As is typical, I have selected three particularly noteworthy articles in this month's issue. First, the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) as a recovery aid is a hot topic, yet little is known about its effects in performance settings. Cochrane-Snyman and colleagues examined ingestion of CBD oil capsules to offset performance and perceptual deficits as a result of exercise-induced muscle damage. In a double-blind, repeated-measures, cross-over design, untrained participants performed repeated sets of upper body lengthening contractions followed by the consumption of either placebo or CBD-containing capsules totaling 150 mg per dose of active CBD or placebo immediately after, 24, and 48 h post-exercise. Their results indicated that regardless of dose and schedule, CBD administration had no effect on non-invasive measures of muscle soreness or performance markers when compared with placebo. This study is one of the first to experimentally test CBD in human participants during exercise scenarios and provides important groundwork for future studies investigating other exercise modalities and populations.
Next, Morales-Palomo et al. monitored the effects of five consecutive years of HIIT training (three times per week for four months per year) on medicine use and health evolution of individuals with metabolic syndrome, a multimorbidity condition composed of obesity, prediabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Over the five years, members of the control non-training group maintained their health condition (a compound score of metabolic syndrome factors), but did so at the expense of increasing their oral medication (dose and number of pills; a 93% increase). In contrast, yearly training yielded improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness (12%) and no change in metabolic syndrome factors without an increase in medication. These results suggest that yearly exercise training not only improves fitness but also the clinical management of metabolic syndrome, reducing medicine prescription, and possibly health costs and polypharmacy adverse outcomes.
Finally, Thakkar and coworkers recruited 100 competitive male athletes to determine whether genetic differences affecting iron metabolism were associated with endurance performance during a 10-km cycling time trial, as well as the participants' aerobic power. Athletes with the HFE genotype, associated with elevated risk of hemochromatosis, completed the 10-km cycling time trial faster and had greater aerobic power. Thus, athletes with high-risk HFE genotypes were 8% faster and had a 17% higher VO2Peak compared to those with low-risk HFE genotypes. This study demonstrates that athletes may benefit from genetic testing and maintaining iron levels on the higher end of normal for optimal endurance performance, while monitoring their iron status under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
L. Bruce Gladden
School of Kinesiology