The effect of Phosphoricum acidum 200CH on the adverse physiological effects induced by exercise in cyclists
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The treatment with homoeopathic remedies, namely Phosphoricum acidum 200CH has proved to be effective in many clinical situations; however confirmation of its use within the sporting industry is limited. This study aimed to test Phosphoricum acidum 200CH efficacy in treating highly trained cyclists. This study was a superiority trial, in which the homoeopathic intervention was hypothesized to be superior to the placebo control group, in a statistically significant way (p < 0.05). Aim This study aimed to test the use of Phosphoricum acidum 200CH in treating the adverse physiological and psychological symptoms induced by exercise on cyclists. The aim for treating these adverse symptoms, induced by exercise, is to enhance performance and recovery of cyclists. Performance and recovery were tracked by assessing blood lactate concentration, oxygen consumption rate, heart rate, peak power output and emotional status. Methodology The study was a randomized controlled clinical trial, parallel group design. Participants were selected using convenience sampling of male road and mountain bike cyclists in the Western Cape. This study followed an explanatory Randomized Controlled Trial test, where the efficacy of the homoeopathic remedy (Phosphoricum acidum 200CH) was under investigation. The participants were selected with great care and testing was completed under highly controlled conditions. Thirty competitive male cyclists volunteered for this study. All participants were required to complete two cycling power to exhaustion interval tests, consisting of a ten minute warm-up at 100 Watts, followed by a five minute constant load at 150 Watts. The purpose of the constant load was to test cycling economy (CE). Thereafter the workload was increased to 200 W for 30 seconds and then the workload was increased by 20 Watts every 30 seconds. The test continued until the participant could no longer maintain the set repetitions per minute for that workload. The peak power output attained iv was recorded. The first test served as a baseline, after which a single dose of Phosphoricum acidum 200CH or identical placebo was administered, a 30 minute recovery period allowed for the remedy to take effect. The test interval was then repeated, the second test results were then compared to the first baseline test to determine the effect of treatment. The study took many different aspects of the remedies action on the cyclists into account, including mental and physiological effects. Breath-by-breath gases were continuously recorded. Expired gases, volumes and air flow were sampled through a flow meter and gas sampling line and heart rate was measured through telemetry (Polar®, Polar Electro, Oy, Finland) and analyzed by a cardio-pulmonary metabolic system (Quark CPET ® Cosmed, Rome, Italy, 2009). Data recorded was filtered for values outside the normal ranges and averaged for every five seconds. Oxygen consumption (vO2 mL.min-1) and heart rate (bpm) at different stages of each test interval were recorded. More specifically oxygen consumption and heart rates were averaged over the 5 minute section following the warm-up to determine cycling economy, directly after exhaustion for one minute and two minutes following exhaustion for another one minute period. Maximum attained heart rate was recorded for each interval test. Maximum oxygen consumption (vO2Max Absolute) was calculated as the mean of the highest three values attained, this mean was then divided by the participants body mass to determine maximum aerobic capacity (vO2Max Relative). Blood lactate levels were tested before, 15 minutes into and directly after each interval, to assess resting lactate status, cycling economy and to determine maximum lactate accumulation. Psychological testing included mood analysis, using a Stellenbosch mood scale (STEMS) questionnaire and further symptoms were analyzed using a Numerical rating scale (NRS) with symptomatic questions. Results From the results, it was clearly apparent that the control group proved to be of a higher calibre when comparing performance variables of the two groups namely: Higher peak power output Higher vO2Max Lower economy lactate v Lower resting lactate Despite the treatment group being the weaker of the two groups, they showed improvement in performance after administration of the remedy. This improvement was manifest through physiological alteration in the second test. More exclusively is the acceptance of the hypothesis concerning heart rate and oxygen consumption, whereby results showed that the administration of Phosphoricum acidum 200CH decreased heart rate and submaximal oxygen consumption rates during performance and recovery. There was no observable psychological effect during this study. The results suggest that Phosphoricum acidum 200CH primary demonstrated physiological effects on the cyclists. The researcher believes that this is due to insufficient time given for psychological alterations. Conclusion The Phosphoricum acidum 200CH has proven to be effective in enhancing cycling economy, reducing maximum heart rate and enhancing recovery to a large degree for the first minute following exhaustion. These positive effects are of great importance as the treatment group was the weaker of the two groups. Resulting in the possibility of even larger results being observable in repeated studies where both groups have similar performance abilities.