Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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One gram bromelain daily maintains testosterone levels after heavy exertion

Extreme exertion, such as running a marathon, lowers testosterone levels. Researchers at the University of Tasmania may have discovered a way to prevent this from happening. Supplementation with one gram of bromelain daily maintains the concentration of testosterone in the blood during periods of intense physical activity, they reported in the European Journal of Sport Sciences.

Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple plants [Biochem J. 1990 Mar 15;266(3):869-75.] that cuts up proteins into little pieces. The food industry uses bromelain to tenderise meat; doctors use it to help wounds heal more quickly; and the supplements industry puts it in products intended to help athletes recover more quickly from training.

The researchers divided 15 well-trained male cyclists, all of whom competed at national level, into a placebo group and a supplementation group. The latter group took one gram or 4500 GBU bromelain daily. That's a reasonable dose. Most bromelain supplements contain about half a gram of the substance per capsule.

The researchers used a product manufactured by the Australian Bio Concepts. However, the company did not finance the study. So this was not a sponsored study.

The experiment lasted for 6 days. During this period the cyclists participated in a six-day competition, in which they cycled about one hundred kilometres a day. During the event the researchers monitored the subjects' blood.

The testosterone level of the men in the placebo group went down during the experiment. The decrease was limited in the supplementation group, however.

One gram bromelain daily maintains testosterone levels after heavy exertion

How exactly bromelain supplementation maintains testosterone levels the researchers don't know. Anti-catabolism at least does not play a significant role. The researchers found no noticeable effects of bromelain on the concentration of the enzymes LDH and CK in the blood. LDH and CK are indicators of muscle breakdown.

One gram bromelain daily maintains testosterone levels after heavy exertion

"This investigation provides evidence to support the relevance of further research into the effects of bromelain supplementation for recovery and subsequent exercise performance in endurance athletes", the researchers concluded.

Eur J Sport Sci. 2016;16(2):206-12.

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