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Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Cardiac Stress During a Marathon Could be Associated with Dietary Intake During the Week Before the Race

  • Mielgo-Ayuso, Juan
  • Calleja-González, Julio
  • Refoyo, Ignacio
  • León-Guereño, Patxi
  • Cordova, Alfredo
  • Del Coso, Juan
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 25, 2020
DOI: 10.3390/nu12020316
PMID: 31991778
PMCID: PMC7071217
PubMed Central


Adequate food intake is important prior to endurance running competitions to facilitate adequate exercise intensity. However, no investigations have examined whether dietary intake could prevent exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) and cardiac stress (EICS). Thus, this study’s objective was to determine the associations between EIMD, EICS and endurance athlete diets one week before a marathon race. Sixty-nine male runners participated in this study. Food intake during the week prior to the race was collected through a seven-day weighed food record. Dietary intake on race day was also recorded. At the end of the marathon, blood samples were drawn to determine serum creatine kinase (CK) and myoglobin, and muscle–brain isoform creatine kinase (CK-MB), prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), cardiac troponin I (TNI), and cardiac troponin T (TNT) concentration as markers of EIMD and EICS, respectively. To determine the association between these variables, a stepwise regression analysis was carried out. The dependent variable was defined as EIMD or EICS and the independent variables were defined as the number of servings within each different food group. Results showed that the intake of meat during the previous week was positively associated with post-race CK (Standardized Coefficients (β) = 0.643; p < 0.01) and myoglobin (β = 0.698; p < 0.001). Vegetables were negatively associated the concentration of post-race CK (β = −0.482; p = 0.002). Butter and fatty meat were positively associated with NT-proBNP (β = 0.796; p < 0.001) and TNI (β = 0.396; p < 0.001) post-marathon values. However, fish intake was negatively associated with CK (β = −0.272; p = 0.042), TNI (β = −0.593; p < 0.001) and TNT (β = −0.640; p = 0.002) post-marathon concentration. Olive oil was negatively associated with TNI (β = −0.536; p < 0.001) and TNT (β = −0.415; p = 0.021) values. In conclusion, the consumption of meat, butter, and fatty meat might be associated with higher levels of EIMD and EICS. On the other hand, fish, vegetables, and olive oil might have a protective role against EIMD and EICS. The selection of an adequate diet before a marathon might help to reduce some of the acute burdens associated with marathon races.

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