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hellish post-ride depression(53 posts)

hellish post-ride depressionscottfree
Sep 24, 2001 5:53 AM
Anyone else ever have one after a ride where you have significantly pushed yourself past your normal limits?
Sep 24, 2001 6:02 AM
Bonking can cause feelings of depression. It's hit me many times.

Otherwise, I've noticed depression when performing below my expectations. Just got to move on. Often it means you need rest. Go for some light, fun rides for a week.

Agree, that is me today. nmMB1
Sep 24, 2001 6:10 AM
Sep 24, 2001 6:24 AM
I wondered about bonk, or maybe pre-bonk. Serious glycogen depletion but short of full-on bonk. It lasted about five or six hours.
sure, bonk is not all or nothingDog
Sep 24, 2001 6:40 AM
I've experienced many levels of bonk, from a mild discomfort to nearly falling off the bike. From what I've read, your brain needs glycogen (glucose?) to function properly. When your blood becomes depleted, you feel depression, as that is how your brain works when starved for sugar. There's also something about burning up protein that releases a chemical that causes a depressed feeling, too. Maybe someone here can enlighten us on the specifics.

blood glucose levelspeloton
Sep 24, 2001 8:32 AM
Dog's right, your brain is fueled by glucose from the bloodstream. The brain also needs a constant supply from the blood, as the brain can not store glucose it's self. Normal levels of blood glucose range from 70-110 ml/dl. When the levels of glucose start to get too low for the brain to function adequately, the brain tells the body to stop doing whatever it is doing that is taking up so much glucose so that the brain can have an adequate supply coming to it through the blood. The brain's supply of glucose always takes precedence over the body's for survival reasons. These low glucose levels in the blood stream are what cause a bonk in order to keep the brain fueled with glucose. Feelings of confusion and depression are common is these situations. Your brain is only happy when it has a steady, adequate supply of glucose.
After my first marathonnee Spoke Wrench
Sep 24, 2001 6:17 AM
I experienced a period of depression. Fortunately, at the time I had a running buddy/advisor who told me it was normal. Set yourself a new goal and start working toward it.
Post-Bonk DepressionJon
Sep 24, 2001 7:30 AM
I'm getting old and my memory's fading! But the protein-depression connection has to do with falling
tryptophan levels in the brain, I believe, which in turn reduces serotonin levels. At any rate both
falling glucose levels and altered brain chemistry due to hormonal disruption produce the depression.
I think anyone who has seriously overreached has experienced this. The cure? Rest, refueling, and
a short break from your training routine.
Post-Bonk Depressionpeloton
Sep 24, 2001 8:38 AM
Rest is so important after a bonk. It will take your liver three or four days of complete rest to build it's gylcogen stores back up to normal levels.

I've been reading far too much recently, and my brain is fryed. I do believe that Jon is right on the money though with his explaination of the protein-depression connection. I'm actually procrastinating from studying skeletal muscle biochemistry right now. I think it's time to go procrastinate on my bike.....
nutrition and supplements helpharlett
Sep 24, 2001 1:26 PM
jon.this memory fading thing isn't your way out of that X on the "post-solicitation agreement" is it?..*S*

whether it be a marathon or a hard day of bicycling or skiing I follow certain nutrition rules to try and limit my exposure to endurance related fatigue and depression.

some of the things I've found to work for me, at the moment, are:

supplements of choline (a neurotransmitter precursor depleted with marathon-like efforts and the thinking is that this is one of the causes of the depression following high endurance efforts)

supplements of vitamins E and B 12 and B 6(depletion of the water soluble B vitamins directly interfere with endurance performance and also directly impedes the storage of available liver glycogen)

gingko biloba (to help reduce free radical build up and fatigue)

no alcohol before or after (before.. it depresses metabolic endocrine responses. stresses the liver, which is already stressed from high volume oxygen-carbohydrate metabolism.)

I avoid the use of simple sugars such as sucrose, fructose, or any type of high fructose
corn-syrup solids before or during

for fuel I use long-chain carbohydrates, fats and fiber from plant sources, whole complete proteins from vegetarian sources.

these and a few other things have helped me get through high endurance efforts with minimal amounts of depression and fatigue.. not always though. there are the times I am also lost in the effort and just go beyond my means

after a intense or prolonged endurance effort I always take the next few days easy and use supplements consisting of multiple anti-oxidant free-radical scavengers to help recover in the shortest possible time.
nutrition and supplements helpharlett
Sep 24, 2001 8:10 PM
i forgot to mention supplementing vitamin B2 and its importance in long endurance efforts by women. we used it faster than males and it is important because it assists in the breakdown of carbs and fats. we can get enough of it for most exercise from low fat dairy, nonfat yogurt, bread and other grains. i do use a supplement when I do multi-day bicycling or marathons.

jon..your right about tryptophan but the fatigue is from more serotonin... when glycogen stores run low, fatty acids (released from fat cells) become a primary energy source. Fatty acids require a special carrier to take them through the bloodstream. tryptophan, an amino acid that the brain converts to serotonin, rides this carrier. during endurance efforts increasing numbers of fatty acids bump tryptophan off the carrier. these free floating tryptophans enter the brain (it has a biochemical preference to do this) where the brain converts it to serotonin. this increase in serotonin levels is what makes you feel I am now.*S*
nutrition and supplements helpharlett
Sep 25, 2001 12:04 AM
it occurred to me that the greatest value of our bikes is that they lead us to deeper enquiry. they carry us to new places within ourselves. we learn very real things about our internal physical functions. they expose the wonderous workings of our body/mind while connecting us in the outer world. they take us there under our own power at our own pace. bicycles become our teachers and healers and friends. they guide us through the greater world by prompting us with questions and encouragement. bicycles motivate us through the realms of science, sociology and spirituality whether carrying us to the corner or around the world.
all we have to do is ride them.
What "X"?Jon
Sep 25, 2001 10:37 AM
Harlett, your guile and trickery will never triumph over my senility! Seriously, I'd like more information on
the role of choline. Can you refer me to any research or other info. on the web? Is the effect of choline
supplementation noticeable in your own experience? If you wish e-mail me at Jon53021@telusplanet.

Thanks for the clarification of the tryptophan-serotonin sequence. I was too lazy to go check my
physiology text, and since I don't use this information in my working life the details begin to fade. Low
levels of BCAAs are also thought to contribute to central fatigue, but the research is kind of
ambivalent in that supplementation produces no clear positive effect. A lot of the lab research going
on seems to have questionable predictive value.

I sure agree with you on the stimulus for enquiry that athletic endeavors provoke. Howev er, I think
that is heavily dependent on one's temperament. I totally faked my way through college bio and chem,
then in my fifties became a complete ex. phys. junkie. Go figure. Reflecting on the ironic consequences
of reflection on the body-mind matrix, is it possible that a Zenlike focus on chemical reductionism can
produce a perverse sort of breakthrough into a more metaphysical awareness (*S*)? Sort of a
"unity of opposites." See what age and senility can do to one?
Sep 25, 2001 12:27 PM
Choline is a B vitamin, and an essential nutrient. The body can produce choline out of the amino acid methionine. B12 and folic acid are needed by the body in order to metabolize choline. Choline has it uses in virtually every system in the body, and it is part of the cell membrane's make-up. Choline is also a part of lipid transport in the body. The main performance gain used to sell choline in supplements is that it can help with mental clarity and performance. It is supposed to help the brain by being a component of the nuerotransmitter acetylcholine which helps with nerve signals. Choline is found in a variety of foods, including egg yolks, legumes, peanuts, and meats. The RDA for choline is 425 mg/day for woman, and 550 mg/day for men. The average American diet supplies more than this amount.

Choline has been shown to be an aid to performance in events like marathon running and long distance cycling in some studies. Some researchers have stated that this could be due to a diet that was already insufficient in choline with the athletes in the study. Choline can be low in a high carbohydrate diet, especially when the person is using a lot of it during exercise. Doses over 5 grams have had side effects such as nasea and other stomach ailments. Doses of less than 5 grams have had no immediate negative effects.

Sorry Jon, I don't have any web sites to research this. I've experimented with choline myself, and personally didn't find that it did anything for me. Others may have different results, but I would suspect that this is placebo effect or a case of supplement curing diet deficiency. Like many supplements, food is probably adequate for answering all our needs here. A well balanced, healthy diet is the best supplement in the world.
Sep 25, 2001 1:46 PM
peleton...knowledge should be a little deeper and more self-actualized than a copy and paste. choline supplements are widely used by marathoners for good reason.
did your copy and paste source tell you when in an endurance effort there is a significant fall in plasma choline? the consequences of this drop? what the supplement of 2 g of choline prior to an endurance effort does for you? what studies have been done with swimmers and marathoners that showed an improved performance?
I beg to differ with you on the value of supplements in long endurance efforts. you would be foolish not to supplement your bodies needs under such stress. I prefer to help my body perform to it's best and in a way that gets me through the effort with the least fatigue, pain, and need for recovery. maybe you're a "superman" but most of us aren't.

jon..the words guile and trickery are expressly forbidden for use in describing my motivations in the "post-solicitation agreement"..*S*..choline has helped me and some newer studies are indicating their help in the area of post-effort depression.I'll email you some web-sites and journal articles. I owe you an email anyway and will respond to the first one too.
Come on, nowpeloton
Sep 25, 2001 3:43 PM
No need to get defensive.

I'm sorry if I kept my post a little too dry for you, and I was in no way trying to undermine anything you said. My thinking is this. The average American diet supplies roughly 400-900 mg/day of choline. My body can manufacture choline from methionine, an amino acid. It isn't known if the body can manufacture enough choline from methionine to sustain the body without deficiiency, so I would agree that some must be taken in through food sources. The RDA for a male is 550 mg/day. An athlete would surely need more than this amount due to stresses placed on the body from exercise. I also know that athletes tend to eat more than the average person so the amount taken in from food should also be on the high side. It is hard to quanitfy exactly how much one person would need. I strongly feel though that adequate amounts of nutrients like Choline, or other vitamins and minerals, can be taken in through a balanced, un-supplemented diet. Now if adequate amounts aren't being supplied by the diet, then the diet needs to be modified and not supplemented.

Like I said, I too have experiemented with choline. I personally didn't feel, or could measure in quantitative terms a difference in performance. Maybe this is because my diet contains an adequate amount of choline, or maybe there was another variable involved. I can tell you it isn't the superman theory, or I would still be playing my sport and not coaching.

I am very wary of supplements. There are a variety of things on the shelf in a lot of health food type stores that don't have enough testing done on them to prove anything. Remember over the past few years how there have been quite a few nanladrone positives in a variety of sports? Nanladrone is a grade B anabolic. There are others that avoid detection better, and do more. Some of these positives were traced back to contaiminated supplements (creatine, in the cases I am thinking of). There are lots of other products that contain banned substances as well, yet you can get them at the mall. I CRINGE when I see an athlete with the new supplement de jour. Anyway, I'm digressing here. Point is that even things that are good for us, vitamins and minerals have a window in which they are most effective. Too little, and we suffer. Too much and we can reach toxicity. By consuming a vitamin in your diet, and supplementing it you risk pushing past the window your body can use and there can be too much of said substance. Who knows what this will do to you in the long run. If diet is adequate, then supplementation is just too much of a good thing.
Supplementation is just a crutch for a poor diet pushed on us by large coorperations. I just don't buy that with a balanced diet, and no other variables (illness, etc.) that it is needed.

Anyway, like I said, not to undermine you. What do I know anyway?
Let's Play Nice Boys and Girls!Jon
Sep 25, 2001 4:10 PM
At any rate, each of you addressed some issues I was thinking about. 1) Quite often supplementation
in studies is done with a cohort that is deficient, hence noted improvements. 2) Precursors often
are not passed through the biochemical chain to synthesize the end substance, hormonal or otherwise.
Cases in point are androstendione and DHEA supplementation. I figured that choline supplementation
had something to do with acetylcholine replenishment. 3) Very often clinical studies produce
mixed results, suggesting there may be other mediating but not understood factors. A very
good example of this is the questionable predictive value of the various current fatigue models. At
any rate, thank you both for your input. I'll look forward to your info. Harlett. BTW, synonyms in the
legal profession for guile and treachery are "astuteness" and "diligence". One other stray thought
here, the serotonin connection I was thinking of is that depression is associated with low levels
of serotonin in the brain, and tryptophan affects these levels, which, as you pointed out, are in turn
affected by glucose, fat, and protein metabolism.

Anyway, I'm not depressed, but I'm always interested in legally enhancing performance, preventing
bonking, and in general feeling more like a stud!
Good research vs. Bad researchpeloton
Sep 25, 2001 7:35 PM
One of the things that I find dubious about research availible on supplementation is the quality of such findings. Research is a funny thing, and statistics can be twisted to say a lot of different things. When it comes to supplements the research is often paid for by the manufacturer of the substance, and so the researchers have a vested interest to find what the funder of the research wants. There's good research, and there is bad research. There are a lot of variables in research that have to be as controlled as possible. Were the marathoners deficient in choline to begin with? What did they do to train? How were these runners chosen to be sampled? There are a lot of variables. I don't think that there is enough research to honestly say a lot of supplements do what they say they do. There also isn't a lot of research that shows taking over four times the RDA of choline isn't going to have a negative effect on a person. Even water can be toxic in large enough doses. It makes me wonder anyway.

Below I've posted a funny bunch of research statistics that show pickles are bad for you, and probably will kill you. I think of this every time someone claims something else will boost my performance, and has 'research' to back it up.

Look at the Pickle that the pickle people have put you in!

Pickles will kill you. Every pickle you eat brings you nearer to death. Amazingly, the thinking man has failed to grasp the significance of the term "in a pickle". Although leading horticulturists have long said that Cucamis Sativus possesses Indehiscent Pepto, the pickle industry continues to expand.

Pickles are associated with all the major diseases of the body. Eating them breeds wars and Communism. They can be related to most airline tragedies. Auto accidents are caused by pickles. There exists a positive relationship between crime waves and consumption of this fruit of the curcubit family. For example:

* Nearly all sick people have eaten pickles; therefore, the effects are obviously cumulative.
* Of all the people who die from cancer, 99% have eaten pickles.
* 100% of all soldiers have eaten pickles; therefore, pickles must be related to wars.
* 98.8% of all Communist sympathizers have eaten pickles.
* 99.7% of all the people involved in the air and auto accidents ate pickles within 14 days preceding the tragedy.
* 93.1% of all juvenile delinquents come from homes where pickles are served frequently.

Evidence points to some startling long term effects of pickle eating:

Of all the people born in 1865 who later dined on pickles, there has been a 100% mortality rate.

All pickle eaters born between 1890 and 1900 have wrinkled skin, brittle bones, have lost most of their teeth and are afflicted by failing eyesight... if the ills that come from eating pickles have not already resulted in their death.

Even more convincing is the report from a noted team of medical specialists. They found that rats which were force-fed with 20 pounds of pickles per day developed bulging abdomens. It was further noted that the rat's appetites for wholesome food was completely destroyed.

I'll drop it now. :)
some reading for youharlett
Sep 25, 2001 8:04 PM
peloton..what i was reacting to was your line.." but I would suspect that this is placebo effect or a case of supplement curing diet deficiency".if you make a statement like that you should have some knowledge of the direct's not defensive to expect accurate information.

as far as supplementation goes, your last line in the next post..." Supplementation is just a crutch for a poor diet pushed on us by large coorperations. I just don't buy that with a balanced diet, and no other variables (illness, etc.) that it is needed." . says to me that there isn't much room in your mind to debate the issue.i try to always keep my mind open..that's how i continue to learn. since you don't seem to have much information on choline supplementing you may wish to look at some of the studies below.. btw they are all done by professors with no connection to "large corporations"

jon.i'm always a nice girl!!!!! here is some info for you.

dr.richard j.wurtman of the department of brain and cognitive sciences at m.i.t. (this is also where the main body of research on choline supplements and it's effect on endurance related depression is going on) laid the groundwork for the studies of choline supplementing in these two studies

Conlay LA, Wurtman RJ, Blusztajn JK, Covielia IJ, Maher TJ, Evoniuk GE. Decreased plasma choline concentrations in marathon runners . NEM 1986;175:89

Wurtman RJ. Effects of dietary amino acids, carbohydrates and choline neurotransmitter synthesis. Mt Sinai J Med 1988;55(1):75-86.

jon.choline is involved in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, your question about how precursors are passed through the biochemical chain and wondering if that applied to supplements of choline is answered in this study

Klein J, Koppen A, Loffelholz K. Small rises in plasma choline reverse the negative ateriovenous difference of brain choline. J Neurochem. 1999 55:1231-1236.

some of the studies that have further laid the foundation for todays work on choline supplements and it's positive effects are.

Sandage BW, Jr., Sabounjian RN, White R, Wurtman RJ. Choline citrate
enhances athletic performance. Physiologist. 1992; 35:236a.

von Allworden HN, Horn S, Kahl J, Feldheim W. The influence of lecithin
on plasma choline concentrations in triathletes and adolescent runners during
exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1993; 67:87-91.

Coates R, Pascetta A.The effect of choline on fatigue, energy levels, and
performance in college swimmers. Presented at: Nutrition and Physical Activity
to Optimize Performance and Well-being; Thursday, Apr 6, 1995; Atlanta, GA.

Pascetta A, Fogel K, Herenda G, Blaney B, Baker BJ, Sullivan F. The effect
of choline on fatigue and energy levels in college basketball players. Presented at:
Nutrition and Physical Activity to Optimize Performance and Well-being;
Thursday, Apr 6,1995; Atlanta, GA.

Sandage BW, Jr., Sabounjian LA, Wurtman RJ. Choline compounds and
performance in humans. Presented at: NIH Workshop on the Role of Dietary
Supplements for Physically Active People; Monday, Jun 3, 1996; Bethesda, MD.

Pascetta A, Fogel K, Herenda G, Blaney B, Baker BJ, Sullivan F. The effect
of choline on fatigue and energy levels in college basketball players. Presented at:
Nutrition and Physical Activity to Optimize Performance and Well-being;
Thursday, Apr 6,1995; Atlanta, GA.

Spector SA, Jackman MR, Sabounjian A, Sakkas C, Landers DM, Willis
WT. Effect of choline supplementation on fatigue in trained cyclists. Med Sci
Sports Exer. 1995; 27:668-673.

Warber JP, Patton JF, Tharion WJ et al.The effects of choline
supplementation on physical and mental performance in elite army rangers.
Proceedings of the 1996 International Pre-olympic Scientific Congress; July

Kanter MM, et al. Antioxidants, carnitine, and choline as putative ergogenic aids. Int J
Sport Nutr 1999

R.A., Jenden, D.J., Allman-Farinelli, M.A., and Swendseid, M.E.
1999. choline supplementation and depression in cyclists. J. Nutr. 129:712-717.

professor steven zeisel of the department of nutrition, at the university of north carolina has been doing research on choline supplementation and some of his papers are on the unc web site.

professor robert hsiu-ping chow of the department of physiology and biophysics at university of southern california is working in conjunction with m.i.t. on the studies concerning endurance induced depression and choline supplements.
You ARE a Nice Girl!Jon
Sep 25, 2001 8:31 PM
Thanks for the references. When I have time I'll try to look some of them up on the web. Hope there
are some abstracts available. One question for you, have the researched results on performance and
depression been consistent with respect to choline supplementation?

BTW, noticed you didn't sucker for the philosophical red herring a couple of posts up. Not only are
you a nice girl, you're a clever girl too.

Peleton, you are right about an awful lot of the published results on supplementation. A classic case in
point was the research that Richard Ivy did with respect to the 4:1 ratio of CHO/Protein recovery nutrition.
First of all an arithmetical error was made in calculating the CHO caloric intake vs. CHO/Protein
intake,and secondly, when caloric intake was equalized the high caloric CHO recovery diet produced
faster glycogen reloading in the first six hours than the CHO/protein diet. At 24 hrs. rates of recovery
were equal. Further, attempted replication of Ivy's research did not bear out consistent results. Yet
that has not deterred Ed Burke from marketing Endurox, nor the enthusiasm of many cyclists and
triathletes from buying it. So as usual, it's caveat emptor.
Sep 26, 2001 12:41 AM
in the agreement both nice and clever are permissible adjectives.*S* i will talk to robert chow in the next few days about what the research is showing at the moment and get that to regards to the references i posted, you should be able to go to the john w scott health sciences library reference desk at the university of alberta and ask for a interlibrary loan request for all of the abstracts i gave libraries are wonderful places..
published results and applicationpeloton
Sep 26, 2001 10:36 AM
I question the research because there is so much research out there of poor quality. The example that you stated is a good one, and Dr. Ed Burke is certainly a very smart man in many areas. One could point out so many flawed studies. Look at saccrarine, the artificial sweetner that was reported to cause brain tumors. Those poor mice recieved an equvilent dose in human terms as drinking four cases of Tab a day for the rest of one's life. That flawed study ruined that artifical sweetner though, even with such an obvious design flaw. My theory is to question first, believe second. When I was an athlete I actually had supplements given to me that are now illegal with some pretty bad discoveries made about them since. Now being on the other end of the spectum, I don't want to do the same thing. I need more proof before I will act and put anyone's long term health in danger. It's not that my mind couldn't be changed, I just need hard proof. I just feel everyone should be as careful when it comes to taking something into their body. To each their own though.
some reading for youpeloton
Sep 26, 2001 10:25 AM
Harlett. Just FYI. I do have knowledge of the direct subject. I spend a lot of time reading on all aspects of sport science as it is my business to make sure my athletes are as well taken care of and prepared as they can be. I too have been educated at the post grad level on the subjects of exercise science and kinesiology. Have you done research on this? Do you work in the field (or was it pop culture)? I have, and I do. I do feel that there are situations where supplementation has it's place. Perhaps iron at altitude, or b12 for a vegan, and some other situations. I have not seen any evidence that suggests that supplementation should be part of day to day life. We don't know the long term effects, or have enough evidence that many supplements are as good as they say that they are. What will it do to the person in twenty years? Remember we used to prescribe steroids to our athletes not too long ago. Blood boosting was part of our national cycling team's program in the eighties, almost very openly. I just feel that there needs to be more research in this area. I'll look over some of your readings for myself, but we should all question their research techniques and the ulitmate validity before we believe everything we read. That was point with the pickle research. Stats can say a lot, but it often isn't the total picture. This is why research should be questioned for validity. Knowledge must be questioned to be owned and believed.

One should be very careful when playing chemist with their body. Before I give something to an athlete, I need to know that I am doing what is best for them in the long term. My speptical view of many supplements is based on this need to know. I really feel that you have made up your mind, and so that's fine for you. Just don't act like I don't have a clue because you read some research that you picked to confirm what you wanted to hear. I just have not seen enough quantitative facts at this point that back up a lot of what has been said on a variety of supplments.

Anyway, I'm done here. I only question things because I don't believe that anyone has the answer to this one. Anyone who does claim to have the definitive answer to supplements is a liar, or just a fool. One has to ask the questions of 'why' and 'how', or failure is just ahead.
some thoughts for youharlett
Sep 26, 2001 11:31 AM
i don't see where i used the word definitive.i take choline supplements when i do marathons and double centuries or beyond because numerous blood tests before and after such efforts have given me a good look at what my body is using and depleting. i use academic studies as we all see what direction the thinking on particular subjects is going. studies are nothing more than that..before i use a supplement i have carefully looked at what my body is using and how i can help it perform better. in my initial post i talked about only 5 supplements that i use and that is when i'm doing intensive and strenuous long endurance efforts. the vitamin e is only used when I have premenstrual tension..i am hardly a supplement junkie.and each one of those supplements that i do take have been carefully thought out with input from a number of knowledgeable people. i do take my body and how it performs seriously. i have no need to argue for the sake of arguing about these things. my posts on this matter were to give people a look at what I use to help me lessen the fatigue and need for recovery from long endurance efforts. jon continued the post with some questions that i responded to. that is my idea of the purpose of boards like share ideas and knowledge. questioning is a good thing.the fault i was finding in your posts was it seemed you weren't..i hope your athletes gain both strength of mind and body from you..

btw.I promise never to question your ability to understand things like the combining of the visual language of narrative cinema with the interactive potential and database structures of new medias...
good luckpeloton
Sep 26, 2001 2:34 PM
I'm obviously a moron. You are right, and I will never try to share a different opinion unless it agrees with yours.

good luckharlett
Sep 26, 2001 6:19 PM
obviously your not a complete moron..that post is in the same vein as the line "come on, now. no need to get defensive"...i read each of your posts very carefully(you made some good points in some of them).think about what was just accomplished in this long side thread.i presented myself as someone who is using choline as a supplement and was more than willing to share information on it's use and my experiences. in one of your posts you said."My theory is to question first, believe second.".. in which of your posts did you ask a single question of me about why I was using it or what i thought of it. i eagerly responded to jon because he was interested in the subject of choline supplementing and he engaged me to get more information about it. i gave him a number of studies to look at so he could have more information to help him decide about the matter. whether jon agrees with me on it's usefulness is none of my concern. i simply gave him some information..what studies about choline supplementing (pro or con)did you contributed to this conversation?. if you would have wanted to discuss choline supplementation i would have enjoyed the exchange. if you would have presented something that said it was dangerous believe me you would have had my complete attention. this was not about whether you and i agree on something.---that is sooooooo not the point...

Now My Curiosity Is Really ArousedJon
Sep 26, 2001 7:05 PM
First of all, I'd like to thank you both for participating in the thread, although I sure as heck didn't
intend to promote any arguments. You are both intelligent respondents, and I haveand do enjoy
your posts. Although I don't have any graduate degrees I do read fairly extensively and very critically.
I also evaluate both nutritional and training information pretty judiciously in practice.

That said, what is it exactly that you do Peleton? Are you a professional coach? Which sports? Some
of your answers with respect to strength training especially have been really well balanced and

Harlett, although I'm not a supplement junkie, aside from antioxidants, the choline issue interests
me due to the effect heavy training, particularly at the end of a microcycle, has on mood. As well,
all the mechanisms involved in central fatigue are not really very well understood. So I'm going
to do some further reading. Thanks so much for the info. Keep me posted on any updated information.

Now you two elegant and brainy people, GO GET ON YOUR BIKES AND RIDE!
view on supplementsDog
Sep 27, 2001 7:52 AM
It is extremely difficult, in my view, to tell if supplements work.

First, I rarely trust the studies reported. Unless they are independent and confirmed by additional studies, I rarely give them much credence. Studies and reports by manufacturers I'd think are nearly worthless, as they are self serving and biased by their very nature. Have you ever read a manufacturer's study that said the product did not work?

Some studies are, in fact, verified and reliable. For example, studies concerning carbohydrate supplementation, sodium and potassium, sodium phosphate, are independently verified in many studies. Those I accept.

Yet, when we hear of something new that might help, we WANT to believe that it will. Nearly all of us who compete or might find a ride more comfortable by use of some harmless product will likely consider it. We don't want to be chumps, that is, those who are left behind while all those "in the know" speed ahead due to some supplement. This almost forces some of us to buy products like Endurox, Cytomax, E-Cap supplements, etc. If not harmful or grossly expensive, we'll give it a shot.

But, even if we do try something, how do we know if it worked (or whether a good result was caused by something else)? Aren't product endorsements nothing more than someone saying, "I used this, and I rode well"? There may well be no connection whatsoever between the riding well and the product.

Yet, still, we don't want to take the risk of not using something if it *might* help. The dilemma.

I've tried supplementation of choline in lecithin. One of the side effects ascribed to it in the literature is a feeling of itching, as the substance apparently enhances nerve activity. While better nerve activity is certainly helpful if your muscles need help, I found that I became very sensitive to pressure and pain, and very fidgety on the bike. Never could get comfortable. I couldn't ascribe this to anything else. Was I faster? No. Did I feel better? No. I felt worse. I could not associate these sensations with anything else.

Now, maybe if someone were choline deficient, then it might help. Did nothing for me.

Purely anecdotal, but for what it's worth.

view on supplementsJon
Sep 27, 2001 8:26 AM
Interesting comments, Doug. And I agree completely. But I always check things out, because once
in awhile you do come across something that's helpful. With respect to the choline supplementation
one of my questions will be is this product useful as a recovery supplement following particularly
heavy training sessions? The sodium phosphate issue is another case in point. I supplemented
with it twice this season prior to targeted time trials. The effect? I did ride faster. But I also had
incorporated high intensity 30-sec. sprint intervals into my training program 21 days prior to both
events, as a result of some reported research data. As you mentioned, I'm left with the quandary, which
alteration produced the effect? Or did they both? Or was my horoscope just right? Additionally,
of the five or six studies that have been done with sodium phosphate, the results were definitely
mixed. Only two studies actually confirmed the 8 - 12% increase in VO2 max and faster time
trial times. The other studies failed to replicate those results, or provided ambivalent data. So the
search for the holy grail of legal performance-in-a-bottle goes on. But like all wannabes, I keep
Now My Curiosity Is Really Arousedpeloton
Sep 27, 2001 12:51 PM
yeah, I'm a professional coach. ski racing. I am overworked and tired right now, and I apologize for snapping a bit back there. I try to stay pretty civil on this board, as I have been here as long as the forum has been. I took some of the comments as condesending and dismissive in a passive aggressive sort of way, meant that way or not. I'm also researching some biomechanical causes for a sport specific injury right now, and am critical of research that isn't done well so you can imagine how I operate when trying to find answers. I take my job seriously, personally, and just want what is best for my athletes. Anyway, I'm tired and I need to go get some exercise so I'll just aoplogize to any of the regulars for any of my comments that came off as rude.

Maybe I could use some choline to pick me up. Or mabe the pickles are just catching up to me.
It's The PicklesJon
Sep 27, 2001 2:38 PM
Skiing is my 2nd sport! In the winter I instruct at a local hill here in Edmonton on the weekends. I also
am an acquaintance of Dave Irwin. You might be interested to know that Dave is up and about from
his near fatal crash last winter, is working like hell to reprogram his brain, and like the fool he is, plans
to return to racing. I hope someone with better judgement prevails on him. If he falls again, it'll most
likely be fatal according to the doctors. Haven't heard any current news on Bill Johnson, have you?
Are you coaching at the elite level? University? etc.

Neither you nor Harlett needs to apologize to me. We all, me included, get competitive with our
knowledge. I'm in senior management, and in my younger days was famous for my competitive,
hard-driving style and intellectual arrogance. Now that I'm old and not so bold I probably sublimate
a lot of that through my cycling.

Only one other comment on your ski coaching: if you're not Austrian, you should be! All others need
not apply, or so it seems. Too bad about Maier, huh? Later.
It's The Picklespeloton
Sep 27, 2001 3:23 PM
From what I have heard, Bill is at home and in rehabilitation. It's going to be a long road, but he says that he will ski again. I had heard that Dave was doing well. I hadn't heard that he was planning on racing again. I guess you need to do what you love, but I know a few guys who have had careers ended by injuries of the like. I'm pretty disappointed about Hermann. Ski racing will be less exciting this year without him around. He really has brought out the best in everyone the past few years. I really hope he is able to come back as strong as before. The Austrians are pretty dominate, what else can you say? Schiferer should be healthy for this year though. That guy is a beast. Squats 455 over 10 times.
Sep 27, 2001 8:15 AM
peloton put in his place... girls-1, boys-0.
Sep 27, 2001 2:24 PM
hern---that is both a petulant remark and again----soooo not the point
Harlett, I Found A Good Summary of the Research...Jon
Sep 27, 2001 8:22 PM
and some good practical recommendations in the archives of Peak Performance Online, an endurance
sport research newsletter I get. If you're interested the archived article is available to all at
encyc/0088.htm Your man, Steve Zeisel at UNC only recommends supplementation for marathon type
events lasting longer than two hours. Richard Wurtman from MIT, as you may already know, markets a
product called Boston Sport Supplement which is a CHO, electrolyte, and choline concoction. BTW I couldn't
find the referenced articles in the research section of UNC's website.

The PPOnline article is by Owen Anderson, who is a highly respected exercise physiologist. His summaries
are invariably well researched, well balanced, and prudent. My take on what I read is that this is not an
everyday sort of substance to be taking, but may, if one can tolerate the GI side effects, help in very long
endurance events. Although plasma choline levels fall precipitously after about three hours, but jump
substantially with supplementation, the performance effects apparently have been mixed from study to study.
As usual, experimental design presents some problems in some of the studies. Thanks for the heads up.
Any other practical info or your own anecdotal experience would be welcome. I think you still have my e-mail
Good article.david
Sep 28, 2001 9:11 AM
What exactly is choline? It's a vitamin-like compound (in fact,
some nutritionists have contended that it is a vitamin) which is an
essential part of the human diet. Without it, no cell in the human
body could function normally.

And without an adequate supply of it, runners can not possibly
reach their potential in the marathon, according to some exercise
scientists. That contention is based on the fact that choline is
used by nerve cells to manufacture a closely related chemical
called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine allows nerve cells to
communicate with each other; if there were no acetylcholine in
your brain, you wouldn't remember who you were, let alone find
your way to the starting lines of your races. However, the key
point to remember about acetylcholine is that no leg-muscle cell in
your body could take part in the act of running unless it was 'told'
to do so by acetylcholine.

You see, your leg muscles don't have a mind of their own. They
would lie around in your legs like useless straps of leather unless
they were commanded to contract and push you toward the finish
line by their 'big brothers,' the nerve cells. And how do nerves tell
muscles what to do? They 'push' small quantities of acetycholine
across small spaces called neuromuscular junctions. When
enough acetylcholine attaches itself to the outer surface of a
muscle cell, the muscle cell becomes 'excited enough' to contract.

When you run, hundreds of nerve cells issue their acetylcholine
commands to an even larger number of leg-muscle cells, forcing
them to work hard to keep you going. If you ran out of
acetylcholine, your muscles would cease functioning, and you
would stop dead in your tracks, even if your muscle cells were still
rich in carbohydrate, enzymes, and the other essentials
necessary for contraction. The acetylcholine message is
absolutely essential.

Choline in the marathon
So what? Well, under ordinary circumstances there's a fair
amount of choline roiling around in your blood at all times. As
needed, your nerve cells grab some of this choline, use it to make
acetylcholine, and keep their muscular friends happy and active.

Of course, there's not an infinite supply of choline in your body,
which means that you've got to eat the stuff on a regular basis.
True, some nutritionists have contended that if you don't eat
much choline and your body's levels of the stuff drop too low, an
amino acid called methionine can 'pinch-hit' for choline, but we
now know that this can only happen if you're eating abundant
quantities of methionine. Since that can be hard to do, it's safest
to just eat adequate amounts of choline. Around a half-gram to
gram of choline daily is about right.

Now, when you run a race like the 5K or 10K, not much of a dent
is made in your blood-choline levels, and even when you compete
in something long like the half-marathon, choline concentrations
stay okay. It appears that your choline levels plummet
precipitously only when you run a marathon (or exercise
continuously for approximately two hours or more). However, it's
important to note that when choline concentrations do drop, they
really drop: careful studies carried out with Boston-Marathon
participants in 1985 and 1986 revealed that their blood-choline
levels bottomed out at up to 50-per-cent-below normal levels by
the end of the race.

Why does this happen? Physiologists reckon that acetycholine is
actually broken down inside the neuromuscular junctions during
prolonged exercise. Nerve cells then 'reach out and touch' the
choline floating by in the blood, using it to make new acetylcholine
so that they can keep the sinews simmering. As a result, your
blood- choline levels start a downward slide.

Naturally, if your choline levels fall too far, acetycholine
production can come to a relative standstill, and your nerve cells
will simply refuse to stimulate your muscles. Some exercise
scientists believe that this is behind at least a portion of the
devastating fatigue which strikes near the end of a marathon. As
mentioned, toward the end of the marathon, there simply may not
be enough choline left to keep acetylcholine in decent supply.
Therefore, some scientists reason that choline supplements - if
taken at the right time and in the right amount - might help the
nervous system continue to stimulate muscle cells and keep you
striding toward the marathon finish line at your desired rate, even
after 20 or more miles of very hard work.

Evidence for choline supplements
But can choline supplements really be beneficial? We know for
sure that choline levels do plunge near the end of a marathon,
and we also know that choline supplements can prevent this
devastating downswing. In one study, the simple act of taking in
two grams of choline before exercise began totally prevented the
fall in choline normally associated with prolonged activity.

However, the simple maintenance of choline levels does not
automatically mean that performance will be enhanced. To check
on the performance part of the equation, researchers recently
asked 10 trained runners (eight males and two females) to run 20
miles as fast as possible after taking 2.8 grams of choline citrate
one hour before the run and the same amount (adding up to 5.6
total grams of choline) at the half-way (10-mile) point of their
efforts. On a second occasion, the athletes ran the same distance
without taking choline. Seven of the 10 subjects ran better times
after taking choline, and average time for the 20-miler was five
minutes faster when choline was utilised (2:33 versus 2:38).

The researchers were also able to show that plasma choline
levels decreased significantly after the placebo (non-choline-
supplemented) run but actually increased by 74 per cent at the
end of the 20-mile exertion when choline was taken before and
half-way through the run.

Choline dunking
In a separate study carried out with college basketball team
members at Harvard, Holy Cross, and Northeastern University,
players were given a fruit-juice drink containing 2.43 grams of
choline bitartrate or just plain fruit juice (the placebo) 15 to 30
minutes before practice and again at the midway point through
practice (adding up to 4.86 total grams of choline per day in the
treatment group) for a period of one week. As part of a crossover
design, players who had ingested choline for one week 'crossed
over' and drank only placebo for a week, while placebo sippers
tried out the choline bitartrate.

While the choline had no effect on vertical leaping ability, free-
throw-shooting accuracy, or post-scrimmage fatigue levels, the
choline supplements were associated with several positives:
1) Choline takers were less fatigued before practices.

2) Choline takers reported that they felt more vigour as practices

3) They also felt more vigorous at the ends of practices.

On the negative side, two Holy Cross shooters complained of
diarrhoea while on choline (that's a common side effect), and
another was forced to warn his teammates of flatulence (another
common occurrence). All in all, though, daily intakes of choline
seemed to increase vigour and suppress fatigue in these college

Choline in the pool
Swimmers have also been part of the choline picture. In a very
recent study, 16 members (nine males and seven females) of the
Northeastern University swim team swallowed either a placebo or
2.83 grams of choline citrate 30 minutes before practice and
again half-way through practice (5.66 grams total per day) for a
period of five days Again, the study used a crossover design so
that all athletes had a chance to perform with and without choline

On the third day of each five-day period, the swimmers took part
in a 'T-30 Assessment,' which involved freestyle swimming at an
all-out intensity for approximately 30 minutes. In this test, each
swimmer began by swimming 300 yards as fast as possible,
followed by a 10-second rest. After this brief respite, the swimmer
again covered 300 yards at top speed, with only a 10-second rest
at the end. This alternating pattern of 300 yards at full velocity
and 10 seconds of rest was continued for a total of 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, the total yardage covered by the swimmer was
computed, and average pace per 100 yards was calculated. Just
to make things a little more difficult, the assessment was
completed after a regular 4000-metre practice had already taken

Again, choline supplements appeared to be effective. Without
choline supplementation, blood-choline levels skidded downward
by about 22 to 32 per cent after workouts; with choline, they went
up by 27 to 33 per cent. Choline also enhanced pre-workout
vigour and reduced post-workout fatigue. Finally, 11 of the 16
swimmers improved their performances on the T-30 assessments
after taking choline, compared to the placebo, an effect which was
statistically significant.

The evidence against choline
Nobody really disputes the basic choline story: choline is used to
make acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is needed for normal muscle
functioning. Choline (and therefore acetyl-choline?) levels do
drop after prolonged exercise. Therefore, there is a reasonable
justification for choline supplementation. And, as we've shown,
runners, swimmers, and basketball players have benefited from
choline consumption.

However, a few studies have failed to link choline with any gains in
performance. In one investigation, 20 well-trained cyclists
(average training volume > 100 miles per week, VO2max between
58 and 81) tried either pedalling as long as possible at a
supra-maximal intensity (150% VO2max) or at a moderate level of
exertion (70% VO2max, or about 80% of max heart rate), with and
without choline.

In both cases (during near-maximal and moderate-intensity
exercise), the use of choline supplements caused a big upswing
in blood-choline levels. However, there was no difference in
performance between choline and placebo groups, either during
short- or long-duration exercise. In interpreting this study, though,
bear in mind that plasma choline levels did not actually drop
significantly during exercise in the placebo groups, indicating that
choline downturns were not a limiting factor during the exertions -
and that choline supplements shouldn't be expected to have
much of an effect. Surprisingly, only three of the cyclists were
able to exercise longer than 100 minutes (most exercised for
'only' 70 to 80 minutes) during the moderate-intensity test. It's
important to remember that a single dose of choline - or even a
couple of shots of the stuff, taken an hour or two apart, as in
some of the studies mentioned above - probably won't do you
much good unless you've been working away for two hours or
more. In this cycling study, the athletes simply may have not
exercised long enough to derive a choline benefit.

In a second study which was carried out in Dave Costill's famous
laboratory at Ball State University, athletes cycled for 105 minutes
at 70% VO2max (a popular lab intensity) and then rode 'full-out'
for the following 15 minutes, with and without pre-ride choline
supplementation. Choline supplements did raise blood- choline
levels in this investigation, but they failed to improve performance
at all. It's possible that the choline dosage utilised - 1.1 to 1.8
grams - was not large enough to make a performance difference,
or that the cyclists simply didn't work long enough to gain any
benefits from choline.

What to do?
Should you consider using choline supplements? Well, choline is
perfectly safe to take, the only potential problems being an
occasional bout of diarrhoea or the appearance of some pretty
foul flatulence. And choline levels might be routinely low in
endurance athletes who exercise for prolonged periods on a
regular basis (recall that choline levels fall in response to very
long workouts), although choline deficiencies haven't been
documented by scientific research.

You could certainly forgo supplementation and try to obtain
plentiful amounts of choline in your regular diet: liver, cauliflower,
soybeans, spinach, lettuce, nuts, and wheat germ are decent
natural sources of the stuff, and eggs contain rich veins of
choline. However, ingesting several pounds of raw liver the night
before a marathon is certainly not a strategy which will take the
running world by storm. And many runners have cut back on their
consumption of choline-rich eggs in hopes of harmonising their
blood-cholesterol levels. The bottom line is that even a
choline-rich natural diet probably wouldn't prevent the plunges in
blood-choline levels which happen after 20 miles or so of
marathon running.

Forget lecithin
What about lecithin? Lots of athletes take the stuff, at least in part
because they believe it's a good source of choline. And many are
buoyed by the news of 'research findings' linking lecithin with
improved strength and power. Well, the bad news is that the
research was carried out more than 50 years ago - with fairly poor
experimental designs. And lecithin is not such a great source of
choline after all: The truth is that the choline in lecithin is found
only in a chemical called phosphatidylcholine, and
phosphatidylcholine makes up just 25 to 35 per cent of lecithin. In
turn, only about 12 per cent of phosphatidylcholine is actually
choline. 12 per cent of 35 per cent adds up to a paltry 4-per cent
choline content for lecithin.

Before we actually give you our choline verdict, it's a good time to
mention that the compound plays other roles in the body besides
just boosting acetycholine concentrations. Choline is also an
extremely important structural element of cells, especially cell
membranes, and is absolutely essential for the process of
breaking down fat for energy (without choline, your liver would
quickly clog itself completely with fat).

Researchers also recognise that choline 'carries signals' from the
exterior of cells into the nucleus, helping to control cell activity.
And there's evidence that choline can enhance creatine synthesis
inside one's body (regular readers of PP are well aware of
creatine's ergogenic role). In addition to its contribution to
acetycholine production, this creatine-boosting mechanism might
be one additional way in which choline allays fatigue during
marathon-type efforts.

So, should you take some choline before you run your marathon?
We asked Steven H. Zeisel, Ph.D., probably the world's leading
expert on the compound and also the Chairperson of the
Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina. 'It's
probably effective at helping your marathon performances - but
not your ability to run shorter races,' he said. That's more or less
the answer we expected: After all, the 'story' underlying choline's
ergogenic potential is sound, and there's enough evidence to
suggest that the stuff might really work.

But don't rely on lecithin to get your choline boost. As mentioned,
there's not a lot of choline in lecithin, and it takes about three
hours for the choline in lecithin to actually raise blood-choline
levels, provided you eat enough lecithin. You'd be better off trying
the quicker-acting and safe 'salts' of choline - either choline
chloride or choline bitartrate, both of which can spike blood
choline within 30 minutes after ingestion. The right amount is
probably about 2.5 grams or so, swallowed about an hour before
your marathon begins (practise this in training before you do it
prior to the big one). However, as Zeisel points out, even with this
dosage your blood choline may begin to fall three hours after
you've taken it (e.g., two hours into your marathon), so it makes
sense to take another 2.5- gram dose at the 10- to 13-mile point
of your race.

You can also consider a new concoction called the 'Boston Sports
Supplement,' which contains carbohydrate and electrolytes along
with choline and is sold as a powder which you mix up with water.
Right now it's not that easy to find the product in shops, but you
can order it by calling 1-888-424-6546 toll-free (outside the USA,
phone 001- 617-965-6811).

Boston Sports Supplement was developed by Dr. Richard
Wurtman of MIT. Wurtman had been conducting research on the
possible benefits of acetycholine for Alzheimer's patients when he
happened to notice that marathon runners - especially post-race -
seemed to display the same symptoms of confusion and
forgetfulness that he observed in his Alzheimer's people.
Speculating that the runners were low in choline, he immediately
became interested in the chemical's possible ability to control
both mental and physical fatigue. Ultimately, he founded a
company called Interneuron Pharmaceuticals; its nutritional
subsidiary - Internutria - is the firm which makes Boston Sports

If you do decide to give choline a try, remember that it won't help
you shoot baskets, play an hour-long game of squash, run a 10K,
or cycle, swim or ski for around 100 minutes or less. Choline is a
nutritional supplement for a long-haul effort like the marathon:
After all, research shows that choline levels usually don't really
begin to fall until you've been running 16 to 20 miles or more. As
a rule of thumb, you can figure that choline probably won't help
you much unless you're going to exercise continuously for almost
two hours or more. Don't forget, too, that to get a benefit from the
compound, you probably need to take 2.5 grams of choline
before and at the half-way point of your marathon or
long-duration exertion.

Owen Anderson
You go girlr8grrl*
Sep 27, 2001 4:36 PM
***********Good to see a girl kick a$$****************
Sep 28, 2001 5:23 AM
Why is this a male vs. female issue? Just seems like several interested people discussing something.

Sep 29, 2001 6:25 AM
I'm a marathoner too and I know the vaule of choline. Most people that take marathoning seriously know about choline. My kick ass remark was because you have a girl here giving you some good information and some idiot guy pretending he knows everything about choline. Looks to me like this peloton guy needs to study more and talk less.
please readpeloton
Sep 29, 2001 7:24 AM
The Effect of Lecithin Supplementation on Plasma Choline Concentrations During a Marathon

Alan L. Buchman, MD, MSPH, Mohamed Awal, MD, Donald Jenden, BSC, Margareth Roch, BS, and Seung-Ho Kang, PhD

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois (A.L.B.), Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (M.A.), Department of Medicine (S.-H. K), University of Texas Medical School, Houston, Texas, Department of Pharmacology, UCLA Medical School, Los Angeles, California (D.J., M.R.) []

Background: Previous studies have shown that plasma and urinary free choline concentrations decrease significantly during a marathon, and that these decreases may be associated with decreased performance.

Objective: In a pilot study, we sought to determine whether lecithin supplementation prior to a marathon would maintain plasma free and urinary choline concentrations and improve performance versus placebo.

Methods: 12 accomplished marathon runners, males (7) and females (5), 21 to 50 years of age were randomized to receive lecithin (4 capsules BID; PhosChol 900) or placebo beginning one day prior to the 2000 Houston-Methodist Health Care Marathon. The lecithin supplement provided approximately 1.1 g of choline on a daily basis (2.2 g total). Runners estimated finish time based on recent performance and training. Fasting, pre- and post-marathon plasma and a five-hour urine collection were analyzed for free choline and plasma for phospholipid-bound choline. Pre-race predicted, as well as the actual finish time, were recorded.

Results: All subjects completed the marathon. Plasma free choline decreased significantly in the placebo group and increased significantly in the lecithin group (9.6+3.6 to 7.0+3.6 nmol/mL vs. 8.0+1.2 to 11.7+3.6 nmol/mL, p=0.001 for the delta between groups). No significant changes in plasma phospholipid-bound choline concentration were observed. There was a non-significant decrease in urine free choline in both groups. Actual finish time was 256.3+46.3 minutes for the lecithin group vs. 240.8+62.0 for the placebo group and the actual:predicted time was 1.03+0.06 (lecithin) and 1.07+0.08 (placebo), p=0.36.

Conclusion: Short-term lecithin supplementation prior to a marathon maintains normal plasma free choline concentration during the race, but failed to improve performance.

Look- My point was this. There are some studies out there that point to choline supplementation as being helpful in maintaining blood plasma choline levels in endurance events of over two hours. There are also studies out there like the one above that show no performance benefit. Virtually all of the studies that I have read on the subject include a list of side effects such as gastrointestinal ailments. I pointed out that there are also studies of different qualities, and there is a need to know what causes some studies to show a benefit and others show none. There must be a variable involved that is causing problems with the results. I have a background in research, and I wonder about these things. What is the variable, and what is the proper result? I also relayed my personal experience with choline as being of no benefit to me, as it made me quite ill (Greg LeMond in the TDF type ill). This is a common side effect that is shown in 20-30 percent of participants in the studies I have read. Why does this happen? What is it doing to my body? My main point though is that you have to be careful with what you take into your body. There is also no long term research on what choline will do to you in a few years, like many other supplements on the market such as creatine phosphate.

Again, what I was trying to convey is simply that one must be careful with what one puts into their body. I was at the gym last night and overheard a very experienced powerlifter preaching the benefits of androstedione and DHEA supplementation to some young men. Now, here is an accomplished athlete telling young men to take DHEA, that isn't a good idea. Andro is also suspect. Perhaps it is a precursor to testosterone, or maybe estrogen? The placebo effect is very real, and being an athlete doesn't ensure proper knowledge was what this lifter reminded me. Again, digression.

All I'm saying, and ALL I'm saying is this. There are different studies out there that show different results for choline at this point in time. We don't know what it will do in the long run. If it works for you, good, but please be aware of all the facts and take care of your body. You only get one.

Now if you want to throw sexist remarks and insults at me, that's fine. I hardly though, feel that my rational is without it's point set on a concrete knowledge base.
Sep 29, 2001 8:07 AM
There is a big difference between Lecithin and Choline. Studies have shown that. Please find a study that REALLY applies.
missing the pointpeloton
Sep 29, 2001 8:37 AM
Read what the study shows the results were to blood plasma choline levels. Blood plasma choline levels were higher in the group supplemented with lecithin, which is the ergogenic effect one is looking for.

Missing the point though. Just be careful what you take into your body, and be aware of the unknown long term effects of some supplements and variables in research.

How do I have to articulate my words to show that I am just trying to build awareness of what goes into one's body? Your body is a high risk chemistry kit, and right now there are still some inconclusive findings to a number of supplements, choline not excluded. Long term effects must be considered. Choline has not been studied or supplemented for a long period of time, and right now we don't know everything about it. All I have said is keep your head up, and be aware of what is out there.

Why does choline supplementation make some people smell 'fishy'? What is it about choline that causes gastrointestinal distress in some individuals? Why aren't all the researchers in agreement? What else is happening that we don't know about? Why? Remember that even some drugs get through rigorous FDA trials only to be recalled at a later point because of new findings.

My experience has shown it is best to be very inquisitive when it comes to something that will affect your physiology. I'm just curious, and I don't feel that all the questions have been answered yet. We'll get there though.
Your missing the pointr8grrl*
Sep 29, 2001 12:06 PM
The point is not plasma levels per se. Plasma choline levels are different with Choline vs Lecithin. And with Choline plasma choline levels stay high longer to help with fatigue. The point is Choline vs Lecithin and the effects they have on acetycholine production. If there is a study that says Choline is dangerous I haven't seen it yet and I'm a marathoner that takes the sport SERIOUS. All the studies that I've read show NO toxic effects from the dosages that marathoners use. Some may take too high a dose and have some G/I problems. That is there fault for not having blood and urine test done to determine the correct dosage for them. I and all the serious people I know that have used Choline have had less fatigue and better times using Choline. You can read what ever you want to into the studies to help you rationlise your position. But your lecithin study is no good for a argument about Choline and it's effect. Two different things. And Those kind of studies have caused a lot of confusion for many about this subject. I have deeply researched Choline and found nothing for the person who knows to worry about except the correct dosage. You should read Mr Andersons article a few messages up.
Answer me this, pleasepeloton
Sep 29, 2001 12:52 PM
What are the long term effects of choline supplementation?

Do you feel that a non-professional athlete who could make large gains by just training more and eating a well balanced diet has a lot to gain from choline or other ergogenic supplements?

Those are the only two questions that I have been wondering about. For a professional athlete who dedicates their life to training, sure maybe it is worth it to take a legal supplement with knowing long term results. For everyone else, I just wouldn't reccomend looking for answers in a bottle that hasn't been researched for more than a few years. Am I wrong?
Glad tor8grrl*
Sep 29, 2001 3:53 PM
Marathoners have been using it for 15 years. I was 8 then. That is long term to me. No problems that I ever heard or my coach. Like Harlet said you would be a fool not to use it. The drop in choline has a affect on your liver and your fatigue. ANYONE doing a marathon would be doing there body a favor BY USING IT. You just have to be carefull of the dose. The not professional would just use small amounts and see how it goes each time. Just don't think taking Lecithin is the same. You need to take Choline. If there is something that has never caused a problem and can help you do a marathon without hitting the wall so hard and help you recover better why wouldnt you take. You need to be in GOOD shape to do a marathon. We use Choline like bikers use power bars and sports drinks. To help our bodies WORK better. I dont do the kind of long bike rides that Harlet was talking about when she uses Choline there. If I did I would use it there too. In a century I wouldn't because that isn't probably enough toughness to need it. Two centuries or more would probably cause the same kind of drops in Choline that a marathon does. I would have to check that though.
source of choline?Dog
Oct 1, 2001 5:33 AM
My understanding is that lecithin contains choline, just not high levels. Is there a "purer" source? Thanks.

source of choline?harlett
Oct 2, 2001 12:58 AM
doug.phosphatidyl choline is what is in lecithin..choline chloride and choline bitartrate both have a small amount of impurities in them. it's suppose to be less than 3% in the u.s. but depending on the manufacturers country it may be higher. free choline is pure
I mean, what would I buy?Dog
Oct 2, 2001 5:33 AM
What would you ask for at a store, is what I'm asking - choline chloride? Is it sold that way? Know of any product names? Thanks.

You go girlharlett
Sep 30, 2001 2:12 PM
girl, believe me, i know the spiritedness from where that remark is coming from. your last two posts are probably a better way to accomplish those goals though. you made some great's one of my fave marathon quotes,,,*S*

"You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."

Frank Shorter
Oct 1, 2001 9:25 AM
LAUGH!! That quote is SO true!!!!! My coach has all these storys about Shorter and the 72 and 76 Olympics. My fave quote is Steve Jones
**I run as fast as I can for 20 miles and then race** LAUGH!! Good advise you gave me I guess. I just don't like to see something true be said not to be. ****RUN HARD GIRL****
My cure is food!Tig
Sep 24, 2001 11:12 AM
No, not a binge fest but a good complex carb meal. I've noticed I get real grumpy and down after a hard ride until I replenish my glycogen levels. My wife would agree!

May this is what you are feeling?
My cure is food!scottfree
Sep 24, 2001 11:22 AM
Maybe so. I did eat an astonishing amount yesterday afternon and evening, and drank an astonishing amount of cheap lager. I don't know if it really made me feel better or if I was just stuffed and drunk!
More like "post-ride humiliation".....Blue 'Goose
Sep 25, 2001 6:30 AM
Years ago when I had no clue what I was doing on a bike,
some friends and I decided to do a century on the spur of
the moment.

I hadn't ridden all season.
I was really out of shape.
I was riding a bike that wasn't mine.
I was riding a bike that had broken parts.
I was riding a non-lubricated bike.
I was riding without water or food.

I bonked so badly that at one point in the proceedings on
the way back, I was being TOWED by a SHOELACE attached to
a recumbent bike.

I got to a supermarket and rammed 5 bananas down my throat.

And since this was in outstate Minnesota (small* town) and
before the days of energy bars/drinks, I did something
dumb and opted for mello yello instead of warm gatorade
(room temperature, wasn't refrigerated).

Let me tell ya, that was in the early 1990s and I've learned
a lot since then.

But I remember being really depressed. I'd done my first
century, but in the worst way possible.

I was young and dumb, I forgive myself - and it is a
great story. Some of the other people in our group had
similar problems - bike with the rear brake permanently
actuated. Ack, we were idiots.