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 Post subject: Stimulants
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:14 pm
Posts: 729
Ok, this is not a pure nutrition question, but it relates to sports supplements, so I'll post it here.
I see people using preworkout stimulants - stuff that is analogous to ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, amphetamine, cocaine etc. in short - sympathetic agonists.
And I'm wondering how this affects recovery, biochemically speaking.

All these compounds either release sympathetic neurotransmitters directly or indirectly or block their reuptake/metabolism, so that they stay in the system longer and boost your sympathetic output. This makes you feel wired and increases your work capacity in various ways.

In OG, we talk about how the NS is important for strength training via:
-Recruitment
-Rate coding/firing rate
-Intra-muscular coordination
-Inter-muscular coordination
-Antagonist disinhibiton
-Growth and pruning

But how does the NS recover after a workout session where it has been highly taxed, i.e. bodyweight strength training with high intensity and low volume?

Does this mean resynthesis of neurotransmitters and other compounds in addition to adaptations involving the above mentioned 6 concepts?

And if so, won't the same workout session with the use of stimulants, be even more taxing on the nervous system? More compounds depleted than in the normal condition (and probably also more taxing on other cell components)?

So in the long run, using stimulants could negatively affect your recovery ability, by making the recovery time longer? In addition to the other health risks involved in their use.


Anyone know anything about this?


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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:49 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:56 pm
Posts: 1565
Yes, it more strongly stimulates the nervous system which can negatively affect recovery.

In the Bulgarian system of training they tried to do all of their lifts as relaxed as possible and they were training 2-3+ times a day 6-7 days a week because amping the nervous system could very easily have a negative impact on recovery.

I haven't seen any long term studies that show constant caffeine or stacks as having increase efficacy over nothing (although I haven't surveyed the literature in a while). So, while they may provide a greater workout they may not necessarily confer benefits to greater adaptations.

Hence, it may be useful only to use them in a competition type setting.

So, I guess if you do use them make sure your sleep, nutrition, anti-stress type stuff is all very good.



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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 4:42 am 

Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:14 pm
Posts: 729
Okay, thanks!
That's very interesting! Because of the additional risks and since I want to know how my body performs in the natural state, I prefer to just use caffeine. But from a health point of view, this is useful knowledge.

But about recovery: Does NS recovery include resynthesis, and if so - how long would you expect it to take at a maximum?
Endurance/muscular recovery would cover things like liver glycogen replenishment, muscle glycogen replenishment, cell structure repairs, waste removal and resynthesis of various intermediate substrates, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:11 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:56 pm
Posts: 1565
Okay, well, KC wanted to answer but he's taking too long.

He has some stuff to say about EC and ECA since he takes stacks I believe.

Regardless, breakdown of neurotransmitters depends on the neurotransmitter. They usually have certain half lives. However, in the synapse, neurotransmitter reuptake can occur and the nerve can re-store the neurotransmitter until it gets used again.

I'm not exactly sure how efficient this process is and if it can be improved. However, the body is certainly capable of some really intense feats like somehow training with heavy weights 2-3+ times a day for 6-7 days a week like in the Bulgarian system for Oly weightlifting. So, I'm sure somewhere along the line there is some adaptation to this in particular.

Most recovery factors depend on a lot of dietary stuff. For example, fructose can be used to resupply liver glycogen fast, and glucose muscle glycogen faster. Hence, why endurance runners can "carb load" to some extent.

The adaptations to stress, especially hypertrophy, include nuclei donation from satellite cells and increased resistance to stress of cell membranes -- so the body does adapt ways to "recover" from the stress much better. Mitochondria, in particular, help to eliminate lactate and buffer pH in cells during exercise.

So yes, some of the systems become more efficient with exercise. I haven't read about most of this stuff in a while so I may be off on some points, but for the most part all systems of the body can adapt to some extent to exercise.



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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:45 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:14 pm
Posts: 729
Absolutely.
But I was thinking more along the lines of exactly what constitutes recovery for the cells of the NS as opposed to cells of the musculoskeletal system, i.e. what are the causes of NS fatigue.

And by extension, since the sympathetic stimulants overstimulate the NS, how their use will affect NS recovery. The last question you answered previously, but I still wonder about the first one.

I study the body and I'm interested in training on the side (like most of us here are), so that's why I ask =)
Anyway, looking forward to hearing what KC has to say on the subject as well!


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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:57 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:56 pm
Posts: 1565
Karl Karlsen wrote:
Absolutely.
But I was thinking more along the lines of exactly what constitutes recovery for the cells of the NS as opposed to cells of the musculoskeletal system, i.e. what are the causes of NS fatigue.

And by extension, since the sympathetic stimulants overstimulate the NS, how their use will affect NS recovery. The last question you answered previously, but I still wonder about the first one.

I study the body and I'm interested in training on the side (like most of us here are), so that's why I ask =)
Anyway, looking forward to hearing what KC has to say on the subject as well!


I don't know a lot of the details, but depends on the specific neurotransmitters.

For example, this study details stuff on the serotonin:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12884756

I'd have to do a bunch more research on the topic before I could comment reliably on specific mechanisms other than potential neurotransmitter depletion.

I do know there are alterations in the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis which affects the output of hormones from each of these areas including many of the stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands like cortisol et al as well.

Whether that is neurologically induced via stress in the cortex (after all hypothalamus and pituitary are inextricably linked to the brain) or lots of other feedback mechanisms I cannot say for now at this time.



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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:12 am 

Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:14 pm
Posts: 729
Thanks though!

I was just curious, so no big deal really. Could very well be that it hasn't been investigated all that much either, the NS is very complex and difficult to pin down. But it seems reasonable that it involves restoring neurotransmitters and that like you said, it is integrated with other signalling systems. And I would guess that a higher stimulation, either via more intense training or via training amplified by stimulants, would cause a prolonged recovery period, due to strong neural activation.


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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 11:24 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:56 pm
Posts: 1565
I would agree.

"Overtraining" in a sense is overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system. If you take a look at all of the "symptoms" of overtraining you'll see it's poor sleep, decreased appetite, etc. which all indicate a lack of parasympathetic activation.

Likewise, the fix to getting out of "overtraining" is to decrease training (sympathetic stimulation) and increase recovery factors like sleep, food, anti-stress, etc.

I was going to write an article on this but I haven't gotten around to it yet.



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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:56 pm
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Oh yeah, I don't support anything (stimulants, etc.) illegal in your country, and you shouldn't either. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Stimulants
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:14 pm
Posts: 729
Hey! That was a very interesting thought, the sympathetic vs parasympathetic balance in overtraining. Looking forward to reading that article when it is out. I think Paul Chek has probably talked a lot about this kind of stuff, he has some very interesting takes on things.

Steven Low wrote:
Oh yeah, I don't support anything (stimulants, etc.) illegal in your country, and you shouldn't either. :)

Hehe, of course. Neither do I, but as a student of the natural sciences, I find it an interesting topic to investigate. And I might have patients in the future who use the stuff, so it is good to be able to see it from many perspectives, not just the common one.


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