Wow, what a spectacular finish to another “buffet of the mind,” within the realm of sports nutrition! This Florida trip to the beautifully mesmerizing Fort Lauderdale for the 19th Annual International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), was truly a breathtaking experience. The days flew by in a rapid blur, which included the considerable amount of gained knowledge from the multitude of top researchers within Sports Nutrition, representing Vanguard University via the poster presentations, the return of the clever Data Blitz, and the sensationally gorgeous Las Olas Beach.
As mentioned in a prior blog, this ISSN Conference is dutifully centered toward a diversified audience that may include researchers, college students, registered dietitians, sports nutritionists, allied health practitioners, athletes, and anyone with a genuine interest in the field of Sports Nutrition. Moreover, the purpose of this conference was to provide a platform where a myriad of thoughtfully engaging topics surrounding sports nutrition can occur such as novel sports supplements, further elucidation of the physiological mechanisms behind nutraceutical interventions, dietary archetypes, psychology of dietary practices, as well as the acute or chronic nutritional effects upon athletic performance. This conference further opened my eyes to the considerable work being done on various fronts both in a basic and applied manner within this field of Sports Nutrition.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 19TH ANNUAL ISSN CONFERENCE
Personally, this year’s conference was another “light-bulb” reviving experience as I have had the memorable opportunity to continue meeting various researchers, dietitians, and students from across the country (there were even poster submissions from researchers in New Zealand!) and continue learning about the newest research encompassing popular topics such as the science surrounding fasted vs. fed cardio towards fat loss, the complex molecular intricacies surrounding the mechanisms of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) supplementation and athletic performance (a fantastic review of exercise biochemistry! Let’s go!), the emergence of continued research upon the role of creatine (may sometimes be termed the “king” of ergogenic supplementary aids) on cognition, a review upon the evolutionary inertia of body recomposition (centering upon the significance of energy balance in relation to weight loss or gain), the AWESOME presentation on nootropics on various indices of cognition and performance in “gamers,” as well as a fascinating comprehensive primer on the historical and current research overseeing dietary nitrates and exercise performance. To sum up these past two days…it was once again a “buffet for the mind,” that has left me unbelievably satiated. Hoorah!
FREE-FLOWING THOUGHTS ON APPLICATIONS FROM SEMINARS
A few practical takeaways I would briefly like to share from this conference would focus first on the topic surrounding the evolutionary inertia surrounding weight loss and body recomposition. The phenomenal speaker discussed the significance of our overall energy balance through which our genes and indices of energy expenditure (calories out) such as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, exercise activity thermogenesis, and basal metabolic rate can be dynamically responsive to any stressful conditions presented herein. This means that if one is at a significantly higher caloric deficit or incorporates greater amounts of physical activity in an aggrandized manner, there may be situations through which our basal metabolic rate may be reduced as well as possible circumstantial adaptive thermogenesis, which may make the goal of weight loss an uphill battle. To this respect, various solutions were presented to overcome this evolutionary inertia of body recomposition, which included examples such as strategies of incremental decreases in caloric intake, trial error approaches (there is interindividual variability), the significance of incorporating higher protein intake, as well as proper progressive weightlifting regimens (maintain lean body mass/muscle as much as possible).
Overall, this presentation was another reminder of the relevancy of understanding intra/interindividual variability as well as the significance of consistency and sustainability in goals of body recomposition (encompassing not only the exercise aspect but recovery and dietary strategies as well for the purpose of weight loss or gain).
Additionally, I was personally really enlightened by the presentation surrounding the topics of dietary nitrates for performance. With respect to dietary nitrates, which is in relation to the significance of nitric oxide (NO) production, this carries considerable cellular signaling relevance that is also undoubtedly important for homeostatic function. Avid exercisers or those who tap into sports supplements may remember the notoriety of L-Citrulline or L-Arginine, which is purported to increase the production of Nitric Oxide for purposed ergogenic potentiality in performance, however, this particular talk focused on the relevancy of dietary sources nitrate/nitrite for performance (adequate intake of dietary nitrates could also make nitric oxide). In this respect, intake of various green leafy vegetable choices would provide ample sources for nitrate (such as beetroot, arugula, or even beetroot juice). Overall, this fantastic presentation presented a comprehensive outlook on the research surrounding dietary nitrates upon athletic performance (which has been discussed in improving endurance exercise performance and assisting in the efficiency of aerobic performance), as well as possibly improving reaction time/cognition too.
This presentation was duly fascinating and made me consider tapping into the ingestion of beetroot juice to examine its influences on my own aerobic training adaptations!
MY 2ND POSTER SESSION AS A VANGUARD PROFESSOR
At this conference, I was once again blessed to use the remaining scientific data from my dissertation to present another poster presentation representing Vanguard University. My data discussed the novel approach of examining the acute effects of Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) (try pronouncing this!) upon the genetic expression for mitochondrial activity within untrained young males. The outcome of this study answered the research question on whether the ingestion of a single standardized dose of PQQ would elicit a favorable genetic response indicating improved mitochondrial activity within skeletal muscle (heightened activity of the electron transport chain (ETC) complexes would indicate elevations in aerobic respiration for ATP production, which would indicate a possible ergogenic potential for aerobic performance).
The outcome of my data reported no statistically significant supplement by time interactions, which may conclude no meaningful differences in gene activity for mitochondrial function following a single dose of PQQ with exercise. In this respect, this data adds to the scarcity of PQQ human subject scientific literature, that an acute dose of PQQ combined with a bout of aerobic exercise may not elicit a significant benefit for mitochondrial function. Therefore, presently, buying this PQQ supplement at a local supplement store for the goal of rapid/acute mitochondrial function benefits for exercise may not be necessary. However, as we all know…further exploratory research may be warranted to examine additional methodologies of exercise or training statuses with this novel PQQ supplement.
DATA BLITZ GAME SESSION RETURNS + FINAL CONCLUDING PERSPECTIVES
Lastly, this conference continued its tradition of including the competitive game event known as the “data blitz,” where chosen speakers presented original non-published scientific evidence (purpose, methods, results, conclusions) in 60 seconds! There was prize money for the best presentations based on pre-selected judges. Once again, it was so entertaining to see various speakers attempt this challenge and speak coherently under the pressure of time to summarize their research studies. Perhaps this can be a fun little challenge for our Senior Research Projects in our department one day…(cue LIGHTBULB to turn on).
Besides the inexplicable beauty of Fort Lauderdale (if you never explored this area of Florida, take time to spend a weekend here), the experience from this conference will continue to spark motivation to continue evolving my sports nutrition course at Vanguard University. This may include practical examples of integrating newer topics in lectures to help students understand this dynamically evolving field. Furthermore, I am truly grateful to be given the opportunity to represent Vanguard University and attend this conference for a second year as a professor. Now it is time to kick back and enjoy some more sunshine at the beautiful beaches in California during this summer break. Soli Deo Gloria.