Dr. Mike Roberts, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology, and Dr. Jeff Martin, Chair and Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)-Auburn Campus, are combining efforts to conduct a study examining the effects of Red Spinach Extract on sports performance, vascular reactivity, and blood flow for DolCas Biotech, LLC.
Dr. Roberts’ lab will receive $28,022 of the approximately $50,000 award. The project is entitled “The Effects of Red Spinach Extract on Variables Related to Blood Flow and Exercise Performance.” Red spinach extract contains nitrates, which provide energy to the body, particularly during exercise.
“Nitrates help the cells utilize oxygen more economically,” Roberts said. “Hence, it is believed to increase the exercise economy (or the amount of oxygen used at a given running intensity) for endurance athletes which, in turn, may help the athletes stave off fatigue during long runs or bike rides. However, a lot of this research on nitrates and exercise economy is new, so we will actually see if this supplement does what it purports to do.”
The study will consist of 20 human subjects who will receive an encapsulated form of Red Spinach Extract. Thirty minutes after ingestion, the researchers will take blood samples to look at various markers and conduct a VO2 max test, measuring the levels of oxygen used during a treadmill exercise bout. Dr. Martin will also examine if vascular function and blood flow is enhanced before and after exercise with and without Red Spinach ingestion.
“We are excited to work with Dr. Martin at VCOM and DolCas to explore this relatively new area,” said Roberts. “Dr. Martin brings a great deal of vascular expertise to the Auburn campus, and this study employs the perfect design to mechanistically test this ingredient.”
The project is expected to be completed in September 2015.
VCOM is the new medical school located on South Donahue Drive, which will began its inaugural class of about 150 students in early August 2015. The vision for the Auburn and VCOM collaboration is to improve the health of Alabama’s citizens, especially those in rural and medically underserved areas. VCOM also has two other campuses, located in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Spartanburg, South Carolina.
DolCas is headquartered in New Jersey and is a progressive research and development organization. According to their website, their mission is to introduce pioneering ingredients into the nutraceutical industry that will aid in the research of curing modern ailments in the most holistic, yet progressive, methods.