Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the medical administration of 100% oxygen (O2) at pressures higher than 1 absolute atmosphere (ATA) and during the last decade, elite and competitive athletes have used HBOGT to accelerate the recovery after injuries or exercise-induced muscle damage. O2 plays an essential role in cell metabolism and its availability is a principal determinant of maximal O2 uptake (VO2 max). Acute exposure to normobaric hyperoxia (i.e., 60% to 100% O2) increases O2 availability and may improve physical performance in a dose-dependent manner.
However, It has been shown that pre-exercise exposure to normobaric hyperoxia did not modify the performance during high-intensity exercise, endurance exercise, or resistance training. Similarly, preexposure to HBOT has no acute effect on physical performance. Furthermore, it has been suggested that long-term training in normobaric hyperoxia has no additional effect on endurance adaptations since this condition allows a higher O2 diffusion. This lack of effects could be related to O2 diffusion limitation during normobaric hyperoxia exposure. Therefore, other hyperoxic environments, such as HBOT, may be more suitable for long-term endurance adaptations since this condition allows a higher O2 diffusion.
Exposures to supraphysiological O2 levels may increase the risk of developing systemic and cellular oxidative stress. Besides, it has been reported that HBOT induces symptoms of central nervous system toxicity as a headache or nausea in ∼2–6% of drivers who dive between ∼1.3 and 1.6 ATA with an oxygen concentration of ∼91%. However, the probability of these symptoms to appear only increases after 4h of diving. Thus, it is still a matter of debate if HBOT training may induce harmful effects as oxidative stress.
According to Carlos Burgos, Carlos Henríquez-Olguín, David Cristóbal Andrade, Rodrigo Ramírez-Campillo, Oscar F. Araneda, Allan White and Hugo Cerda-Kohler in the article “Effects of physical training under hyperbaric oxygen in markers of oxidative stress and performance of Resistance in young soccer players: a pilot study” it had not been carried out the study for the chronic effects of intermittent training of HBOT on oxidative stress and endurance performance in soccer players.
The main findings of the present study suggest that 3 weeks of exercise training in HBOT condition do not increase oxidative stress markers and seem to improve endurance capacity compared to normobaric normoxia training in young soccer players.
HBOT training does not increase systemic oxidative stress markers and seems to improve endurance capacity under normobaric normoxia environment in young soccer players. Therefore, our findings warrant future investigation to corroborate that HBOT endurance training, or other models of training as high-intensity interval training and resistance training, may be an interesting training approach for highly competitive young soccer players to increase their competitive performance. Moreover, training in HBOT conditions can be an alternative for injured athletes who need a quick return to competition.
Carlos Burgos, Carlos Henríquez-Olguín, David Cristóbal Andrade, Rodrigo Ramírez-Campillo, Oscar F. Araneda, Allan White and Hugo Cerda-Kohler. 2016. Effects of physical training under hyperbaric oxygen in markers of oxidative stress and performance of Resistance in young soccer players: a pilot study
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