Bananas as an Energy Source during Exercise: A Metabolomics Approach. PLoS One, May 2012. Nieman DC, Gillitt ND, Henson DA, Sha W, Shanely RA, Knab AM, Cialdella-Kam L, Jin F.
Appalachian State University Human Performance Lab and Dole Nutrition Research Lab.
This study compared the acute effect of ingesting bananas (BAN) versus a 6% carbohydrate drink (CHO) on 75-km cycling performance and post-exercise inflammation, oxidative stress, and innate immune function using traditional and metabolomics-based profiling. Trained cyclists (N = 14) completed two 75-km cycling time trials (randomized, crossover) while ingesting BAN or CHO (0.2 g/kg carbohydrate every 15 min). Pre-, post-, and 1-h-post-exercise blood samples were analyzed for glucose, granulocyte (GR) and monocyte (MO) phagocytosis (PHAG) and oxidative burst activity, nine cytokines, F₂-isoprostanes, ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP), and metabolic profiles using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Blood glucose levels and performance did not differ between BAN and CHO (2.41±0.22, 2.36±0.19 h, P = 0.258). F₂-isoprostanes, FRAP, IL-10, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, TNFα, GR-PHAG, and MO-PHAG increased with exercise, with no trial differences except for higher levels during BAN for IL-10, IL-8, and FRAP (interaction effects, P = 0.003, 0.004, and 0.012). Of 103 metabolites detected, 56 had exercise time effects, and only one (dopamine) had a pattern of change that differed between BAN and CHO. Plots from the PLS-DA model visualized a distinct separation in global metabolic scores between time points [R²Y(cum) = 0.869, Q²(cum) = 0.766]. Of the top 15 metabolites, five were related to liver glutathione production, eight to carbohydrate, lipid, and amino acid metabolism, and two were tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. BAN and CHO ingestion during 75-km cycling resulted in similar performance, blood glucose, inflammation, oxidative stress, and innate immune levels. Aside from higher dopamine in BAN, shifts in metabolites following BAN and CHO 75-km cycling time trials indicated a similar pattern of heightened production of glutathione and utilization of fuel substrates in several pathways.