (full compression). Results The athletes in the no pressurization group, intermittent pressurization group, training pressurization group, and full-time pressurization group showed significant differences (P<0.05). It can be considered that there is a significant difference in the muscular endurance indexes of the athletes in the non-compression group before and after training, while the athletes in the non-compression group achieved a significant increase in muscular endurance after 6 weeks of training Conclusion Blood flow restriction therapy can effectively enhance the training effect with various strength qualities, and play a role as a promoter of hypertrophy and vascularization. Level of evidence II; Therapeutic studies - investigation of treatment outcomes. Keywords: Blood Flow Restriction Therapy; Sports; Resistance Training
... Despite these caveats, we demonstrated novel functional effects of shatavari supplementation in skeletal muscle, along with some important mechanistic insights. We consider that the potential for shatavari supplementation to enhance muscle protein synthesis should be further explored in longer-term resistance training studies, given our evidence of Akt Ser473 phosphorylation following shatavari supplementation, coupled with the observations of Anders et al. that shatavari enhanced strength gains in young men following eight weeks of bench press training [17]. Indeed, the balance of current evidence suggests that E2 increases the anabolic response to exercise over the longer term (for an excellent review, see [41]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Shatavari has long been used as an Ayurvedic herb for women’s health, but empirical evidence for its effectiveness has been lacking. Shatavari contains phytoestrogenic compounds that bind to the estradiol receptor. Postmenopausal estradiol deficiency contributes to sarcopenia and osteoporosis. In a randomised double-blind trial, 20 postmenopausal women (68.5 ± 6 years) ingested either placebo (N = 10) or shatavari (N = 10; 1000 mg/d, equivalent to 26,500 mg/d fresh weight shatavari) for 6 weeks. Handgrip and knee extensor strength were measured at baseline and at 6 weeks. Vastus lateralis (VL) biopsy samples were obtained. Data are presented as difference scores (Week 6—baseline, median ± interquartile range). Handgrip (but not knee extensor) strength was improved by shatavari supplementation (shatavari +0.7 ± 1.1 kg, placebo −0.4 ± 1.3 kg; p = 0.04). Myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation, a known marker of improved myosin contractile function, was increased in VL following shatavari supplementation (immunoblotting; placebo −0.08 ± 0.5 a.u., shatavari +0.3 ± 1 arbitrary units (a.u.); p = 0.03). Shatavari increased the phosphorylation of Aktser473 (Aktser473 (placebo −0.6 ± 0.6 a.u., shatavari +0.2 ± 1.3 a.u; p = 0.03) in VL. Shatavari supplementation did not alter plasma markers of bone turnover (P1NP, β-CTX) and stimulation of human osteoblasts with pooled sera (N = 8 per condition) from placebo and shatavari supplementation conditions did not alter cytokine or metabolic markers of osteoblast activity. Shatavari may improve muscle function and contractility via myosin conformational change and further investigation of its utility in conserving and enhancing musculoskeletal function, in larger and more diverse cohorts, is warranted.
... Sinhala: Heen hathavariya Leaves A. racemosus is widely used in Ayurveda for immunostimulation, to stimulate macrophages, the immune cells involved in controlling microorganisms and thereby improves vitality, immunity, and vigor (Anders et al., 2020). The major phytoconstituents reported in A. racemosus include steroidal saponins such as shatavarin which have antiviral potential. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The search for novel and effective drugs is an important challenge, as a severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by a zoonotic coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is affecting the entire world population. As of 18th April 2021 there were over 140 million confirmed cases and more than 3 million deaths due to COVID-19. Natural herbal drugs are a rich resource for novel antiviral drug development. Many studies and traditional medical practices have shown their effectiveness against various human pathogens like the influenza virus, hepatitis C virus, coronavirus and the human immunodeficiency virus. Although modern synthetic drugs based on Western medicine are used in developed countries, traditional plant-based drugs are an integral part of medical treatment, including Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, the administration of crude herbal drug formulations dates back more than 3000 years. Numerous studies have shown that natural herbal drugs possess a wide spectrum of biological and pharmacological properties, such as anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and anti-neoplastic. Accordingly, these herbs have been used for centuries in Sri Lankan traditional medicine to treat various disorders. Despite the potency, none of these herbal medicines has yet been approved as a therapeutic antiviral agent against SARS-CoV-2 due to a lack of data from clinical trials. This review summarizes the current knowledge and future perspectives of the antiviral effects of potent Sri Lankan herbal drugs as potential sources of effective anti-coronavirus therapies.
Thesis
The relationship between the applied load and the number of repetitions performed to momentary failure (i.e., the strength-endurance relationship) in a given exercise has repeatedly drawn the interest of researchers over the past decades. While this relationship was commonly assumed to be virtually identical across individuals and, thus, described by unified equations, there is evidence that it may actually differ between individuals. The present thesis aimed to investigate the concept of “strength-endurance profiles”, which describe the strength-endurance relationship on an individual level. The main objective was to identify a model function that yields good descriptive and predictive validity while being robust across test-retest trials. Since strength-endurance profiles require the completion of multiple repetitions-to-failure tests, the thesis further aimed to compare different strategies for data acquisition to evaluate whether they may be used interchangeably. Based on the findings, it was concluded that the individual strength-endurance relationship can be best represented by a 2-parameters exponential regression or a reciprocal regression function. Data acquisition should be completed in multiple separate sessions distributed across different days, rather than a single session with 22 min breaks in between repetitions-to-failure tests.
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Resistance training is known to promote the generation of reactive oxygen species. Although this can likely upregulate the natural, endogenous antioxidant defense systems, high amounts of reactive oxygen species can cause skeletal muscle damage, fatigue, and impair recovery. To prevent these, antioxidant supplements are commonly consumed along with exercise. Recently, it has been shown that these reactive oxygen species are important for the cellular adaptation process, acting as redox signaling molecules. However, most of the research regarding antioxidant status and antioxidant supplementation with exercise has focused on endurance training. In this review, the authors discuss the evidence for resistance training modulating the antioxidant status. They also highlight the effects of combining antioxidant supplementation with resistance training on training-induced skeletal muscle adaptations.
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Background: Shilajit is a safe, fluvic mineral complex exudate that is common to Ayurvedic medicine and is composed of fulvic acids, dibenzo-α-pyrones, proteins, and minerals. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of 8 weeks of Shilajit supplementation at 250 mg·d− 1 (low dose) and 500 mg·d− 1 (high dose) versus placebo on maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) strength, concentric peak torque, fatigue-induced percent decline in strength, and serum hydroxyproline (HYP). Methods: Sixty-three recreationally-active men (21.2 ± 2.4 yr.; 179.8 ± 6.3 cm; 83.1 ± 12.7 kg) volunteered to participate in this study. The subjects were randomly assigned to the high dose, low dose, or placebo group (each group: n = 21). During pre-supplementation testing, the subjects performed 2 pretest MVICs, 2 sets of 50 maximal, bilateral, concentric isokinetic leg extensions at 180°·s− 1 separated by 2-min of rest, and 2 posttest MVICs. Following 8 weeks of supplementation, the subjects repeated the pre-supplementation testing procedures. In addition, the groups were dichotomized at the 50th percentile based on pre-supplementation MVIC and baseline HYP. Mixed model ANOVAs and ANCOVAs were used to statistically analyze the dependent variables for the total groups (n = 21 per group) as well as dichotomized groups. Results: For the upper 50th percentile group, the post-supplementation adjusted mean percent decline in MVIC was significantly less for the high dose group (8.9 ± 2.3%) than the low dose (17.0 ± 2.4%; p = 0.022) and placebo (16.0 ± 2.4%; p = 0.044) groups. There was no significant (p = 0.774) difference, however, between the low dose and placebo groups. In addition, for the upper 50th percentile group, the adjusted mean post-supplementation baseline HYP for the high dose group (1.5 ± 0.3 μg·mL− 1) was significantly less than both the low dose (2.4 ± 0.3 μg·mL− 1; p = 0.034) and placebo (2.4 ± 0.3 μg·mL− 1, p = 0.024) groups. Conclusions: The results of the present study demonstrated that 8 weeks of PrimaVie® Shilajit supplementation at 500 mg·d− 1 promoted the retention of maximal muscular strength following the fatiguing protocol and decreased baseline HYP. Thus, PrimaVie® Shilajit supplementation at 500 mg·d− 1 elicited favorable muscle and connective tissue adaptations.
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Numerous reports suggest there are low and high skeletal muscle hypertrophic responders following weeks to months of structured resistance exercise training (referred to as low and high responders herein). Specifically, divergent alterations in muscle fiber cross sectional area (fCSA), vastus lateralis thickness, and whole body lean tissue mass have been shown to occur in high versus low responders. Differential responses in ribosome biogenesis and subsequent protein synthetic rates during training seemingly explain some of this individual variation in humans, and mechanistic in vitro and rodent studies provide further evidence that ribosome biogenesis is critical for muscle hypertrophy. High responders may experience a greater increase in satellite cell proliferation during training versus low responders. This phenomenon could serve to maintain an adequate myonuclear domain size or assist in extracellular remodeling to support myofiber growth. High responders may also express a muscle microRNA profile during training that enhances insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mRNA expression, although more studies are needed to better validate this mechanism. Higher intramuscular androgen receptor protein content has been reported in high versus low responders following training, and this mechanism may enhance the hypertrophic effects of testosterone during training. While high responders likely possess “good genetics,” such evidence has been confined to single gene candidates which typically share marginal variance with hypertrophic outcomes following training (e.g., different myostatin and IGF-1 alleles). Limited evidence also suggests pre-training muscle fiber type composition and self-reported dietary habits (e.g., calorie and protein intake) do not differ between high versus low responders. Only a handful of studies have examined muscle biomarkers that are differentially expressed between low versus high responders. Thus, other molecular and physiological variables which could potentially affect the skeletal muscle hypertrophic response to resistance exercise training are also discussed including rDNA copy number, extracellular matrix and connective tissue properties, the inflammatory response to training, and mitochondrial as well as vascular characteristics.
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Population: Shilajit is a mineral pitch that oozes out of Himalayan rocks. The study design consisted of a baseline visit, followed by 8 weeks of 250 mg of oral Shilajit supplementation b.i.d., and additional 4 weeks of supplementation with exercise. At each visit, blood samples and muscle biopsies were collected for further analysis. Supplementation was well tolerated without any changes in blood glucose levels and lipid profile after 8 weeks of oral supplementation and the additional 4 weeks of oral supplementation with exercise. In addition, no changes were noted in creatine kinase and serum myoglobin levels after 8 weeks of oral supplementation and the additional 4 weeks of supplementation with exercise. Microarray analysis identified a cluster of 17 extracellular matrix (ECM)-related probe sets that were significantly upregulated in muscles following 8 weeks of oral supplementation compared with the expression at the baseline visit. This cluster included tenascin XB, decorin, myoferlin, collagen, elastin, fibrillin 1, and fibronectin 1. The differential expression of these genes was confirmed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The study provided maiden evidence that oral Shilajit supplementation in adult overweight/class I obese human subjects promoted skeletal muscle adaptation through upregulation of ECM-related genes that control muscle mechanotransduction properties, elasticity, repair, and regeneration.
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A popular belief is that reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) produced during exercise by the mitochondria and other subcellular compartments ubiquitously cause skeletal muscle damage, fatigue and impair recovery. However, the importance of ROS/RNS as signals in the cellular adaptation process to stress is now evident. In an effort to combat the perceived deleterious effects of ROS/RNS it has become common practice for active individuals to ingest supplements with antioxidant properties, but interfering with ROS/RNS signalling in skeletal muscle signalling during acute exercise may blunt favorable adaptation. There is building evidence that antioxidant supplementation can attenuate endurance training-induced and ROS/RNS-mediated enhancements in antioxidant capacity, mitochondrial biogenesis, cellular defense mechanisms and insulin sensitivity. However, this is not a universal finding, potentially indicating that there is redundancy in the mechanisms controlling skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise, meaning that in some circumstances the negative impact of antioxidants on acute exercise response can be overcome by training. Antioxidant supplementation has been more consistently reported to have deleterious effects on the response to overload stress and high intensity training suggesting that remodelling of skeletal muscle following resistance and high intensity exercise is more dependent on ROS/RNS signalling. Importantly there is no convincing evidence to suggest that antioxidant supplementation enhances exercise-training adaptions. Overall, ROS/RNS are likely to exhibit a non-linear (hermetic) pattern on exercise adaptations, where physiological doses are beneficial and high exposure (which would seldom be achieved during normal exercise training) may be detrimental. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Background: Withania somnifera (ashwagandha) is a prominent herb in Ayurveda. This study was conducted to examine the possible effects of ashwagandha root extract consumption on muscle mass and strength in healthy young men engaged in resistance training. Methods: In this 8-week, randomized, prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, 57 young male subjects (18-50 years old) with little experience in resistance training were randomized into treatment (29 subjects) and placebo (28 subjects) groups. Subjects in the treatment group consumed 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily, while the control group consumed starch placebos. Following baseline measurements, both groups of subjects underwent resistance training for 8 weeks and measurements were repeated at the end of week 8. The primary efficacy measure was muscle strength. The secondary efficacy measures were muscle size, body composition, serum testosterone levels and muscle recovery. Muscle strength was evaluated using the 1-RM load for the bench press and leg extension exercises. Muscle recovery was evaluated by using serum creatine kinase level as a marker of muscle injury from the effects of exercise. Results: Compared to the placebo subjects, the group treated with ashwagandha had significantly greater increases in muscle strength on the bench-press exercise (Placebo: 26.4 kg, 95 % CI, 19.5, 33.3 vs. Ashwagandha: 46.0 kg, 95 % CI 36.6, 55.5; p = 0.001) and the leg-extension exercise (Placebo: 9.8 kg, 95 % CI, 7.2,12.3 vs. Ashwagandha: 14.5 kg, 95 % CI, 10.8,18.2; p = 0.04), and significantly greater muscle size increase at the arms (Placebo: 5.3 cm(2), 95 % CI, 3.3,7.2 vs. Ashwagandha: 8.6 cm(2), 95 % CI, 6.9,10.8; p = 0.01) and chest (Placebo: 1.4 cm, 95 % CI, 0.8, 2.0 vs. Ashwagandha: 3.3 cm, 95 % CI, 2.6, 4.1; p < 0.001). Compared to the placebo subjects, the subjects receiving ashwagandha also had significantly greater reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage as indicated by the stabilization of serum creatine kinase (Placebo: 1307.5 U/L, 95 % CI, 1202.8, 1412.1, vs. Ashwagandha: 1462.6 U/L, 95 % CI, 1366.2, 1559.1; p = 0.03), significantly greater increase in testosterone level (Placebo: 18.0 ng/dL, 95 % CI, -15.8, 51.8 vs. Ashwagandha: 96.2 ng/dL, 95 % CI, 54.7, 137.5; p = 0.004), and a significantly greater decrease in body fat percentage (Placebo: 1.5 %, 95 % CI, 0.4 %, 2.6 % vs. Ashwagandha: 3.5 %, 95 % CI, 2.0 %, 4.9 %; p = 0.03). Conclusion: This study reports that ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength and suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may be useful in conjunction with a resistance training program.
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Authoratative compilation of guidelines for exercise testing and prescription.
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Abstract Saponins are a class of natural compounds present in pulses having surface active properties. These compounds show variation in type, structure and composition of their aglycone moiety and oligosaccharide chains. Saponins have plasma cholesterol lowering effect in humans and are important in reducing the risk of many chronic diseases. Moreover, they have shown strong cytotoxic effects against cancer cell lines. However, more epidemiological and clinical studies are required for the proper validation of these health promoting activities. Processing and cooking promotes the loss of saponins from foods. The effect of soaking, sprouting and cooking on the stability and bioavailability of saponins in pulses is an important area which should be thoroughly worked out for achieving desirable health benefits. In the present review, the structures, contents and health benefits of saponins present in pulses are discussed. Moreover, the effect of processing (of pulses) on the saponins is also highlighted.
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Introduction: For over three decades, muscle biologists have been fascinated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated in exercising muscle and the potential role that ROS may play in fatigue. Methods: Reports in the peer-reviewed literature were analyzed and published findings integrated to synthesize an overview of ROS as agents of fatigue. Results: Muscle tissue contains multiple sources of ROS and specific ROS molecules have been detected in muscle including superoxide anions, hydrogen peroxide, and hydroxyl radicals. These species are present throughout the tissue, i.e., myofiber organelles and cytosol, extracellular space, and intravascular compartment, and ROS concentrations increase during strenuous contractions. Direct ROS exposure evokes many of the same changes that occur in muscle during fatigue, suggesting a possible relationship. The hypothesis that ROS play a causal role in fatigue has been tested extensively, a large body of data has been compiled, and the once-controversial verdict is now in: ROS accumulation in working muscle clearly contributes to the loss of function that occurs in fatigue. This is evident in a range of experimental settings ranging from muscle fiber bundles in vitro to neuromuscular preparations in situ, from volitional exercise of small muscle groups to whole-body exercise by elite athletes. Conclusion: The robust capacity of antioxidant pretreatment to delay fatigue provides compelling evidence that ROS play a causal role in this process. There are caveats to this story of course, issues related to the type of antioxidant and mode of administration. Also the translation of this laboratory concept into clinical practice has been slow. Still, antioxidant therapy has the potential to benefit individuals who experience premature fatigue and this remains a promising area for future research.