|Patterns of energy allocation during energetic scarcity; evolutionary insights from ultra-endurance events
|LONGMAN, Daniel P.; DOLAN, Eimear; WELLS, Jonathan C. K.; STOCK, Jay T.
|COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY A-MOLECULAR & INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY, v.281, article ID 111422, 7p, 2023
|Exercise physiologists and evolutionary biologists share a research interest in determining patterns of energy allocation during times of acute or chronic energetic scarcity. Within sport and exercise science, this information has important implications for athlete health and performance. For evolutionary biologists, this would shed new light on our adaptive capabilities as a phenotypically plastic species. In recent years, evolutionary biologists have begun recruiting athletes as study participants and using contemporary sports as a model for studying evolution. This approach, known as human athletic palaeobiology, has identified ultra-endurance events as a valuable experimental model to investigate patterns of energy allocation during conditions of elevated energy demand, which are generally accompanied by an energy deficit. This energetic stress provokes detectable functional trade-offs in energy allocation between physiological processes. Early results from this modelsuggest thatlimited resources are preferentially allocated to processes which could be considered to confer the greatest immediate survival advantage (including immune and cognitive function). This aligns with evolutionary perspectives regarding energetic trade-offs during periods of acute and chronic energetic scarcity. Here, we discuss energy allocation patterns during periods of energetic stress as an area of shared interest between exercise physiology and evolutionary biology. We propose that, by addressing the ultimate ""why"" questions, namely why certain traits were selected for during the human evolutionary journey, an evolutionary perspective can complement the exercise physiology literature and provide a deeper insight of the reasons underpinning the body's physiological response to conditions of energetic stress.
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