Friday, 12 March 2010

Fat Cycling

Hat tip to TheGymMonkey through whose blog I was led to this paper discussing Lance Armstrong's performance before and after testicular cancer:
  • We propose that his dramatic improvement in recovery between stages, the most important factor in winning multi-day stage races, is due to his unilateral orchiectomy, a procedure that results in permanent changes in serum hormones. These hormonal changes, specifically an increase in gonadotropins (and prolactin) required to maintain serum testosterone levels, alter fuel metabolism; increasing hormone sensitive lipase expression and activity, promoting increased free fatty acid (FFA) mobilization to, and utilization by, muscles, thereby decreasing the requirement to expend limiting glycogen stores before, during and after exercise.

They go on to note:

  • Such hormonal changes also have been associated with ketone body production, improvements in muscle repair and haematocrit levels and may facilitate the loss of body weight, thereby increasing power to weight ratio. Taken together, these hormonal changes act to limit glycogen utilization, delay fatigue and enhance recovery thereby allowing for optimal performances on a day-to-day basis.

TheGymMonkey pulls the paper apart in a little more detail here. (And if you want to bone-up on hormone sensitive lipase then you could do worse than read this link.)

For me there does seem to be a slight irony in the fact that it is recommended we carb-up for endurance events - from the marathon to days out on the hills - it is all about carb drinks, fruit cake and the like.

But the most significant bit has to be ketoadaption - the hormonal expression of which, "act[s] to limit glycogen utilization, delay fatigue and enhance recovery thereby allowing for optimal performances on a day-to-day basis".

If you could produce an 'energy drink' with that kind of property, you'd be a rich person.

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