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Fact checked by Andrew Lenau, ISSA CPT & Sports NutritionistFACT CHECKED
February 22, 2022 1 Comment
The ISSN recently concluded their event where they took position stands on all things supplements and nutrition. One of the beauties of science and sports nutrition is everything is constantly changing. Sports researchers are always spending time and money exploring and learning more about human performance and the role that nutrition plays. Although it is a relatively new field, new findings and information are constantly being discovered.
Today we want to look at several position stands of the International Society of Sports Nutrition or ISSN for short. Sparked by the idea of Susan Kleiner, Ph.D. RD, the ISSN, was then cofounded by Jose Antonio Ph.D., Doug Kalman Ph.D. RD, Richard Kreider Ph.D., and Anthony Almada MSc. Together, they wanted to form an authoritative organization that could monitor research and develops a cohesive system on the effectiveness and use of nutrition and ergogenic aids. Since its inception in 2003, the ISSN has done just that, growing into the premier organization for authoritative information on all things nutrition and human performance.
To act as benchmarks for the most popular topics, the ISSN has developed "stands" that lay out their conclusions on the known body of research. Then, as new research is done, the ISSN reevaluates its stands to perhaps change things they once thought were true (this is an actual scientific model) or add new discoveries.
The ISSN just reevaluated their stands, and we had the privilege of sitting in on their discussions today, and so now, we want to bring you the most up-to-date information on the ISSN's stands! And we'll also cover any other cool info given by these true experts.
On February 12th, 2022, the ISSN held a live conference online where several leading experts in their fields covered their position stands with regards to supplements and nutrition. The conference was moderated by Jose Antonio PhD, Cassandra Evans MS RD CISSN, Veronica Mekhail CISSN. The event's experts covered the topics below:
The use of protein as a dietary supplement was one of ISSN's original focuses. Still today, one of Dr. Jose Antonio's favorite subjects is busting myths regarding protein and dangers to the kidneys. With that said, one of the great things about listening to true experts speak is that they will always teach you something new.
Dispelling Myths Of Protein And Kidney Damage:
Dr. Antonio started the stand on protein by addressing the issue of some making claims that protein will destroy your kidneys. Even after we had read the information on this before, Dr. Antonio brought up a point concerning heavy protein consumption evolution, and it makes a lot of sense.
When we look at the different physiological systems of man, we must realize that they have evolved for two main goals:
In this manner, we are very simple beings. That being said, our systems were built to keep us alive in the environment we found ourselves in. We did not have the luxury to pre-package our meals in little Tupperware containers to store in the fridge until feeding time during our hunting and gathering days. When we killed an animal, we ate it; all of it. This meant that we likely consumed well over the supposed max of "40g per serving," which our bodies supposedly can't digest.
Further, this meant that our organs would be forced to process substantial quantities of protein at given times. In Dr. Anotnios word's "It's stupid to suggest that this behavior would destroy our kidneys or that we would not be able to process this much protein" (Yes, he can be blunt, and we love it!). Our bodies would have adapted to be able to handle these loads as this was common practice among early humans.
An interesting thought, but there are obviously plenty of studies to back this up as well. For example, a 2-year study followed two bodybuilders who consumed a high protein diet (>2.2/g/kg) and monitored their blood work. All levels were acceptable and remained steady the entire study.
That said, assuming your kidneys are in working condition, eating high protein should be of no concern.
Benefits Of Protein On Strength And Performance:
Benefits Of Protein On Body Composition:
RECOMMENDED PROTEIN INTAKE, TIMING, AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:
The ISSN's recommended protein intake is much higher than the standard RDA:
Other than protein, creatine has been another significant focal point of the ISSN due to the many false claims regarding its safety. This misinformation is even more alarming due to the sheer amount of benefits that creatine has been found to give. In fact, the ISSN has even warned that this misinformation can actually be detrimental to athletes involved in high-impact sports due to its role in brain health and recovery from concussions!
In reality, non-athletic benefits have been taking the lead as far as areas of new research. This is mainly because so many studies have been done to affirm creatine's benefits on performance. During that time, researchers have begun to identify a plethora of other benefits that creatine may have. Creatine is the closest we have to a miracle drug in many ways.
Athletic Benefits Of Creatine:
The primary work mechanism is it allows more workload due to the extra ATP production, which results in various performance benefits.
Most worries about renal failure are centered around case studies that examine creatine use in patients with renal failure.
Non-Athletic Benefits Of Creatine:Creatine has been found to be beneficial in a ton of non-athletic endeavors. While we can't go through the exact mechanisms, the areas below are currently being researched.
RECOMMENDED CREATINE DOSING:
Along with protein and creatine, caffeine is one of the most well-researched and effective supplements on the market. Caffeine simply works. While we all know it can get you "hyped," this stimulation can actually improve performance on several variables, which we'll look at. However, what was most interesting about the latest research on caffeine had to do with the different effects people receive depending on their genotype.
The fastest absorption happens through the mouth. Therefore, gum can elicit the most immediate benefits.
Benefits Of Caffeine:
The greatest benefits are seen in endurance training.
RECOMMENDED CAFFEINE DOSING:
Note: Be mindful of the individualistic responses.
The focal point of the discussion on beta-alanine revolved around the common errors found in the dosing and timing of beta-alanine. While beta-alanine is one of the few supplements deemed as "effective" by the ISSN, most people don't consume it properly as they rely on pre-workouts for their dose. This made dosing the main focal point on the discussion of beta-alanine.
Benefits Of Beta-Alanine:
Errors In Dosing:
Mentioned numerous times in the presentation, beta-alanine is one of, if not the most misunderstood supplements on the market. This is mainly due to its association with "pre-workout." We got the chance to specifically ask Dr. Abbie Smith-Ryan about this. She confirmed our belief that beta-alanine has nothing to do with a pre-workout and can be taken at any point during the day.
Beta-alanine relies on chronic consumption as it works very similarly to creatine as we are increasing our stores. Therefore, timing has little effect on its effectiveness. However, in reality, consistency does, and this is one reason many people never genuinely benefit. It's because they only take it with their pre-workout.
Secondly, if you rely on pre-workout, you are likely underdosing anyways. Most pre-workouts only offer about 1.6-2.0g of beta-alanine. This is not enough (we'll lay out proper dosing below). This being said, you should get a stand-alone product to better control your dosing.
RECOMMENDED BETA-ALANINE DOSING:
Sodium bicarbonate is similar to beta-alanine in that it acts as a muscle buffer. However, beta-alanine works as an intracellular buffer while sodium bicarbonate works outside the cell.
Regardless, it's most effective at buffering the muscle when glycolysis is the primary metabolic system being used. These are high-intensity bouts with a duration of 30 seconds to 2 minutes. However, even after 2 minutes, glycolysis is still heavily involved, meaning that sodium bicarbonate can provide substantial benefits longer.
Benefits Of Sodium Bicarbonate:
RECOMMENDED SODIUM BICARBONATE DOSING:
Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, or HMB, is a promising compound that has shown benefits in resistance training due to its relationship with leucine. One of the three branched-chain amino acids, leucine, is the primary amino acid responsible for signaling muscle protein synthesis.
Due to the large amounts of leucine required to maximize its effectiveness, it's believed that one of its metabolites may be the primary compound. The one compound that shows the most promise is HMB.
HMB has been found to attenuate muscle damage after workouts resulting in faster recovery. As our progression in resistance training is governed by recovery, HMB can play a pivotal role in resistance training for hypertrophy and strength.
Benefits Of HMB Supplementation:
RECOMMENDED HMB DOSING:
Learn more about HMB in our article: What Does HMB Do?
Over the past years, gut health has become an area of interest for performance on athletes. One of the practices which we can all perform is including the consumption of probiotics in our diet. Probiotics literally mean "pro, life." When we consume them, they can promote the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut.
As this is where the absorption of nutrients occurs as well as the jettison of junk, probiotics will have benefits that reach way past the local reaction. For example, benefits can include an improved immune system and better absorption of nutrients.
Facts Of Probiotics:
Benefits Of Probiotics:
Improving our gut health will have a vast array of benefits. Like creatine, the list is far too extensive to detail for each benefit. That said, here is a list of potential benefits.
RECOMMENDED PROBIOTICS DOSING:
There are many strains, and each one has a different function. Further, they are required in optimal amounts. Therefore, a person will need to assess what they require individually.
The purpose of this stand is to simply help clarify and organize different diets by establishing several diet hierarchies. The ISSN has established 6 major hierarchies under which diets fall. By diets, the ISSN gives the definition of "The sum of energy and nutrients consumed from food and bev on a regular basis." This means a protocol that you follow for at least four weeks.
RECOMMENDATIONS ON DIETS:
Nutrient timing is a highly controversial subject (even though it shouldn't be), likely due to the high amount of nuance involved. Simply put, nutrient timing deals with how the timing of our nutrition can affect the outcome. There are so many factors to consider, such as:
With that understanding, this stand will try to lay out the most essential and wide-reaching variables.
Basic Concepts To Understand With Nutrient Timing:
The number one consideration is total calories and macronutrients
BASIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR PROTEIN:
BASIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR CARBOHYDRATES:
This post wasn't only meant for certified personal trainers to implement for their clients. We hope that you can take some of the insights of the ISSN position stands on supplements and nutrition and then put them into practice in your everyday life. As science is continually changing and improving our understanding, it's important to leave your preconceived notions at the door.
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