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Runner sprinting on a track

Running Helps You Live Longer, Protein Improves Cognitive Function, and Supplements for Cyclists

Welcome to our weekly summary of the latest research from the world of sports nutrition.

In this week’s summary: 


Can Running Faster Positively Impact Your Longevity?

Runner sprinting on a track

This study investigated whether running a mile in under four minutes impacts longevity. By analyzing the lifespans of the first 200 men to achieve this feat, researchers found that these athletes lived an average of nearly five years longer than expected based on their country's life expectancy. The longevity benefit was most pronounced for runners who broke the four-minute barrier in the 1950s, who lived over nine years longer on average. The findings suggest that achieving such an extreme athletic milestone does not negatively affect lifespan, challenging the notion that extreme endurance exercise may be detrimental to longevity. Instead, it appears to be associated with increased longevity compared to the general population.

Our thoughts: Is this a result of these athletes generally being fitter, or because they happened to be elite level? I’d like to see a study comparing the results from these sub-four minute mile runners against a random sample of 200 men who competed at a lesser level.


The Effects of Resistance Training and Whey Protein on Cognitive Function

Athlete performing squats in a gym

This study investigated the effects of resistance exercise and whey protein supplementation on cognitive function and health markers in older men. The 36 participants were divided into groups to either do resistance exercise or not, and to take whey protein or a placebo. Over 12 weeks, they underwent cognitive tests assessing executive function, memory, and overall cognitive ability using a detailed neuropsychological battery. Additionally, the study measured various health markers including inflammation levels, salivary cortisol, insulin sensitivity, and muscle strength. Results showed that whey protein improved cognitive function, particularly executive functioning, but resistance exercise did not enhance cognition. However, exercise did reduce inflammation. No combined benefits were seen from doing both exercise and taking protein, but whey protein alone may offer some cognitive benefits for older men.

Our thoughts: This is a surprising result as exercise is known to improve some aspects of cognitive function. It’s well known that our protein absorption deteriorates as we get older, however, the impact of higher doses on executive functioning is still a question mark. There is always the possibility that whey in particular has some additional impact, of course. I’d be curious to see the results of a similar study conducted with Egg White Protein Isolate


Nutritional Ergogenic Aids (Supplements) for Cycling

Cyclist riding down a mountain

This systematic review analyzed 36 studies on the effectiveness of various nutritional supplements for cycling, including caffeine, creatine, sodium bicarbonate, beta-alanine and nitrates. The results showed that caffeine significantly improved cycling performance, and combining caffeine with creatine or sodium bicarbonate also had positive effects. Sodium bicarbonate alone showed some potential benefits, but beta-alanine and creatine alone did not produce significant improvements. Overall, while some supplements can enhance performance, their effectiveness varies and more research is needed to fully understand their benefits.

Our thoughts: Caffeine is well-researched and proven as an endurance performance enhancer, so there’s no real surprise. Creatine combined with caffeine is interesting, as I feel that the weight gain from creatine supplementation could negatively impact endurance performance. If the studies used stationary bikes, this would negate the impact of weight, which could skew the results. That being said, the power output boost from creatine supplementation can be so great that it may provide a performance benefit even with additional body weight. Could combining caffeine with a combination of creatine and HMB, like in HMB+ Creatine, produce a more significant effect? HMB has been shown to lead to improved VO2 max.


That’s all for this week. We hope you learned something new that you can incorporate into your training!


— Train hard!


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