Bananas and pears vary in sugar and phenolic profiles, and metabolomics was utilized to measure their influence on exercise performance and recovery. Male athletes (N = 20) cycled for 75 km while consuming water (WATER), bananas (BAN), or pears (PEAR) (0.6 g carbohydrate/kg each hour) in randomized order. UPLC-MS/MS and the library of purified standards maintained by Metabolon (Durham, NC) were used to analyze metabolite shifts in pre- and postexercise (0-h, 1.5-h, 21-h) blood samples. Performance times were 5.0% and 3.3% faster during BAN and PEAR versus WATER (P = 0.018 and P = 0.091, respectively), with reductions in cortisol, IL-10, and total leukocytes, and increases in blood glucose, insulin, and FRAP. Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) showed a distinct separation between trials immediately (R(2)Y = 0.877, Q(2)Y = 0.457) and 1.5-h postexercise (R(2)Y = 0.773, Q(2)Y = 0.441). A total of 107 metabolites (primarily lipid-related) increased more than 2-fold during WATER, with a 48% and 52% reduction in magnitude during BAN and PEAR recovery (P < 0.001). Increases in metabolites unique to BAN and PEAR included fructose and fruit constituents, and sulfated phenolics that were related to elevated FRAP. These data indicate that BAN and PEAR ingestion improves 75-km cycling performance, attenuates fatty acid utilization and oxidation, and contributes unique phenolics that augment antioxidant capacity.
Keywords: carbohydrate; cycling; inflammation; metabolites; oxidative stress; polyphenols.