First Endurance https://firstendurance.com Sports Nutrition Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:55:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 First Endurance Triathlete Power Couples Dominate Challenge Iceland https://firstendurance.com/first-endurance-triathlete-power-couples-dominate-challenge-iceland/ https://firstendurance.com/first-endurance-triathlete-power-couples-dominate-challenge-iceland/#respond Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:34:23 +0000 https://firstendurance.com/?p=18388 While the team of Heather and Trevor Wurtele showed their formidable bike handling skills and strength on the demanding course and fierce Icelandic elements, Jeanni Seymour and boyfriend Justin Metzler proved their ability to run down the competition to earn top spots on the podium for the day. On race day, The Bay of Whales, […]

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While the team of Heather and Trevor Wurtele showed their formidable bike handling skills and strength on the demanding course and fierce Icelandic elements, Jeanni Seymour and boyfriend Justin Metzler proved their ability to run down the competition to earn top spots on the podium for the day.

On race day, The Bay of Whales, a stunning long fjord where Challenge Iceland takes place, served up some truly Viking-esque conditions with high winds and 50F water temperatures. Opting only for a warm up jog before plunging into the frigid glacier fed waters for the race start Seymour said, “even with this strategy I found myself with frozen fingers and gasping for air as the cold restricted my breathing”. The point to point swim course, modified due to choppy water, had a strong wind assisted current making it more difficult to open a gap on the field but Seymour was able to lead the swim and said, “I still came out of the water first but with three other girls on my feet, including race favorite and defending champion Heather Wurtlele.”

Gusty winds and challenging terrain played into the hands of talented cyclist, Heather Wurtele. Seymour, who is of South African descent, took her time bundling up with socks, arm warmers and gloves, knowing it would be critical to try to keep warm when she set out on the bike in an effort to minimize the deficit to Wurtele. Her first year at the Challenge race, Seymour described the challenge of the bike leg stating “The bike course in Iceland is one of the most honest, challenging courses I have ever done but high, gusting winds made it even tougher. It made it nearly impossible to stay in the aerobars and on some of the descents my focus quickly shifted from going fast to simply staying on the road. As one of the best riders in the sport, I knew Heather would put some time into me on the bike”.

Wurtele’s impressive race best ride saw her start the run with a 4:47 advantage on Seymour who has a history of running down competitors from behind for the win. Determined, Seymour ran as hard as she could, although unsure if it would be enough. “I was able to see Heather multiple times on the course which motived me as I continued to close the gap. Despite my efforts, as we approached the final km’s I was beginning to think I had run out of real estate. But I have learned that anything can happen in this sport so I continued to fight to the finish line. I dug deep and was sprinting all out in the final 1000m to catch and pass Heather with 500m to go, taking the win and leaving absolutely everything out there on course.”

Crossing the Challenge Iceland finish line with a mere 20 seconds separating first and second place, Seymour said “I came to Iceland for an epic experience and to test my fitness in my build up to the later season championship events. It was also perfect timing in my 70.3 World’s preparation, where I look to be at my max form for the year, and a great opportunity to mix it up with a world class athlete like Heather Wurtele. But without a doubt, the highlight of the trip was sharing a win and the top step of the podium with my boyfriend Justin Metzler.”

“I am grateful for the places this sport has taken me and the people I get to meet along the way. The memories I made here in Iceland will be cherished forever.”

 

In the men’s race, eventual 3rd place finisher, Jesper Svensson had a minute lead out of the water ahead of First Endurance triathletes Kevin Collington and Justin Metzler, followed a minute further back by Trevor Wurtele.

While Svensson led the field on the bike, Metzler and Collington road together in the 30-40 mph crosswinds until Collington was blown off his bike into a ditch, ultimately okay but unable to finish. Riding carefully in an attempt to remain on the road, Metzler was caught around the half way point by the strong riding of First Endurance’s Jordan Rapp and Trevor Wurtele who proved his strength in the wind on the hilly course with a race best bike split.

Svensson started the run 33 seconds up on Wurtele, 59 seconds ahead of Metzler and a further 30 seconds on Rapp. Detailing the showdown on the run, Metzler said “I passed Svensson within the first 5km of the run but Trevor and I seemed to be running nearly identical paces, with Trevor about 200m up the road. I would reel him in a little bit and then he would extend his lead back out. We played this cat and mouse game for nearly 15k of the run and there were multiple times where I thought the win was his. But I never gave up and pushed all the way through this race. Around the 18km mark, I was able to pick up the pace as Trevor faded a bit.”

Metzler crossed the line with 2:24 to spare on Wurtele, earning his first half distance professional victory and said “On Sunday at Challenge Iceland, it all came together – this is a moment and feeling I will never forget” and also echoed the sentiments of his girlfriend Seymour expressing “We invest everything we have in the pursuit of excellence and to see all of that sacrifice, work and dedication pay off for both of us is very rewarding”.

Challenge Iceland Triathlon
July 23rd, 2017

Women:
1 Jeanni Seymour 4:18:02
2 Heather Wurtele 4:18:22
3 Sarissa de Vries 4:37:03
4 Meredith Hill 4:40:21
5 Santimaria Margie 4:41:17

Men:
1 Justin Metzler 3:56:21
2 Trevor Wurtele 3:58:45
3 Jesper Svensson 3:59:25
4 Jordan Rapp 4:02:10
5 Hannes Cool 4:07:38

**Photo Credits: Arnold Bjornsson/Challenge Iceland

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Dye & Goss Notch Wins at New York City Olympic Triathlon https://firstendurance.com/dye-goss-notch-wins-new-york-city-olympic-triathlon/ https://firstendurance.com/dye-goss-notch-wins-new-york-city-olympic-triathlon/#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 18:32:17 +0000 https://firstendurance.com/?p=18385 An Olympic distance race consisting of a swim in the Hudson River, a hilly bike on the Westside Highway and a rolling run through the city finishing in Central Park, the NYC Triathlon has a unique equalizing timer format where they set the pro men off to chase the pro women for an additional cash […]

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An Olympic distance race consisting of a swim in the Hudson River, a hilly bike on the Westside Highway and a rolling run through the city finishing in Central Park, the NYC Triathlon has a unique equalizing timer format where they set the pro men off to chase the pro women for an additional cash bonus.

While First Endurance triathletes Cam Dye and Lauren Goss won their respective categories, they proved to be each other’s toughest competition for the equalizer bonus.

Just one week after winning his hometown race at the Boulder Peak Tri, Dye made the trip to compete and try to defend his 2016 win at the short course race and explained his draw to the event “The New York City Triathlon is one of those races that has a lot of unique challenges that go along with it. Years ago I shied away from racing there because of the downriver swim but I guess the allure of racing in NYC and Central Park finally won over. It’s a much harder race than I think people expect. The swim is short because of the current, but then you have a 700m run into T1, followed by a very hilly bike course, and then it finishes in Central Park with a tough, hilly run. It can be difficult to race in big cities but this is definitely one of those races that every triathlete should put on their bucket list.” 

Executing a swim-bike-run combo 1:13 faster than 2nd place Jason West and 1:33 faster than 3rd place Jackson Laundry, Dye successfully defended his NYC Tri title. Breaking the tape in 1:45:10, Dye said “It’s really exciting to be able to repeat as champion in NYC.”

“After a great race last week in Boulder, and knowing this was the fourth race in the last 6 weeks for me, I wasn’t sure how much I had left in the tank, but I felt solid throughout the race.”

In the women’s race, Lauren Goss followed up her recent wins at St.Anthony’s Tri and Escape Alcatraz with a decisive win on the short course stating “I am feeling very confident over Olympic distance having won the big 3 Olympic distance races so far this year, achieving goals I set for myself many years ago. I have some work to do to compete at the top level over 70.3 but I will be working the rest of the season to improve.”

Clocking in at 1:56:54 for the women’s win, Goss finished 1:52 ahead of 2nd place Bevilacqua and 2:12 ahead of 3rd place Marchant. Ecstatic about her string of Olympic distance successes this year, Goss exclaimed “So far for 2017 I am extremely excited to finally win races I have been competing at for the past few years. However, I am still hungry to nail the 70.3 distance!! There is always room for improvement.”

For the equalizer portion of the race, the men were set off 11:30 after the women and had to attempt to bridge the head start advantage. Having competed in an equalizer format before and familiar with the competition, both Dye and Goss knew they would likely be battling one another for the title, pushing each to their limits. An unfortunate error of a few seconds in starting times ended up nullifying the competition as Dye and Goss finished very close to one another, leaving the officials uncertain of who the actual winner was because they were so close at the finish but the equalizer start time gaps were incorrect. Since Goss and Dye were both affected by the incident, the pair were co-awarded the equalizer title.

New York City Triathlon
New York, New York
July 16, 2017

Men:
1 Cam Dye                  1:45:10
2 Jason West             1:46:23
3 Jackson Laundry   1:46:43
4 Brian Duffy JR      1:49:27
5 Alex Libin               1:49:52

Women:
1 Lauren Goss           1:56:54
2 Amy Bevilacqua    1:58:46
3 Kristen Marchant 1:59:06
4 Erin Storie             1:59:33
5 Laurel Wassner    2:02:01

 

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Middaugh: 5 for 5 at XTERRA Beaver Creek https://firstendurance.com/middaugh-5-5-xterra-beaver-creek/ https://firstendurance.com/middaugh-5-5-xterra-beaver-creek/#respond Mon, 17 Jul 2017 18:09:41 +0000 https://firstendurance.com/?p=18318 As the 2015 XTERRA World Champion with 4 back to back wins in his home town race, the pressure was on for Josiah Middaugh to repeat, as the reigning world champion and a deep field of athletes looked for a way to dethrone him at the 7th stop of the XTERRA Pan American Series. Rising […]

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As the 2015 XTERRA World Champion with 4 back to back wins in his home town race, the pressure was on for Josiah Middaugh to repeat, as the reigning world champion and a deep field of athletes looked for a way to dethrone him at the 7th stop of the XTERRA Pan American Series. Rising to the challenge, Middaugh put together a near-perfect race to win XTERRA Beaver Creek for the 5th straight year.

Looking forward to the challenge of competing against a top notch field right in his own back yard, Middaugh said “There is always more pressure for me at my home race and race week ends up being pretty hectic.  My phone just goes off all day with people coming into town and needing something.  It’s a tough balance to try to be there for everyone else and still be able to focus on my race.”  

Leading out of the water with a 19-second gap on Branden Rakita and Ian King, the current world champion, Mauricio Mendez, was quick to put the pressure on Middaugh who had his work cut out for him with the 8th best swim, 1:41 behind the leader.

Knowing he had to make the catch early on the bike, Middaugh said “It was going to be a very tough race if I was going to have a chance to beat Mauricio. It took me a couple miles before I started making up time on Mauricio on the bike.  In the first 5 miles we climbed over 2000 ft and at the top of the climb, I was still about 1 minute behind. I finally caught him at about mile 11 but the Beaver Creek course is only 15 miles long, so I didn’t have much time to build a cushion before the run.”   

Middaugh lay down a crazy fast race best ride, 3:38 faster than First Endurance’s Sam Long – last year’s 2nd place finisher and this year’s 3rd place finisher – and 3:39 faster than Mendez. Commenting on his effort, Middaugh said

“Course knowledge was definitely a factor.  I felt like I knew every shift on the course and was able to conserve momentum in more places and I knew exactly how long every steep climb was so I could crest every hill strong.”  

“At the very end of the course there is a trail called Corkscrew and while trying hard to extend my lead I washed out my front wheel and went over the bars.  I lost a little time there, but it was worth riding on that red line to extend my lead.”

Riding flat out into T2, Middaugh started the run with just under a 2-minute advantage. “I felt pretty terrible on the run after such a high effort on the bike and at about the halfway point I only had about a 1-minute advantage.  I dug pretty deep to hold him off on the last hard climb.” Only to be out paced by Mendez on the run, Middaugh pulled out the 2nd fastest run split of the day, quick enough to defend his winning streak at XTERRA Beaver Creek.

Finishing in 2 hours 7 minutes flat, with 41 seconds to spare on 2nd place Mendez and 5:38 ahead of 3rd place Sam Long, Middaugh fulfilled his goal on the day and was thrilled to see his son add to the Middaugh family success.

“Going up against the defending World Champion is no joke, so feeling equal parts relief and accomplishment.”

“The part that made the day so special though was my 13-year old son, Sullivan, surprised us all and won the sprint race.  It was fun to share the victory with him and take him through the logistics on race morning.”

 

FE athletes Rakita, Middaugh & Long

XTERRA Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek, Colorado
July 15, 2017

1 Josiah Middaugh 2:07:00
2 Mauricio Mendez Cruz 2:07:41
3 Sam Long 2:12:38
4 Brian Smith 2:14:42
5 Ben Hoffman 2:17:13

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Dye Hammers to Home Town Win at Boulder Peak Tri https://firstendurance.com/dye-hammers-home-town-win-boulder-peak-tri/ https://firstendurance.com/dye-hammers-home-town-win-boulder-peak-tri/#respond Tue, 11 Jul 2017 18:59:02 +0000 https://firstendurance.com/?p=18244 Boulder resident Cam Dye was one of 13 local pros in the 18-man strong field racing for top honors in the return of the Boulder Peak Tri Olympic distance race. Excited to be able to throw down in his back yard and to race for the first time in front of his kids, Dye said […]

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Boulder resident Cam Dye was one of 13 local pros in the 18-man strong field racing for top honors in the return of the Boulder Peak Tri Olympic distance race. Excited to be able to throw down in his back yard and to race for the first time in front of his kids, Dye said “It’s been a long time since I have raced in Boulder and having grown up here and getting my start in triathlon at the Boulder Peak when I was 15, it’s fantastic to see the resurgence of this historic race and the return of pro short course racing to the 303”. 

Edging out West in the swim by 2 seconds, with von Berg just 3 seconds further behind, Dye mounted his bike knowing he had to put some time into the pair prior to the run start. “I got a good start off the beach and jumped straight to the front. I knew I wanted to try and control the race from the start with fast runners like Rudy (von Berg) and Jason (West) in the field. The goal was to try and hurt the boys a bit in the water and then really hit the first half of the bike hard. That course is one of the hardest in racing and I tried to capitalize on my strength and really focus on riding hard straight out of the water.”

Dye put in a crushing blow to his competitors on the bike with a race best ride over 2 minutes faster than eventual 2nd place von Berg and over 4 minutes cushion on West. “By the time I hit the top of Old Stage Hill I had a sizable lead, but again I have so much respect for how fast these guys are running that no lead was going to be too big so I tried to stay on the gas all the way back to T2.”

With a run course that was a half mile longer than the standard Olympic distance Dye said, “I felt solid for two out of the three run loops but the third loop I definitely paid for my ambitious ride.” Dye’s early effort saw him fade slightly towards the end of the run but his strategy for race day of

“Hammer the swim, ride the house down, and run like I stole it!”

played out perfectly as he was able to hold on for a 27 seconds advantage over von Berg to win his hometown race.

The reward for his effort was well worth it as Dye said “There is nothing better in racing than to break the tape for a win but to be able to immediately celebrate with my kids, my wife, my brother and parents was amazing! I got to cross the line in front of my whole family and lots of friends and then get a hug from the little ones.” 

 

Boulder Peak Triathlon 
Boulder, Colorado
July 9, 2017

1 Cam Dye 1:57:25
2 Rodolphe von Berg 1:57:52
3 Jason West 2:01:01
4 Jarrod Shoemaker 2:02:04
5 Robbie Deckard 2:02:24
6 Justin Metzler 2:02:43
7 Jeremiah Mitchell 2:03:35
8 Kieran Roche 2:04:30
9 Matt Chrabot 2:04:33
10 Steve McKenna 2:06:32

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Trevor Wurtele Battles to Challenge Geraardsbergen Win https://firstendurance.com/trevor-wurtele-battles-challenge-geraardsbergen-win/ https://firstendurance.com/trevor-wurtele-battles-challenge-geraardsbergen-win/#respond Tue, 04 Jul 2017 00:20:22 +0000 https://firstendurance.com/?p=18080 On the heels of his 2nd place podium at Challenge Heilbronn two weeks prior, Trevor Wurtele fought to the finish to claim his first win of the season in an epic battle on the run course at Challenge Geraardsbergen. Having spent the latter part of May and all of June training and competing in Europe, […]

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On the heels of his 2nd place podium at Challenge Heilbronn two weeks prior, Trevor Wurtele fought to the finish to claim his first win of the season in an epic battle on the run course at Challenge Geraardsbergen.

Having spent the latter part of May and all of June training and competing in Europe, Trevor and his wife Heather, have been soaking up the European lifestyle while enjoying their successes so far on the racing circuit. “Heather and I have really been enjoying this trip. We needed a change from North American racing.  We wanted to see other courses, other race organizations, and other athletes that tend to stay and race mainly in the huge European triathlon scene. The racing and training over here has truly reinvigorated our love of the sport. I can honestly say I’m having FUN racing.  Of course, I’ve always enjoyed it, but to actually be smiling and just being in a “This is really cool” mentality is something else.  All in all, we just needed a change, rather than going back to our usual races, doing the same routine. It was the best decision we made for this year.”

Starting off with a lake-to-lake swim at Challenge Geraardsbergen, Wurtele found himself with an expected gap out of the water in 6th position, 1:54 in arrears from the leaders McNeice and Heemeryck. Familiar with his competition, Wurtele said “I knew Heemeryck and McNeice would be tough to beat.  Both Pieter and I have been racing a lot, at The Championship in Slovakia 4 weeks ago, he beat me there by a few minutes.”

The bike section of Challenge Geraardsbergen offered up a unique ‘opportunity’ of racing twice up the famous Muur climb. A steep and narrow cobbled climb well known in the cycling world and featured in the Tour of Flanders cycling classic.

On the 3-lap bike course, Wurtele worked his way through the field along with Sanne Swolfs, catching the lead swimmer, Dylan McNeice, meanwhile Heemeryck continued to put time into the pair. Race day rain added an element to the challenging cobbled Muur climb as Wurtele explained “We got a little wet on race day which definitely added to the difficulty of the climb. If you’ve selected your gearing correctly it’s not an intimidating climb.  All said it’s only 1km long with 1 steep pitch of 50 meters. However, you throw a little rain on the cobbles, maybe a bigger gear than you want and then all of a sudden it’s not an easy hill to get up.”  Heemeryck continued to build on his lead with the exception of slipping the final time up the Muur and had to walk up with his bike.

Following a quick transition, Wurtele started the run 2:17 behind Heemeryck and 6 seconds ahead of Swolfs. The 3-loop run course had the athletes running on a track within the first kilometer of each lap, providing a great opportunity to gauge time gaps. Describing the chase and battle for the race win, Wurtele said, “On the first lap of the run course Heemeryck was already off the track. I only saw his back as he was running away. The second loop he was just barely coming off the track and he saw me coming on. By the 3rd loop, with 6km to go, Heemeryck was on the track at about 300m and not looking happy at all.”

“That was my ‘drop the hammer’ moment, thinking; I can close the 70 seconds or so within 6km.” 

Pulling off his best ever half distance run (1:13:02) and nailing the fastest run split of the day, 2:54 faster than Heemeryck, Wurtele said “I managed to catch him right in town as we hit 1km to go. When you’re a spectator that situation looks like a decisive pass, but it does not feel like that. I was looking behind me every 30 seconds that last km assuming he’d find a sprint or something. In reality, I know what that feels like to get passed, and it’s just not easy at all to increase your pace when you’re already at the limit.”

In the exciting finale, Wurtele outran Heemeryk by 2:54 to win Challenge Geraardsbergen by 38 seconds. Relieved his effort was rewarded with the victory Wurtele said

“My last win was Ironman Canada in 2013, so grabbing the top step again after so many podiums over the previous 4 seasons is a great feeling”.

“Racing through these smaller European towns where they always seem to have the run course and finish right in the middle of all the cafes and pubs makes for such motivating racing.”

Following a little break to watch the Tour de France live before joining Heather to watch her race Challenge Roth, the pair will then head to compete at Challenge Iceland and determine later if they will return to Europe for the fall racing season.

Challenge Geraardsbergen
Belgium
July 2, 2017

1. Trevor Wurtele (CAN) 3:58:05
2. Pieter Heemeryk (BEL) 3:58:43
3. Sanne Swolfs (BEL) 4:02:03
4. Dylan McNeice (NZL) 4:03:02
5. Timothy Van Houtem (BEL) 4:04:05

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How do Vegan Proteins Stack Up? https://firstendurance.com/vegan-proteins-stack/ https://firstendurance.com/vegan-proteins-stack/#respond Thu, 29 Jun 2017 16:00:55 +0000 http://firstendurance.com/?p=16264 by Matt Hansen EdD In February of 2013, the First Endurance blog covered an important topic: ‘The Facts About Protein.’ You can find the full post HERE. At that point in time, whey protein easily rises to the top as the superior protein source to use for supplementation purposes. Since the original posting of this […]

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by Matt Hansen EdD

In February of 2013, the First Endurance blog covered an important topic: ‘The Facts About Protein.’ You can find the full post HERE. At that point in time, whey protein easily rises to the top as

Matt Hansen wins Ironman Texas – 2015

the superior protein source to use for supplementation purposes. Since the original posting of this article, a number of things have changed. First, technological advancements in the food industry have opened the door for the extraction of proteins from different food sources. Second, sustainability issues and a more informed consumer base has lead to the investigation of numerous different protein sources. Finally, a growing need has been identified for protein supplement sources that fit into a vegan and allergy free diet. The purpose of this discussion will be to revisit the merits of whey protein as well as introduce a few additional protein sources which have shown to have equivalent (and possibly even greater!) merits to whey.

A number of different protein sources have been offered up recently as alternatives to whey. These include pea, rice, hemp, avocado, barley, buckwheat, cranberry-seed, goat milk, Brazil-nut, and even bug protein (you can thank reality TV shows like Fear Factor and Man vs. Wild for this one…). For reasons which will hopefully become apparent by the end of this article, this discussion will focus on pea and rice protein and compare the two proteins to the reference standard whey. We’ll start with a review from our discussion on whey, discuss the different methods of analysis that proteins are evaluated on, including Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) and Biological Value (BV), introduce pea and rice protein, then conclude with a comparison between the three proteins.

Whey Protein (Excerpts taken from 2013 blog post)

Whey protein is a high quality complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids required by the body each and every day. There are several different methods that are used today to evaluate protein quality.  No matter which method is used, whey proteins have been proven to be an excellent, pure source of protein. To help prevent the breakdown of muscle tissues, whey protein contains beta-lactoglobulin, a rich source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Whey protein is also a rich source of the amino acid cystein and has been shown to increase glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps provide an added boost to the immune system.

Whey proteins have a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS) of 1.14. The reported score is 1.0, which is the maximum value allowed by the USDA for reporting purposes. The PDCAAS is the USDA’s officially approved method of scoring protein quality.

Whey proteins have a Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) of 3.2, making it one of the highest single source proteins. The PER rating is based upon the evaluation of the growth of animals consuming a fixed amount of dietary protein from a single source. As the PER increases, so does the quality of the protein.

Biological Value (BV) is an evaluation of the protein quality that measures the amount of protein that is retained from the absorbed protein for maintenance and growth. It measures the fraction of nitrogen in the diet that remains after the nitrogen losses in waste products have been subtracted. The Biological Value (BV) of whey proteins is 100, which is higher than the value for casein (milk protein), soy protein, beef, or wheat gluten.

 

Pea Protein

Is a pea a vegetable? A fruit? The debate continues. Regardless, this legume contains a good deal of protein. Protein powder extraction typically begins with yellow peas (aka split peas). They are ground into a powder and concentrated/purified by removing a majority of the carbohydrates, leaving a powder that is approximately 90% protein. In general, it is a great source of protein for people who are Vegan and seek an allergy free option. It is obviously not a good option for anyone with an allergy to peas.

Pea protein is particularly rich in the essential BCAA’s leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Increases in leucine concentrations in the blood have shown to enhance muscle protein synthesis. Pea protein has also been shown to stimulate the satiety-related signaling. Studies have demonstrated that dietary replacement of animal protein with pea protein does not weaken gastrointestinal satiety signaling and has the potential to promote protein synthesis at similar levels as animal sources post exercise. It is important to recognize however, that legume proteins are low in methionine.

Rice Protein

Rice is not typically the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about adding protein to a meal. Typically, rice is great carbohydrate compliment to a protein due to the fact that it is a low-glycemic carb source. But the fact of the matter is, brown rice does have protein in it. One cup of brown rice contains roughly 5 grams of protein, so to get the post exercise required 20-25g of protein from rice, you would need to consume 4-5 cups. Ok, so maybe going to rice as a whole food protein source is not the greatest option. However, when the brown rice is processed and the carbohydrates are separated, you can come up with a protein powder that is roughly 70% protein. Similar to pea protein, brown rice protein is a good alternative for those looking for a vegan allergy free protein powder or for those with milk-protein allergies. It can have a fairly bitter taste if taken as a mix with water alone, however.

Brown rice protein contains more arginine than any other protein powder. Arginine is converted to nitric oxide in the body which suggests that brown rice protein can enhance blood flow allowing for superior nutrient delivery during and after exercise. Brown rice protein also contains a great deal of glutamine which promotes muscle growth and immune function and has also been shown to reduce fatigue during workouts in some studies. Rice protein has shown to have higher levels of the amino acid methionine than most other plant sources. Brown rice is also rich in leucine with sufficient levels to promote hypertrophy (muscle growth) if consumed in combination with resistance training.

 

Comparison

Most researchers consider whey protein the standard protein supplement. Because of this, it is common for well-designed studies to have three groups when researching alternative protein sources: the test protein, whey protein, and a placebo carbohydrate group. This helps us to compare both pea and rice protein directly to whey protein.

Pea protein has similar or higher levels of numerous essential amino acids including leucine, isoleucine and valine as noted above. Specifically, they have nearly three times more arginine as whey protein. Multiple studies have shown a similar rate of hypertrophy and strength gain as whey protein supplements, with no significant difference between whey and pea. The similar gains have been attested to the characteristics of both proteins. Protein synthesis is 20% higher after ingesting a protein source high in leucine, when compared to one without leucine. Pea protein has also shown to have similar digestion characteristics as whey. Whey signaled a higher insulin response but both proteins induced a large CCK (cholecystokinin) response suggesting both proteins have a high bioavailability. Numerous researchers have suggested pea protein as an equal alternative in protein supplements marketed for athletes.

Rice protein has also shown to compare well to whey protein. It is also high in leucine and has shown to yield similar results in hypertrophy and strength increases as whey protein. Rice protein has four times more arginine than whey protein. Although there are slightly lower levels of leucine in rice protein than whey, it has been demonstrated that there is sufficient levels of the amino acid to optimize muscle growth.

 

BUT WAIT!!!

It is important to keep in mind that it is the composition of the nutrient and not just the net protein content that will affect protein balance. Studies have shown that only the essential amino acids can stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Also, the type of protein can significantly affect digestion characteristics which will also affect the rate of muscle protein synthesis as well as the hormonal response post ingestion. This is where most plant based protein supplements fall short. They often lack specific amino acids necessary to stimulate protein synthesis. Furthermore, their PDCAAS score typically is not high enough to make it a good alternative to whey protein. However, combining plant protein sources together in the right ratios offers an amino acid profile that closely approximates whey protein. For example, combining pea protein with rice protein gives the following amino acid profile:

 

PDCAA

Rice Protein 90%                                          0.65

Pea Protein 80%                                           0.78

Rice/Pea Blend (55%/45%)                        1.00

Whey Protein 90%                                       1.00

Furthermore, thanks to technological advancements, when you use a 55/45% blend of rice and pea protein, it is possible to get a PDCAAS score of 1.0 (the highest allowable score by the USDA). This blend compares very favorably with whey protein and can potentially change the game in protein supplementation. Watch for products with this blend to be coming to market soon!

 

Citations

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Boirie, Y., et al., 1997. “Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate post-prandial protein accretion.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 94:14930-14935.

Dangin, M., Boirie, Y., Guillet, C., and Beaufrere, B. 2002. “Influence of the protein digestion rate on protein turnover in young and elderly subjects.” Journal of Nutrition, October, 132:3228S-3233S.y of Sciences, 94:14930-14935.

Tolia, V., Lin, C., and Kuhns, L. 1992. “Gastric emptying using three different formulas in infants with gastroesophaegeal reflux.” Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 15(3):297-301.

Appel, L. et. al., 1997. “A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure.” The New England Journal of Medicine, 336(16):1117-1124.

FitzGerald, R.J., Meisel, H., 1999. “Lactokinins: Whey protein-derived ACE inhibitory peptides.” Nahrung 43:165-167.

FitzGerald, R.J., Meisel, H., 2000. “Milk protein-derived peptide inhibitors of angiotensin -1-converting enzyme.” British Journal of Nutrition. 84:S33-S37.

Groziak S.M, Miller G.D., 2000. “Natural bioactive substances in milk and colostrum: effects on the arterial blood pressure system.” British Journal of Nutrition, Supplement, November, 84(1):S119-S125.

Esmarck, J.L., Andersen, Olsen, S., Richter, E.A., Mizuno, M., and Kjaer, M., 2001, “Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans.” Journal of Physiology, 535.1:301-311.

McCarron, D.A., 1998. “Diet and high blood pressure – the paradigm shift.” Science, 281:933.

McCarron, D. A., 2000. “Dietary calcium and blood pressure control: lessons learned from controlled clinical trials.” Bulletin of the International Dairy Federation, 353:6-9.

Miller, G.D. et al., 2000. “Benefits of dairy product consumption on blood pressure in humans: a summary of the biomedical literature.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, April 19 (2 Suppl): S147-S164.

Mullally, M., Meisel, H. and Fitzgerald, R., 1997. “Angiotensin-I-Converting enzyme inhibitory activities of gastric and pancreatic proteinase digests of whey proteins.” International Dairy Journal, 7:299-303.

Pfeuffer, M., Schrezenmeir, J., 2000. “Bioactive substances in milk with properties decreasing risk of cardiovascular diseases.” British Journal of Nutrition, Supplement, 84(1):S155-S159.

Pihlanto-Leppala, A. et.al., 2000. “Angiotensin I-converting enzyme inhibitory properties of whey protein digest: concentration and characterization of active peptides.” Journal of Dairy Research, 67:53-64.

Pins, J., and Keenan, J., 2002. “The antihypertensive effects of a hydrolyzed whey protein isolate supplement (BioZate 1®).” Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, 16(Supp. 1):68.

Rutherford, K. J., Gill, H.S., 2000. “Peptides affecting coagulation.” British Journal of Nutrition, 84:S99-S102.

Sharpe, S.J., Gamble, G.D., Sharpe, D.N., 1994. “Cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure effect of immune milk.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 59:929-934.

Bounous, G., 2000. “Whey protein concentrate (WPC) and glutathione modulation in cancer treatment.” Anticancer Research, 20:4785-4792.

Bounous, G., Baptist, G., and Gold, P., 1991. “Whey proteins in cancer prevention.” Cancer Letters 57:91. Hakkak, R., Korourian, S., Shelnutt, S. R., et. al., 2000. “Diets containing whey proteins or soy protein isolate protect against 7,12-Dimethylbenz (a) anthracene-induced mammary tumors in female rats.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 9:113-117.

Hakkak, R., Korourian, S., Ronis, M.J., Johnston, J., and Badger, T., 2001. “Dietary whey protein protects against azoxymethand-induced colon tumors in male rats.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 10:555-558.

Kennedy, R. et. al., 1995. “The use of a whey protein concentrate in the treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma: A phase I-II clinical study.” Anticancer Research, 15:2643-2650.

McIntosh, G.H., et al., 1995. “Dietary proteins protect against dimethylhydrazine-induced intestinal cancers in rats.” Journal of Nutrition, 125:809-816.

Takada, Y., Aoe, S., Kumegawa, M., 1996. “Whey protein stimulates the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 Cells.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 223:445-449.

Tsai, W., Chang, W., Chen, C.H., and Lu, F., 2000. “Enhancing effect of patented whey protein isolate (Immunocal) on the cytotoxicity of anti-cancer drug.” Nutrition and Cancer, 38(2):200-208.

Tsuda, H., et al, 2000. “Milk and dairy products in cancer prevention: focus on bovine lactoferrin.” Mutation Research, 462:227-233.

Bounous, G., Gervais, F., Amer, V., Batist, G., Gold, P., 1989. “The influence of dietary protein on tissue glutathione and the diseases of aging.” Clinical Investigative Medicine, 12, 6:343.

Bounous, G, Gold, P., 1991. “The biological activity of undenatured dietary whey proteins: role of glutathione.” Clinical Investigative Medicine, 14(4):296-309.

Bounous, G. et. al., 1989. “Immunoenhancing property of dietary whey protein in mice: role of glutathione.” Clinical Investigative Medicine, 12:154-161.

Bounous, G., Molson, J., 1999. “Competition for glutathione precursors between the immune system and the skeletal muscle: Pathogenesis of chronic fatigue syndrome.” Medical Hypothesis, 53(4):347-349.

Docena, G.H. et. al., 1996. “Identification of casein as the major allergenic and antigenic protein in cow’s milk.” Allergy, 51(6):412-416.

Kennedy, R.S., Bounous, G., Konok, G.P., Baruchel, S., Lee, T.D.G., 1995. “The use of a whey protein concentrate in the treatment of patients with metastatic carcinoma: A phase I-II Clinical Study.” Anticancer Research, 15:2643-2650.

Kuwata, H. et.al., 1998. “Direct evidence of the generation in human stomach of anti-microbial peptide domain(lactoferricin) from ingested lactoferrin.” Biochem. Biophys Acta, 1429:129-141.

LeBoucher, J. et al., 1999. “Modulation of immune response with ornithine A-ketoglutarate in burn injury: an arginine or glutamine dependency?” Nutrition, October, 15(10):773-777.

Wang, H., Ye, X., Ng, T.B., 2000. “First demonstration of an inhibitory activity of milk proteins against human immunodeficiency virus-1 reverse transcriptase and the effect of succinylation.” Life Sciences, 67:2745-2752.

Wong, C.W. et al., 1997. “Effects of purified bovine whey factors on cellular immune functions in ruminants.” Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 56:85-96.

Lemon, W.R. et al, 1996. “Is increased dietary protein necessary or beneficial for individuals with a physically active lifestyle?” Nutrition Reviews Supplement, 54:S169-175.

Lemon, W.R., 1998. “Effects of exercise on dietary protein requirements.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 8(4): 426-447.

Beeh, M., Schlaak, J.F., Buhl, R., 2001. “Oral supplementation with whey proteins increases plasma glutathione levels of HIV infected patients.” European Journal of Clinical Investigation, February, 31 (2):171-178.

Berkhout, B. et al., 2002. “Characterization of the anti-HIV effects of native lactoferrin and other milk proteins and protein-derived peptides.” Antiviral Research, 55:341-355.

Bounous, G. et. al., 1991. “Whey protein as a food supplement in HIV-seropositive individuals.” Clinical Investigative Medicine, 16(3):204-209.

Joy, J.M. et al., 2013. “The effects of 8 weeks of whey or rice protein supplementation on body composition and exercise performance.” Nutrition Journal, 86(12).

Overduin, J. et al., (2014). “NUTRALYS pea protein: Characterization of in vitro gastric digestion and in vivo gastrointestinal peptide responses relevant to satiety.” Food and Nutrition Research, 59.

Babault, N. et al., (2015). “Pea proteins oral supplementation promotes muscle thickness gains during resistance training: A double-blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled clinical trial vs. Whey protein.” National Institute for Health and Medical Research.

Friedman, M. (1996). “Nutritional value of proteins from different food sources. A review.” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 44:6-29.

Eggum, B.O. (1989). “Protein quality and digestible energy of selected foods determined in balanced trials with rats.” Plant Foods Human Nutrition, 13(1): 13-21.

 

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First Endurance Rider Successfully Defends German National Championship https://firstendurance.com/first-endurance-rider-successfully-defends-german-national-championship/ https://firstendurance.com/first-endurance-rider-successfully-defends-german-national-championship/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 15:07:02 +0000 https://firstendurance.com/?p=18058 First Endurance rider Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM)  has stormed home to win a tightly contested individual time trial today at the German national championships. Worrack defended her title, winning by two seconds over teammate Lisa Brennauer, and twelve seconds from Stephanie Pohl (CBT). Worrack averaged 45.6km/hr for the out and back 31.2km course. “I did have […]

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First Endurance rider Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM)  has stormed home to win a tightly contested individual time trial today at the German national championships. Worrack defended her title, winning by two seconds over teammate Lisa Brennauer, and twelve seconds from Stephanie Pohl (CBT).

Worrack averaged 45.6km/hr for the out and back 31.2km course. “I did have a plan and I was able to stick to it for the race,” said Worrack happily.

“I knew that the course was a bit easier on the way out than the profile had shown. After riding the course you could feel that the way back was actually quite a lot harder, not climbing uphill, but definitely harder. So I paced the first half of the course on the way out at around 90%. I gave everything on the way back to the finish and this is where I made up the time,” said Worrack.

Worrack will wear her renewed national ITT stripes when she races the Giro Rosa starting Friday 30 June, but first tomorrow will line up with teammates Brennauer and defending champion Mieke Kröger for the German road race.

In Piemonte, Elena Cecchini has finished second in her Italian ITT championships. The 19km race was won by Elisa Longo Borghini (WHT) from Cecchini, with Silvia Valsecchi in third place. “I’m quite happy for the second place. It wasn’t technical course at all so it was a lot about pushing. It was also really warm today, around 40 degrees, and at the end I felt similar to how I felt after Doha world championships in the heat.”

“Last year I finished fourth by one second and it was my goal this year to finish on the podium. It puts me in a good place for future time trials and for one day to take the win in this title, and so I am happy with today’s result,” said Cecchini.

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Matt Hanson Takes IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene https://firstendurance.com/matt-hanson-takes-ironman-70-3-coeur-dalene/ https://firstendurance.com/matt-hanson-takes-ironman-70-3-coeur-dalene/#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:34:06 +0000 https://firstendurance.com/?p=18064 Two-time and current North American IRONMAN Champion, Matt Hanson, pulled off the fastest bike-run combo racing in a field that included two 70.3 World Champions, for an impressive win at IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene. The known long course star, who recorded the fastest IRONMAN time by an American (at an IRONMAN branded race) earlier this year, […]

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Two-time and current North American IRONMAN Champion, Matt Hanson, pulled off the fastest bike-run combo racing in a field that included two 70.3 World Champions, for an impressive win at IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene.

The known long course star, who recorded the fastest IRONMAN time by an American (at an IRONMAN branded race) earlier this year, just finished up a training camp in Boulder prior to the race and described how he felt on race day “The course conditions were about perfect. It was supposed to be a scorcher but the heat didn’t show up until after the finish. The course definitely suited where my fitness is at right now…normally I wouldn’t choose a hilly course like this. Because of the camp in Boulder, I was able to ride the climbs hard which definitely helped me open up a little time later on in the bike.”

First out of the water was 2007 70.3 World Champion Andy Potts, Christian Kemp trailed off his feet by a second, the current 70.3 World Champion Tim Reed was 22 seconds back in 3rd with Hanson 1:36 off the leaders in 8th. Happy with his swim after putting in a strong focus during his recent camp, Hanson said “The swim was pretty good for me. Obviously, that is where I need to continue to improve, but happy with how I executed today and with how I’ve been improving throughout my career as a pro.”

Although well known as one of the fastest runners on the IRONMAN circuit, Hanson actually began carving out his win while on the bike. By mile 35 Hanson had erased his swim deficit and was sitting at the front end of the race with Potts, Reed, Kemp and Derek Garcia all within a few seconds. Riding confidently, he took little time to recover before he made a move on the climbs to separate himself from the field. Finishing the 56-mile course 44 seconds ahead of Reed and 1:22 up on Potts, Hanson was happy to ride the fastest bike split of the day stating

“Everything came together for me on the bike today. I felt good from the beginning and got a confidence boost at the first turn around when I saw that I’d chipped away a good amount of time.”

I bridged the gap, then sat in for a bit and took advantage of a few of the bigger climbs to put in some efforts and was able to pull out front. Once on the run, it was just about not screwing it up!!!” Proving he isn’t just a phenomenal runner, Hanson has put in some impressive rides this year explaining “I’ve made a few position changes on the bike the last few months which has really helped me stay relaxed and put power on the pedals. Obviously, Coach Julie has figured out what I need and helped me get fit for the last few races and put together a solid race plan.”

Outpacing Reed by almost 2 minutes on the run with another race best run split of 1:11:20, Hanson broke the tape to win in 3:51:16. 2:42 later Reed finished in 3:51:16, followed by 3rd place Potts who was 5:47 back finishing in 3:57:03. Following his impressive result, Hanson respectfully said

“I was looking at this race as an opportunity to see how I can fare against some legends in the sport. It was an honor to be able to take the win and share the podium with two world champs at this distance!”

IRONMAN 70.3 Coeur d’Alene
June 25th 2017
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
June 25, 2017

1 Matt Hanson       3:51:16
2 Tim Reed             3:53:58
3 Andy Potts           3:57:03
4 Christian Kemp  3:58:14
5 Alex Libin            4:02:59

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Medium Chain Triglycerides and Athletes https://firstendurance.com/medium-chain-triglycerides-athletes/ https://firstendurance.com/medium-chain-triglycerides-athletes/#respond Mon, 26 Jun 2017 16:00:47 +0000 http://firstendurance.com/?p=16274 Make up: Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) are a type of fatty acid.   Like all fatty acids, MCT’s contain a glycerol backbone with three fatty acids attached. Unlike long-chain triglycerides the MCT fatty acids are medium in length.   Because of these shorter chains, the fatty acids are easier to break down to use as an energy […]

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Make up:

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT’s) are a type of fatty acid.   Like all fatty acids, MCT’s contain a glycerol backbone with three fatty acids attached. Unlike long-chain triglycerides the MCT fatty acids are medium in length.   Because of these shorter chains, the fatty acids are easier to break down to use as an energy source.   Due to their unique structure and ease of assimilation, MCT’s have been considered as an alternative energy source to both fats and carbohydrates.

 

Milk fat, palm oil and coconut oil all contain some level of MCT’s.   Coconut oil has the highest level of this unique substance, though it’s bound to the long chain triglycerides. Because of this, manufacturers must ‘fraction’ off the MCT from the long chain fats in order to be used at functional amounts in supplements.

 

 

MCT’s Metabolism: MCT’s have long been given to patients hospitalized for malabsorption of nutrients, especially fats.   The ease of absorption allowed significant improvement in their health.

 

Unlike long chain fats, MCT’s do not require the presence of carnitine in order to be transported into the mitochondria.   Because of this MCT’s are rapidly transported into cells and have an ability to be used to help produce an alternative energy; researchers theorized it may help spare glycogen and boost endurance.

 

The ease by which MCT’s are digested and absorbed led researchers to look at the role these fatty acids might have on athletes as an alternative fuel.

 

MCT’s and Sport: It’s been well established that consuming fat as a fuel source does not improve endurance performance.   In fact, several studies have shown that sprint performance at the end of endurance exercise may be compromised with the consumption of fat.   The data on MCT’s in sport is mixed. There are a couple of studies that have found performance benefit through the suppression of lactate and improvement in high-intensity exercise. Other studies have shown evidence that MCT’s do not support any true and meaningful performance benefit.   A meta analysis seems to suggest that MCT’s may play a role in enhanced performance for aerobic activity by sparing glycogen.

 

A 2009 study compared the effects of MCT’s to long chain triglycerides on athletes training over a 2-week period. The group ingesting MCT’s did improve time to exhaustion at 80% of their VO2 peak.   Lactate concentration and rate of perceived exertion were also lower in the MCT group.   The MCT group also burned fat more efficiently, sparing glycogen.

 

 

Research on Health:

A 2016 study looked at the effects of MCT’s on gut health. This study discusses the role MCT’s play to improve the health of the gut.   In this study MCT’s were shown to improve both intestinal ecosystem and permeability effectively improving gut microbiota.

 

 

Why MCT’s?   Consuming long branched fatty acids prior to workouts has been shown to be detrimental to performance.   MCT’s on the other hand are far easier to absorb and may offer some health and performance benefit. MCT’s are a healthy alternative to saturated fats and have the potential to improve gut bacteria and health. Some evidence suggests MCT’s may also help athletes become leaner by catabolizing stored fat.

 

 

References:

Nosaka et. al: Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triglycerides on moderate and high intensity exercise i recreational athletes. Journal of Nutrition Science and Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2009 Apr; 55(2):120-5

 

Rial SA et al: Gut microbiota and metabolic health: The potential beneficial effects of medium chain triglyceride diet in obese individuals. Nutrients. 2016 May 12;8 (5). Pii; E281. Doi.

 

Bueno NB et al: Dietary medium-chain triglycerides versus long chain triglycerides for body composition in adults: systematic reviw and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of American College of Nutrition. 2015; 34(2): 175-83. Doi: Epub Feb 4.

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Beta-Alanine’s Greatest Endurance Benefit Revealed in 2017 peer-reviewed Medical Journal https://firstendurance.com/beta-alanine-clinically-proven-to-enhance-performance-in-endurance-athletes/ https://firstendurance.com/beta-alanine-clinically-proven-to-enhance-performance-in-endurance-athletes/#comments Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.firstendurance.com/?p=1022 Intro Beta-Alanine has been a staple of endurance and strength athletes for over a decade. We first introduced this naturally occurring amino acid in 2007 with OptygenHP. Since that time, study after study has proved this nutrient to be highly beneficial for endurance and power sports. A newly published 2017 meta-analysis reviewed 40 individual studies employing […]

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Intro

Beta-Alanine has been a staple of endurance and strength athletes for over a decade. We first introduced this naturally occurring amino acid in 2007 with OptygenHP. Since that time, study after study has proved this nutrient to be highly beneficial for endurance and power sports. A newly published 2017 meta-analysis reviewed 40 individual studies employing 65 different exercise protocols and totaling 70 exercise measures in 1461 participants. This meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that “Beta-Alanine had a significant overall effect. With the greatest benefit being total exercise capacity.”

What is Beta-Alanine?  Beta-Alanine is an amino acid combining carnosine and vitamin B5, known as pantothenic acid. Though it is the carnosine in the body that allows for the enhancement of improved lactate synthesis, it is Beta-Alanine that is the rate limiting nutrient in this process. In other words, to increase carnosine content one must supplement with Beta-Alanine. When ingested, carnosine breaks down into Beta-Alanine and histidine. The more effective method to improve carnosine is therefore by ingesting Beta-Alanine instead of carnosine. Beta-alanine has become widely accepted as a highly effective nutrient for endurance training and racing. Studies have clearly shown it to be an effective tool to boost endurance training and racing through its improvement on working capacity, VO2 and lactate threshold. (Pottier 2007, Stout 2007, Suzuki 2002, Van Thienen 2009, Zoeller 2006, and Smith 2009, Saunders 2017, Bellinger 2016).

 

Beta-Alanine had a significant overall effect. With the greatest benefit being total exercise capacity.

 

Lactate Threshold
Based on current research, Beta-Alanine’s primary role appears to be its effect on lactate threshold, which in endurance training is defined as the rate at which there is equilibrium in lactic acid production and lactic acid elimination. During exercise, hydrogen ions (H+) are produced in the body and cause the pH levels in the muscles to drop. When pH levels in the muscles are low, it means muscle tissue is acidic or producing lactic acid. At this lower pH, muscles cannot balance lactic acid production with lactic acid elimination, resulting in an overall slowing of movement, decreased physical strength, and intensity. When pH levels are balanced, training can continue for longer periods at increased intensity.

Exerting effort above lactate threshold prevents endurance athletes from sustaining that effort for more than a few minutes. It’s long been understood that the amino acid carnosine plays a key role in the homeostasis of pH and lactate threshold and that carnosine levels are regulated by Beta-Alanine.

To understand how Beta-Alanine works, you must first understand how carnosine works.
Carnosine enters the digestive system and is hydrolyzed into histidine and Beta-Alanine, which is then synthesized back into carnosine by skeletal muscle. Intra-muscular carnosine buffers hydrogen ions, this in turn leads to an increase in pH which is necessary for the balance between production and elimination of lactic acid.

Carnosine works by soaking up hydrogen ions (H+) to prevent low pH levels, as confirmed in recent studies. Increased carnosine concentration in muscles leads to increased buffering capacity of intra-muscular hydrogen ion (H+) (Dunnet 1999 & 2002, Hill 2007), as well as regulation of intra-cellular pH of both oxidative and glycolytic muscle fibers (Damon 2003). Increased carnosine accounts for up to 30% of the pH buffering capacity of the body.

With intense training, athletes have an opportunity to improve their intra-muscular carnosine content by up to 87% (Harris, 2005), which in turn provides an increase in lactate threshold. However, though endurance training increases intra-muscular carnosine levels, oral supplementation of carnosine does not have the same result. So, even though carnosine is widely available as a supplement, it is only through the availability of beta-alanine that intra-muscular carnosine can increase.

A related study shows carnosine levels significantly drop with age, which may be a key reason older athletes tend to have a lesser ability to eliminate lactate. (Dunnett, 2002)

So where does Beta-Alanine come in?
Since Beta-Alanine is the precursor to the production of intra-muscular carnosine, it must be present in order for intra-muscular carnosine levels to increase when intense training takes place. Ingestion of Beta-Alanine for 4 to 8 weeks has been shown to elevate muscle carnosine content by 42%, 47%, 64% and 65% respectively (Pottier 2007, Harris 2006, Hill 2007). Increasing intra-muscular carnosine means the body is capable of buffering more hydrogen and eliminating more lactic acid. The end result for an athlete is an improved lactate threshold. A slew of research studies on the mechanism of improved lactate threshold through the supplementation of beta-alanine have shown significant improvements in power, strength, endurance performance, and aerobic metabolism (Smith 2009, Van Thienen 2009, Stout 2007, Suzuki 2002, Pottier et al 2007). These double-blind, placebo-controlled studies were conducted in 4 and 8 week periods.

What does this all mean to your performance?
The ability to sustain efforts above lactate threshold is the primary benefit associated with Beta-Alanine supplementation. Beta-Alanine supplements should be consumed daily during heavy training blocks and based on today’s research, a minimum of 4 weeks is required before experiencing any significant increases in intra-muscular carnosine levels. Studies have proven the effect to be dose dependent, with an increased dosage pattern throughout the supplementation period. The buffering effects can be expected to slowly increase from the beginning of training and sustained throughout the entire training block. Using this supplementation strategy to improve interval workouts or threshold training workouts is the best method to achieve a lasting physiological change that can be carried over into races.

New Studies

A 2016 study on trained cyclists in a 4000m TT showed significant improvement in performance.  Supplementation increased time to exhaustion concomitant with improved anaerobic capacity during supramaximal intensity cycling and an increase in power output during a 4000m cycling TT, resulting in an enhanced overall performance.

A 2017 study by Saunders et. al, performed on active cyclists showed that supplementation for 24 weeks improved carnosine content and exercise capacity each week.  The study concluded that the maximal carnosine content achievable is therefore not known.

The third significant study proved that total Beta-Alanine consumption, not a specific dose was the primary determinant of carnosine content. Athletes consuming 1.6g Beta-Alanine per day over a long period improved carnosine content to a similar degree as those consuming an equivalent amount in a shorter time period. This study along with the 2017 Saunders study prove that consuming Beta-Alanine long term in maintenance dose can be beneficial to endurance trained athletes.

Studies

1)    Van Theinen’s 2009 study done on trained cyclists showed beta-alanine can improve sprint performance at the end of an exhaustive endurance exercise by 11.4%.

2)    The Smith 2009 double-blind study done on recreationally active college men supplementing with beta-alanine for six weeks while undergoing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) showed significant improvements in VO2peak, VO2 time to fatigue versus a group using a placebo.

3)    The Stout 2007 double-blind study done on 22 trained women supplementing with beta-alanine for 28 days performing on cycle ergometers showed a significant improvement in ventilatory threshold, physical working capacity at fatigue threshold and time to exhaustion.

4)    The Suzuki 2002 study looked at untrained men and trained them two days per week on cycle ergometers for 8 weeks. This double-blind study showed significant increase in sustainability of high power during 30-second maximal cycle ergometer sprinting.

5)    Pottier et al. 2007 investigated supplementation of beta-alanine on fifteen trained men in a 400m sprint and knee extension to exhaustion. Beta-alanine supplementation increased carnosine levels by 47% and attenuated fatigue in repeated bouts of exhaustive exercise.

Beta-Alanine References:
1) Dunnett M., R.C. Harris.  Influence of oral beta-alanine and L-histidine supplementation on the carnosine content of the gluteus medius.  Equine Vet J.  30 (suppl): 499-504, 1999.

2) Dunnett M., Harris RC, Dunnett CE, Harris PA. Plasma carnosine concentration: Diurnal variation and effects of age, exercise and muscle damage. Equine Vet J Suppl; Sept 2002. (34): 283-7

3) Harris R. C. Muscle Carnosine elevation with supplementation and training, and the effects of elevation on exercise performance. (ISSN conference, 2005).

4) Harris RC, et al; The absorption of orally supplied beta-alanine and its effect on muscle carnosine sythesis in human vastus lateralis. Amino Acids; 2006 May; 30 (3): 279-289.

5) Hill CA, Harris RC, Kim HJ, Harris BD, Sale C,  Boobis LH, Kim CK, Wise JA; Influence of beta-alanine supplementation on skeletal muscle carnosine concentrations and high intensity cycling capacity.  Amino Acids. 2007 Feb: 32(2) 225-33

6) Pottier, A, Ozdemir M, Reyngoudt H, Koppo K, Hrris R, Wise J, Achten E, Derave W. Beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine contenct and attenuates fatigue in trained sprinters. Medicine and Health Sciences, Belgium; ECSS July 2007.

7) Smith AE, Walter AA, Graef JL, Kendall KL, Moon JR, Lockwood CM, Fakuda DH, Beck TW, Cramer JT, Stout JR;  Effects of Beta-Alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial. JISSN 6:5 2009.

8)Stout JR, Cramer JT, Soeller RF, Torok D, Costa P, Hoffman JR, Harris RC, O’Koy J.; Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women.  Amino Acids 2007 April; 32 93): 381-6

9) Suzuki Y, Ito O, Mukai N, Takahashi H,; High levels of skeletal muscle carnosine contributes to the latter half of exercise performance during 30s maximal cycle ergometer sprinting.  Jap Journal of Physiology 52 199-205, 2002.

10) Van Thienen R, Van Proeyen K, Vanden EB, Puype J, Lefere T, Hespel P.  Beta-Alanine improves sprint performance in endurance cycling.  Med Science Sports and Exercise; April 2009; 41(4): 898-903

11) Zoeller RF, Stout JR, O’Kroy JA, Torok DJ, Mielke M.; Effects of 28 days of beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate supplementation on aerobic power, ventilatory and lactate thresholds, and time to exhaustion.  Amino Acids. 2006 Sept 5.

12) Bellinger et. al,. Metabolic consequences of Beta-Alanine supplementation during exhaustive supramaximal cycling and 4000m TT performance.  Applied Physiology Nutrition Metabolism: Aug 2016: 41(8):864-71. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0095. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

13) Saunders B. et. al,. Beta-Alanine supplementation to improve exercise capacity and performance:  A systematic review and meta-analysis.  British Journal of Sports Med. 2017 Apr; 51(8):658-669. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2016-096396. Epub 2016 Oct 18.

14) Saunders B. et. al,. Twenty-four Weeks of -Alanine Supplementation on Carnosine Content, Related Genes, and Exercise.Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2017 Volume 49 p 896-906

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