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Physical performance during energy deficiency in humans: An evolutionary perspective

Areta, JL (2023) Physical performance during energy deficiency in humans: An evolutionary perspective. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 284. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1095-6433

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Energy deficiency profoundly disrupts normal endocrinology, metabolism, and physiology, resulting in an orchestrated response for energy preservation. As such, despite energy deficit is typically thought as positive for weight-loss and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases during the current obesity pandemic, in the context of contemporary sports and exercise nutrition, chronic energy deficiency is associated to negative health and athletic performance consequences. However, the evidence of energy deficit negatively affecting physical capacity and sports performance is unclear. While severe energy deficiency can negatively affect physical capacity, humans can also improve aerobic fitness and strength while facing significant energy deficit. Many athletes, also, compete at an elite and world-class level despite showing clear signs of energy deficiency. Maintenance of high physical capacity despite the suppression of energetically demanding physiological traits seems paradoxical when an evolutionary viewpoint is not considered. Humans have evolved facing intermittent periods of food scarcity in their natural habitat and are able to thrive in it. In the current perspective it is argued that when facing limited energy availability, maintenance of locomotion and physical capacity are of high priority given that they are essential for food procurement for survival in the habitat where humans evolved. When energetic resources are limited, energy may be allocated to tasks essential for survival (e.g. locomotion) while minimising energy allocation to traits that are not (e.g. growth and reproduction). The current perspective provides a model of energy allocation during energy scarcity supported by observation of physiological and metabolic responses that are congruent with this paradigm.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals; Humans; Obesity; Weight Loss; Exercise; Energy Metabolism; Energy Intake; Athletic Performance; Physical Functional Performance; Energy deficit; Evolution; Human performance; Low energy availability; REDs; Sports nutrition; Triad; Animals; Humans; Athletic Performance; Exercise; Obesity; Weight Loss; Physical Functional Performance; Energy Metabolism; Energy Intake; 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology; 0606 Physiology; 0608 Zoology; Physiology
Subjects: T Technology > TX Home economics > TX341 Nutrition. Foods and food supply
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2024 13:29
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2024 13:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2023.111473
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23006
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