Integrative Human Performance Year In Review, Part Three: Peter Checks In

Allow me to reintroduce myself: my name is HOV Peter, and it has been quite some time since I last posted.  I’m constantly hoping that that’ll change and that I’ll be able to post more frequently, but it seems that something always comes up that precludes me from doing so.  Nevertheless, my hope remains that you’ll be hearing more from me in the coming months and beyond regarding a variety of health/fitness/nutrition/wellness-related topics. In the meantime, I’ll just get you caught up on what the last year has held for me.


As opposed to the vast array of different things that Rob’s gotten himself involved in, the past twelve months for me have more or less consisted of focusing on a couple of things that have eaten up nearly all of my time.  First on this list has been completing my undergraduate education: assuming my head doesn’t explode over the next month or so (which is sadly not out of the realm of possibility), I’ll graduate in May from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (concentration in Molecular and Cellular Biology) and a minor in Kinesiology.  Due to my academic pursuits in multiple areas, my courseload has unfortunately been quite heavy up until the very end–there has indeed been no rest for the weary in my case.


Ain't that the truth, adorable little kitty asleep on a keyboard.

Ain’t that the truth, adorable little kitty asleep on a keyboard.


I have, however, managed to push through two related research projects that I have worked on for the past two years.  My research advisor, Dr. Robert Beelman, is a Professor Emeritus in the Food Science Department here at Penn State whose primary interest is the nutritional and medicinal applications of mushroom-derived compounds.  Over the last several years, Dr. Beelman’s lab has worked with a specific antioxidant called L-Ergothioneine that is found in extremely high concentrations (higher than any food source that we currently know of) in certain specialty mushrooms.  The applications of this compound are seemingly unlimited at this point–various investigations by different labs have produced data linking L-Ergothioneine in some way to diabetes, kidney disease, neurodegenerative disease, anemia, cancer, autoimmune disorders, mitochondrial dysfunction, as well as the aging process.  Several of these results led me to believe that there might be an application for athletic performance–specifically endurance exercise–as well, and Dr. Beelman and I have spent the last year and a half developing a protocol to test this hypothesis in a rodent model.  We have just begun the experimental feeding phase and hope to start collecting and analyzing data by the end of April.  I’m not going to go into more depth about the research or the specifics of L-Ergothioneine until that time, but anyone who is interested in further reading on the topic is welcome to get in touch with me and I can share good resources.


Related to this project is a review paper that I’m also currently in the process of writing that examines the potential for mushroom-derived compounds as ergogenic aids.  In addition to L-Ergothioneine, mushrooms have been found to contain high concentrations of glutathione, selenium, mannitol, beta-glucans, and–when subjected to UV light treatment–Vitamin D2.  There is data on all of these compounds that suggest a potential use for athletes and those interested in maximizing exercise performance. The intent of this paper is to review this data, elucidate the potential that mushrooms and mushroom-derived compounds could have in terms of nutrition and supplementation protocols in athletes and those seeking performance benefits, and to potentially make recommendations on how and when to ingest these compounds as well as recommendations for directions of future research.


The fact that this is what has consumed much of my life for the past two years must qualify me for some sort of distinction in the Nerd-dom hierarchy.

The fact that this is what has consumed much of my life for the past two years must qualify me for some sort of distinction in the Nerd-dom hierarchy.


Outside of the classroom and the lab, I’ve dedicated the little free time that I have had to attending continuing education courses as my schedule and budget have allowed.  As Rob mentioned, he and I attended PRI’s Impingement and Instability course, taught by Mike Cantrell, this past summer at Northeastern University.  In addition, I took PRI’s Cervical Revolution course, taught by Ron Hruska himself, this past fall at Finish Line Physical Therapy in NYC.  The latter course was admittedly a bit over my head, but it was good to get my feet wet and my understanding of the material has definitely improved over the last several months; I look forward to taking the course again in the near future to really bring it all together.  Finally, this past February I attended Joel Jamieson’s Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach course at IFAST in Indianapolis, Indiana.  This was (I believe) only the third time that Joel had offered this course, and it was awesome.  The detail and organization of the material were excellent, and the case studies we did were crucial in providing an understanding of how to tie everything together and apply it in a real-world setting.  I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in improving their understanding of conditioning and how to develop it in their clients.  I also gave a presentation of my own to the staff at Athletic Evolution, a private Nike SPARQ-affiliated training facility in Woburn, MA.  The presentation covered training and nutritional strategies to maximize connective tissue health and function, and it can be viewed in full on our YouTube channel.


Joel Jamieson's new course earns high praise and a strong recommendation from me.

I highly recommend Joel Jamieson’s new course.


Other than the aforementioned projects and endeavors, most of the rest of my time has been spent figuring out what I’ll be doing post-graduation.  I have applied to several Kinesiology/Exercise Science graduate programs, and am in the process of weighing the opportunities available to me at each one as well as a few potential job opportunities.  I should have more information regarding these decisions in a month or so, and I intend to share that at the appropriate time.  In the meantime, Rob and I both intend to be more active in posting material, and so we hope that you stayed tuned for quality articles, videos, and more!

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think; we love hearing from you!

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