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Bodybuilding Science Breakthroughs: Newest Research

Posted on January 9th, 2012 by Lucy

It isn’t just the supplement companies that are interested in the science behind bodybuilding! There is plenty of interest in resistance training from a health point of view – and that means that there is also plenty of research going on. Today we aim to get past the ill-informed gym ‘experts’ and get the juice on exactly what resistance training research is revealing or confirming, with our monthly look at Bodybuilding Science Breakthroughs.

Hypokalemic Paralysis Linked to Diuretics

Mayr, Domanovits and Laggner reported on a case study of a bodybuilder who was admitted to hospital with lypokalemic (low potassium) paralysis. The cause was assumed to be insulin use and diuretic misuse. If you use either of these substances as competitive aids, watch for symptoms such as generalised muscle cramps, palpitations and paralysis. If they occur … eat a banana on your way to hospital, and reconsider the way you manipulate your hormones.


Body Image Disturbance in Bodybuilding

A 1000-person study was recently completed by Hildebrand, Alfano and Langenbucher examining the interrelationships between bodybuilding, body image disorder and androgen abuse. The findings were quite intuitive – there is massive heterogeneity in symptoms, motivations etc related to body image disorder in bodybuilders. Some, but not all, abuse androgens. This was a study for future research to refer to.


BCAAs Linked with ALS?

ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and some sources have linked it with BCAA bodybuilding supplement usage. Manuel and Heckman found that this theory remains completely unproven – while BCAAs can create upper and lower motor neuron hyoerexcitability, but there is no link between BCAA supplementation in mice and subsequent development of ALS. The upshot? If you get good results from BCAAs, take them without fear. If you have a family history of ALS, take a difference recovery supplement.


Neurologic Injuries Associated With Bodybuilding

Busche recently published a review of the neurologic injuries associated with bodybuilding – injuries which are increasing in prevalence due to increased participation rates. The injuries most often occurring are in the median nerve, ulnar nerve, radial nerve, musculocutaneous nerve, suprascapular nerve, long thoracic nerve and medial pectoral nerve. Benign headache was also associated with bodybuilding.


Bodybuilding Does Not Catabolise Skeletal Muscle

There is a widespread, persistent, and quite silly myth among some athletes that bodybuilding training actually catabolises skeletal muscle. If this were true, the nitrogenic by products of the catabolism could be observed in the urine. This theory was tested by Hickson, Wolinsky and Pivarnik and published in ‘Nutrition’. The authors found that urinary nitrogen excretion was not enhanced in untrained young males following repeated days of bodybuilding exercise. Myth busted!

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