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Wanted: young males for exercise test

Healthy young men are being urged to volunteer for a JCU study examining how antioxidants affect exercise performance and recovery.

First published 24 January 2013

Healthy young men are being urged to volunteer for a James Cook University study examining how antioxidants affect exercise performance and recovery.

Vahan Stepanyan, a PhD student with JCU’s Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, is undertaking a study on the Effects of natural antioxidant supplementation on exercise performance and post-exercise recovery.

An antioxidant is an enzyme or other organic substance, such as vitamin E or beta carotene, that is capable of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation in animal tissues.

Mr Stepanyan said sports antioxidants were widely accepted as protecting against the negative consequences of exercising, such as muscle pain and fatigue usually felt a few days after unaccustomed exercise.

“Research in sports antioxidants started around 30 years ago. Scientific beliefs at that time were mostly optimistic toward protective properties of antioxidants,” Mr Stepanyan said.

“Since that time, the sport antioxidant supplements market started to grow and is growing to this day. However, with developments in human research and analytical techniques, scientific opinions have changed”.

“Currently, scientific opinions have tended to shift toward no effect or even negative effects of antioxidants on exercise performance, adaptation and recovery. Opinions still are highly divided and more in-depth research is required in the area.”

Mr Stepanyan’s research, which involves three departments within JCU - the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, the School of Pharmacy and Molecular Sciences, and the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences - will examine the effects of antioxidant supplementation in depth.

The antioxidant to be used in the project is a natural antioxidant which is contained in some commercial products. It will be orally supplemented in form of gelatine capsules.

“The research will be conducted in two phases, each requiring 30 volunteers,” he said.

“The first phase involves recreationally active people who regularly exercise in non-contact sports such as cycling, jogging, swimming or walking. The second phase involves trained sportsmen in similar, non-contact sports.”

Participants need to be non-smoking males, aged between 18 to 40, in good health and without recent medical problems.

The first phase of the study, involving recreationally active people, will take place from February 25 to July 3 this year. Each participant will be asked to visit the JCU Exercise laboratory 10 times with most visits lasting about 45 minutes.

“By the end of the study, participants will receive personal test reports which include assessments of aerobic fitness and other exercise performances,” Mr Stepanyan said.

“The report will also include results of various biochemical markers, showing for example how exercise affected muscle proteins and lipids damage, and whether the antioxidant supplementation was beneficial or not.”

For more information or interviews, contact Vahan Stepanyan on 0415 975 027 or vahan.stepanyan@my.jcu.edu.au.

JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175