Int J Sports Med 2013; 34(01): 1-7
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1312584
Physiology & Biochemistry
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Short-Term Supplementation with Alpha-Ketoglutaric Acid and 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural Does not Prevent the Hypoxia Induced Decrease of Exercise Performance Despite Attenuation of Oxidative Stress

H. Gatterer
1   Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
J. Greilberger
2   Department of Physiological Chemistry, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria
3   Schwarzl Medical Center, Institut für Laborwissenschaften Dr. Greilberger, Graz, Austria
M. Philippe
1   Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
M. Faulhaber
1   Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
R. Djukic
3   Schwarzl Medical Center, Institut für Laborwissenschaften Dr. Greilberger, Graz, Austria
M. Burtscher
1   Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 13 March 2012

Publication Date:
14 August 2012 (online)


Reactive oxygen species are thought to partly be responsible for the hypoxia induced performance decrease. The present study evaluated the effects of a broad based antioxidant supplementation or the combined intake of alpha-ketoglutaric acid (α-KG) and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) on the performance decrease at altitude. 18 healthy, well-trained males (age: 25±3 years; height: 179±6 cm; weight: 76.4±6.8 kg) were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to a placebo group (PL), a α-KG and 5-HMF supplementation group (AO1) or a broad based antioxidant supplementation group (AO2). Participants performed 2 incremental exercise tests to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer; the first test under normoxia and the second under hypoxia conditions (simulated altitude, FiO2=13% ~ 4 300 m). Supplementation started 48 h before the hypoxia test. Maximal oxygen uptake, maximal power output, power output at the ventilatory and lactate threshold and the tissue oxygenation index (NIRS) were measured under both conditions. Oxidative stress markers were measured before the supplementation and after the hypoxia test. Under hypoxia conditions all performance parameters decreased in the range of 19–39% with no differences between groups. A significant change from normoxia to hypoxia (p<0.001) and between groups (p=0.038) were found for the tissue oxygenation index. Post hoc test revealed significant differences between the PL and both, the AO1 and the AO2 group. The oxidative stress parameter carbonyl protein changed from normoxia to hypoxia in all participants and 4-hydroxynonenal decreased in the AO1 group only. In conclusion the results suggest that short-term supplementation with an antioxidant does not prevent the performance decrease at altitude. However, positive effects on muscle oxygen extraction, as indicated by the tissue oxygenation index, might indicate that mitochondrial functioning was actually influenced by the supplementation.

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