Football metabolomics

Following on the recent announcement of the Atlanta Hawks training center, here’s a Nov. 2015 research paper from Emory’s sports cardiologist Jonathan Kim, published in Annals of Sports Medicine and Research.

Jonathan Kim, MD

Kim and colleagues from Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute studied blood samples from 15 freshman football players at Georgia Tech before and after their first competitive season. The researchers had the help of metabolomics expert Dean Jones. Kim has also previously studied blood pressure risk factors in college football players.

On average, football players’ resting heart rate went down significantly (72 to 61 beats per minute), but there were no significant changes in body mass index or blood pressure. The research team observed changes in players’ amino acid metabolism, which they attribute to muscle buildup.

This finding may seem obvious, but imagine what a larger, more detailed analysis could do: start to replace locker room myths and marketing aimed at bodybuilders with science. This was a small, preliminary study, and the authors note they were not able to assess diet or nutritional supplementation.The researchers also saw changes in metabolism of prostaglandins, which are the targets of common over-the-counter pain relief drugs. The authors write that the prostaglandin finding may be because of muscle changes or use of those drugs.

The authors write:

“To our knowledge, this is the first high-resolution metabolomics profile detailing American style football athletic training. Our data suggest the metabolic adaptations that occur in association with organized ASF training may be sport-specific.

Notably, the training-related metabolic profile described in our analysis differs with those previously reported in mixed dynamic/resistance rowers. Second, our data provide insight into the specific metabolic adaptations that occur with an intense ASF training regimen.”

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Quinn Eastman

Science Writer, Research Communications qeastma@emory.edu 404-727-7829 Office

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