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Para-Doping in Sports: what is it?

Para Doping Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 1

Have you ever wondered why "winning at all costs" becomes the motto of some athletes? When you attend a stadium or a sport complex to support and cheer for the athletes or teams you like, you are not fully aware of the depth and the intensity of the competitions running on the fields. A sports competition is like war: to defeat your opponent, and you may use any tricks possible―legal or illegal, moral or immoral.

When a few centimeters, grams or seconds makes a huge difference―making someone a winner and others losers―it is then some would seek "winning at all costs". The spirits and principles which the Olympic Games and sports competitions were founded based on have faded away, losing their values over time.

After 27 years of working with athletes, I have discovered five reasons athletes may have to use substances or other methods to enhance their performance:

1) to become a champion―fame.

2) to gain economic benefits―money.

3) to make a name and revenue by coaches and trainers―profiteering.

4) to have chiseled features to brag about―pride.

5) to experiment only―curiosity.

The five types of doping in sports are drug-induced doping, soda doping, blood doping, gene doping Para Doping Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 2and para-doping. The term para-doping and the classification of para-doping were introduced to the world of sports by the author of this article in 2001, which is finding its way into sports.

What is para-doping?

Para-doping is the act of deliberately drugging someone in order to defeat or eliminate him or her from a sports competition. Incredible as it may seem, it is more common in sports than you think. It could be applied to an individual athlete or a team. In inhibitory form, an athlete or a team is fed certain substances to diminish athletic performance. For instance, they might be fed tranquilisers through their food or drinking water. In stimulatory para-doping, they are fed a prohibited substance to enhance their performance. This will lead to a positive doping test followed by years of banishment for a doping violation.

Direct Inhibitory Para-Doping:

This type of para-doping means to intentionally drug someone to decrease his or her athletic performance. Since an athlete acts directly for this purpose without telling others, it is called "direct".  

Indirect Inhibitory Para-Doping:Para Doping Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 3

It is to intentionally drug someone to decrease his or her athletic performance. An athlete is not directly involved in the act but it is others who execute the plan. As per our experience, this is the most common form of para-doping.  

Direct Stimulatory Para-Doping:

It is to intentionally feed someone a prohibited substance to make his or her doping test positive to eliminate him or her from the competition. Since an athlete acts directly for this purpose without telling others, it is called "direct". This is the most uncommon form of para-doping. What recently happened to Japanese kayakers is a typical example of this form of para-doping. You can read the story here.

Indirect Stimulatory Para-Doping:

It is to intentionally feed someone a prohibited substance to make his or her doping test positive to eliminate him or her from the competition. It is "indirect" because an athlete does not act directly or alone; others carry out the plan.

Abazar Habibinia, MD, DFN, CSDTT

Executive Director of The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition

Published on January 12, 2018

Biotin (Vitamin B7) Interferes With Thyroid Testing:

 

Biotin Thyroid Testing Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 1

If the lab results show that your thyroid function is out of whack, that could be because of the vitamin B7 (Biotin) you are taking. This is true and many health care professionals are not aware of that! 

Incredible as it may seem, biotin interferes with thyroid function tests in the lab. Also known as vitamin B7 and vitamin H, Biotin is a commonly used supplement mainly for hairs and nails. It is a water-soluble vitamin and is also prescribed in medicine for diabetic neuropathy, cradle cap, and several inherited metabolic disorders such as biotin–thiamine–responsive basal ganglia disease, biotinidase deficiency and disordered metabolism of mitochondria. For more information about biotin, click on Biotin (Vitamin B7).

How Does The Interaction Occur?

Biotin interferes with the lab techniques used to detect thyroid hormones, skewing test results. In fact, it may make the lab results show falsely an underactive or overactive thyroid, depending on which measuring technique has been used.

When measuring thyroid hormones, they use either competitive methods or non-competitive methods. Competitive methods are used to measure free T4 and total T3, and non-competitive methods are used to measure TSH. When taking biotin, if a competitive method is used, the thyroid test results may falsely show an overactive thyroid, and if a non-competitive method is used, the results may show falsely an underactive thyroid.  

Moreover, one of the thyroid function tests ordered by doctors is anti–thyrotropin antibody. Biotin interferes with detection of this antibody as well.

Lab Methods For Measuring Thyroid Hormones:

There is a wide range of analytical methods for measuring thyroid hormones. They include:

Biotin Thyroid Testing Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 2

1) Spectrophotometric method. 

2) Radioimmunoassay (RIA).

3) Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).

4) Fluorescence polarization immunoassay (FPIA).

5) Chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA).

6) High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and LC-mass-spectrometry (LC-MS).

What You Should Do?

If you are taking biotin or any biotin-containing products for some reasons and the blood test shows abnormal thyroid function, it is suggested that you discontinue taking biotin and repeat the thyroid testing few days later. Since biotin is a water-soluble vitamin, it should be out of your body within the next 72 hours after you stop taking it, which will normalize the thyroid function tests. However, to be on cautious side, we recommend you repeat the thyroid testing in 7-10 day in order to avoid unnecessary thyroid medications.

Abazar Habibinia, MD, DFN, CSDTT

Executive Director of The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition

Published on October 17, 2017

Disadvantages of Eating Raw Egg Whites:

Raw Egg white Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 1It is very common in the world of fitness to eat many egg whites. Especially bodybuilders eat many egg whites and sometimes they eat it raw. We have witnessed the athletes who used to have about 40 egg whites a day!

The question we get a lot is: if one egg white contains about 3-4 grams of protein, why do some athletes eat many of them? The answer is very simple: it is because of its biologic value which is 100. In fact, the biologic value of an egg is 100 and other proteins are compared with that of an egg. The higher the biologic value, the better the quality.

Disadvantages of eating raw egg whites:

1) The biggest drawback of eating raw egg white (raw egg) is that it might be contaminated with few bacteria with Salmonella being the most common one.

2) Egg white contains a protein called "Avidin". This protein has the ability to bind biotin (vitamin B7; vitamin H) and blocks its absorption. So, having many raw egg whites for a long time may lead to vitamin B7 deficiency. Interestingly, when it is cooked, Avidin loses the ability to bind biotin. As about the natural function of Avidin in egg, it has been hypothesized that Avidin acts as an inhibitor of bacterial growth by binding vitamin B7 which bacteria may need it to grow!

Abazar Habibinia, MD, DFN

Executive Director of The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition

Published on October 04, 2017

What Is A Crash Diet?

Crash diet Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 1Some people like to have a "beach body". Some people want chiselled abs. And some want their love handles to be melted away. Interestingly, most of them expect a quick fix towards their goals.

A genuine fat loss requires intellectually customized diets and carefully designed exercise plans. The growing rate of obesity around the world has made it a global challenge. This imposes a huge cost on health care systems through the consequences it gives birth to.

Weight loss seekers should keep in mind that there is no silver bullet to their problems. A sustainable weight loss requires setting realistic goals, scientific dietary changes, behavioral modifications and biochemical manipulations of the body.

The fact that the human body is very intricate and beautiful in its complex delicacy makes weight loss difficult and challenging to many. An increase in the number of so-called "fitness gurus"―who lack the basic knowledge of physiology and biochemistry―the bombardment of junk science through social media, nutritional quackery, and the profiteering of supplement industries are the major factors driving the promotions of unhealthy weight loss―also known as a crash diet.

The criteria of a crash diet:Crash diet Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 4

Crash diet is also called "fad diet" or "diet cult". There is no consensus about the definition of a crash diet. In general, people think of a crash diet as losing large amounts of weight in a short period of time. The general public believes that a fad diet promises quick weight loss through what is usually an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. However, that is not the case.

As per definition of the CAASN (Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition), a crash diet has the following three criteria:

a) The person attempts to lose weight in a short period of time.

b) The total daily calorie count is less than 50% of that of BMR.

c) There is a decrease in muscle mass.

The speed by which you attempt to lose weight is an essential criterion for a crash diet. Generally if you are trying to lose more than 5 Ibs in a week, you meet the first criterion. You should bear in mind that "crash diet" and "quick weight loss" are two different concepts. Quick weight loss (also called rapid weight loss or sharp weight loss) is when you lose more than 3 Ibs in a week. In fact, every crash diet leads to a quick weight loss, but not every quick weight loss comes from a crash diet.

The second criterion to label a diet as a crash diet is the total amount of calories consumed. Overall, the total calories in a crash diet could be as low as 500 calories in a day. The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition defines a crash diet as when the total daily calories are less than 50% of that of BMR (basal metabolic rate). For example, if your BMR is 1268 calories and your total daily calories drops to below 634 calories, you meet the second criterion.

A decrease in muscle mass must also exist to define a crash diet. If your diet is very low in calories but your daily protein intake is high enough to save your muscle mass, you do not meet the third criterion. For instance, if you are a 45-year-old female with a body weight of 70 kg, then your BMR would be 1190 calories. If you go on a diet with 520 calories in a day, but your daily protein intake is 90 grams per day, you do not meet the third criterion because your protein intake is high enough to sustain your muscle mass.

What are some examples of crash diets?

Examples of crash diets include, but are not limited to: Crash diet Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition 2

Cabbage soup diet.

The air diet.

The caveman diet.

Chicken soup diet.

 Lemon juice diet.

Egg-grapefruit diet.

The fork diet.

Radish diet.

Master cleanse diet.

Skinny Asian diet.

Slim fast.

Juicing diet.

One of the consequences of a crash diet is yo-yo dieting or boomerang weight loss. We will write more about yo-yo dieting and boomerang weight loss soon.

Abazar Habibinia, MD, DFN

Executive Director of The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition

Published on August 17, 2017