Andrzej Pokrywka, Zbigniew Obmiński, Jadwiga Malczewska-Lenczowska, Zbigniew Fijatek, Ewa Turek-Lepa and Ryszard Grucza
Herbal and nutritional supplements are more and more popular in the western population. One of them is an extract of an exotic plant, named Tribulus terrestris (TT). TT is a component of several supplements that are available over-the-counter and widely recommended, generally as enhancers of human vitality. TT is touted as a testosterone booster and remedy for impaired erectile function; therefore, it is targeted at physically active men, including male athletes. Based on the scientific literature describing the results of clinical trials, this review attempted to verify information on marketing TT with particular reference to the needs of athletes. It was found that there are few reliable data on the usefulness of TT in competitive sport. In humans, a TT extract used alone without additional components does not improve androgenic status or physical performance among athletes. The results of a few studies have showed that the combination of TT with other pharmacological components increases testosterone levels, but it was not discovered which components of the mixture contributed to that effect. TT contains several organic compounds including alkaloids and steroidal glycosides, of which pharmacological action in humans is not completely explained. One anti-doping study reported an incident with a TT supplement contaminated by a banned steroid. Toxicological studies regarding TT have been carried out on animals only, however, one accidental poisoning of a man was described. The Australian Institute of Sport does not recommend athletes’ usage of TT. So far, the published data concerning TT do not provide strong evidence for either usefulness or safe usage in sport.
Wojciech Król, Ilona Jędrzejewska, Marcin Konopka, Krystyna Burkhard-Jagodzińska, Andrzej Klusiewicz, Andrzej Pokrywka, Jolanta Chwalbińska, Dariusz Sitkowski, Mirosław Dłużniewski, Artur Mamcarz and Wojciech Braksator
Enlargement of the left atrium is perceived as a part of athlete’s heart syndrome, despite the lack of evidence. So far, left atrial size has not been assessed in the context of exercise capacity. The hypothesis of the present study was that LA enlargement in athletes was physiological and fitness-related condition. In addition, we tried to assess the feasibility and normal values of left atrial strain parameters and their relationship with other signs of athlete’s heart. The study group consisted of 114 international-level rowers (17.5 ± 1.5 years old; 46.5% women). All participants underwent a cardio-pulmonary exercise test and resting transthoracic echocardiography. Beside standard echocardiographic measurements, two dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography was used to assess average peak atrial longitudinal strain, peak atrial contraction strain and early left atrial diastolic longitudinal strain. Mild, moderate and severe left atrial enlargement was present in 27.2°%, 11.4% and 4.4% athletes, respectively. There were no significant differences between subgroups with different range of left atrial enlargement in any of echocardiographic parameters of the left ventricle diastolic function, filling pressure or hypertrophy. A significant correlation was found between the left atrial volume index and maximal aerobic capacity (R > 0.3; p < 0.001). Left atrial strain parameters were independent of atrial size, left ventricle hypertrophy and left ventricle filling pressure. Decreased peak atrial longitudinal strain was observed in 4 individuals (3.5%). We concluded that LA enlargement was common in healthy, young athletes participating in endurance sport disciplines with a high level of static exertion and was strictly correlated with exercise capacity, therefore, could be perceived as another sign of athlete’s heart.