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D. Enette Larson-Meyer, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.
Human Nutrition and Food Program Area
Division of Kinesiology and Health
My overall research interests center on the health and performance of active individuals, particularly women, at all stages of the lifecycle and at all levels of performance - from the casual exerciser to the elite athlete. I am particularly interested in whole body and skeletal muscle metabolism, its relationship to nutrient intake, and its influence on both disease prevention and athletic performance. Recently, my research has included:
- Vitamin D status in athletes and its relation to health and injury risk
- Influence of running and walking on hormonal regulators of appetite
- Ghrelin and peptide YY in postpartum body weight regulation and presence in human milk
- Use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) as a tool for studying skeletal muscle and liver lipid accretion and relation to metabolic syndrome and athletic performance
- Dietary fat recommendations for endurance trained athletes and laboratory assessment of endurance running performance
My teaching and graduate education interests overlap my research interests and focus on educating both future dietitians within the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) and future applied exercise science researchers. I currently accept: a) doctoral students as part of the Biomedical Sciences PhD program; b) masters students in the Food Science and Human Nutrition program and c) masters students with interest in sports dietetics to work with UW athletics (must be a Registered Dietitian who completed an CADE-accredited internship program) as part of the masters program in Food Science and Human Nutrition. All graduate students must have a sincere interest in conducting applied human research that coincides with my research interests.
Further information on my Education; Professional Experience; Certifications, Accreditation and Fellowships; Professional Memberships; Current Leadership; Courses taught; Published Books and Chapters; Recent Peer Review Publications; and Invited Speaking Experience and Radio appearances is found below.
- Ph.D. Nutrition Sciences/Exercise Physiology – University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), 1998
- M.S. Clinical Dietetics/Emphasis in Sports&Exercise – MGH Institute of Health Professions, Boston, 1990
- Dietetic Internship – Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, 1988
- B.S. Dietetics – University of Wyoming, 1987
- Internship – United States Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, 1986
- Assistant Professor – University of Wyoming, 2005-2011
- Assistant Professor & Instructor – Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, 2001-2004
- Post Doctoral Research Fellow –Division of Physiology and Metabolism, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), 1999-2000
- Sports Nutritionist –UAB Athletic Department, 1995-2000
- Research Dietitian – Clinical Diabetes and Nutrition Section, NIDDK, NIH, Phoenix, 1990-1994
- Research Associate. Cardiopulmonary Exercise Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, 1989-1990
- Diet Research Technician. Mallinckrodt General Clinical Research Center, MGH, 1988-1990
- Contract Nutritionist. US Army Research Institute For Environmental Medicine, Natick, 1990
- Licensed Dietitian - The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2012
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), 2009, 2011
- Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, 2008
- Fellow – The American College of Sports Medicine, 2002
- Registered Dietitian – The American Dietetic Association (ADA), 1987
- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group (SCAN)
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition Research Dietetic Practice Group
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Women & Reproductive Nutrition
- North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO)
- Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise in Sport (PINES)
- SCAN Chair, June 2011-current
- ACSM Women, Sport & Physical Activity Committee, June 2010 - current
- UW Radiation Safety Committee, Fall 2009-current
- Maternal, Infant & Adolescent Nutrition (FCSC 3140)
- Sports Nutrition and Metabolism (FCSC 3145)
- Community Nutrition (FCSC 3147)
- Therapeutic Nutrition Laboratory (FCSC 4104)
- Clinical Experience in Therapeutic Nutrition (FCSC 4106)
- Therapeutic Nutrition (FCSC 4146)
A surprisingly high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency is reported in the US and worldwide. While it is recognized that vitamin D is necessary for optimal bone health, emerging evidence is finding that vitamin D deficiency also increases risk for many autoimmune and non-skeletal chronic diseases—including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, depression and certain types of cancer--and influences immunity, inflammation and muscle function . Studies in my laboratory have focused on vitamin D status in relation to acute illness and inflammation in athletes. Our work has shown that distance runners living in the southern part of the US (Baton Rouge, LA, 30.5° N latitude) had a surprisingly high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency , which was most likely related to the time of day the athletes trained. In contrast, UW college athletes living in Laramie, WY (2195 m; 41.3° N) had a surprisingly low prevalence of insufficiency in the early fall and late spring . Serum Vitamin D concentration (25-hydroxy vitamin D) in the college athletes, however, was found to drop significantly during the winter months. Of greatest interest, vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency were associated with elevated concentrations of the whole body inflammatory marker tumor necrosis factor alpha , and an increased incidence of wintertime illnesses (which included upper respiratory tract infections) Collectively our results, along with those of other laboratories support, the benefit of assessing and treating vitamin D status in athletes . Work in my laboratory is continuing to focus on the role of vitamin D status in inflammation, overuse injury and illness in athletic populations.
Previous studies have suggested that hunger is suppressed following intense exercise but may be stimulated following moderate exercise. The mechanism for such exercise-associated alterations in appetite is not known, but could be related to changes in the secretion and circulating concentration of appetite-regulating hormones made in the gut. These hormones include the hunger hormone ghrelin and the satiety hormones neuropeptide YY (PYY) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Previous studies by my group  as well as others have found that ghrelin, PYY and GLP-1 are altered by exercise. A recently completed pilot study in my laboratory addressed whether these gut hormones are altered by a 1-hour bout of running or walking at a moderately-hard intensity in women, and whether alterations of these hormones predicted hunger and food intake. Soon to be available results from this study should provide insight on how different modes of exercise influences appetite in women.
Epidemiological studies have suggested that childbearing is an important contributor to the development of obesity in many women, and that breastfeeding may be protective against this risk in the mom and infant. While lifestyle and regular exercise participation is likely to impact maternal obesity [3, 4], it is also possible that biological factors predisposition women to weight retention, overweight and obesity following childbirth. A recent study from my laboratory found evidence to suggest that circulating concentration of the hunger hormone ghrelin is altered with increased adiposity in the postpartum state and may potentially impact body weight regulation after child birth . A current longitucinal study is evaluating whether ghrelin, PYY, GLP-1 and leptin are altered following childbirth and during lactation, and are present in human milk. This longitudinal study will also determine whether these hormones predict maternal and infant weight change in the year following birth. Interested first time moms who live in or around the Laramie area may email the Nutrition and Exercise Laboratory for more information.
Use of Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) as a Tool for Evaluating Skeletal Muscle and Liver Lipid Accretion and Relation to Metabolic Syndrome and Athletic Performance
MRS is a non-invasive technique that allows for in vivo study of skeletal muscle metabolism and liver function. Much of my research over the last decade has involved employing 31P and 1H MRS to assess:
- the bioenergetic state of exercising skeletal muscle in athletes fed fat altered diets ;
- oxidative and non-oxidative skeletal muscle metabolism in relation to obesity susceptibility, weight reduction, endurance training and exercise-induced muscle damage [9-11, 18];
- muscle lipid stores in endurance athletes in response to prolonged running and fat-altered diets [5, 7]; and
- muscle and liver lipid stores in relation to insulin resistance in adults [6, 8, 15].
In collaboration with researchers at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, my most recent focus is determining whether lipid accretion in skeletal muscle and liver in prepubertal children is associated with insulin resistance and risk for the metabolic syndrome. Our studies are finding that measurement of liver lipid is feasible in young children , and that accretion of lipid in skeletal muscle and liver occurs before puberty in association with increasing total body and central adiposity and insulin resistance [1, 12]. We are currently determining whether skeletal muscle and liver lipid area associated with other metabolic derangements in children as it is in adults.
Dietary fat recommendations for endurance trained-athletes and laboratory assessment of endurance running performance
Assessment of Endurance Performance. Accurate assessment of endurance performance in a laboratory is difficult and is often limited by the reliability and applicability of the test to “real life” sports performance. Recent work in my laboratory has focused on establishing a highly reliable and valid measurement of endurance running performance which could be employed to evaluate the effect of a diet, nutrition or supplement intervention on performance. Thus far, we have determined that a laboratory simulated 10-k performance run on a treadmill following a 90-min preload run (at 65% VO2max) is highly reproducible (CV = 1%) and may also be a good indicator of “real life” race performance .
Dietary Fat Requirements of Endurance-Trained Athletes. It is generally accepted that intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) serves as an important fuel source during prolonged moderate-intensity exercise. However, it is not yet established whether consumption of a moderate- rather than a fat-restricted high-carbohydrate diet would optimize performance and health in athletes by increasing IMCL stores and promoting a more favorable lipid profile. An initial study by my group found that IMCL stores are reduced by a 2-hour bout of moderate running and that IMCL recovery is dependent on the fat content of the post-exercise recovery diet . In a second study, however, manipulating IMCL stores by consumption of a very low-fat (10% energy) or moderate-fat diet (35% energy) for three-days did not influence endurance running performance in an event lasting slightly longer than 2 hours (10-k performance run on a treadmill following a 90-min preload run at 65% VO2max) when glycogen stores were normalized . Both studies, however, found that even short-term consumption of a diet providing 10% energy from fat unfavorably altered serum lipids, even in healthy, endurance-trained runners.
Larson DE. Vegetarian Sports Nutrition: Food Choices and Eating Plans for Fitness and Performance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007.
Larson-Meyer DE, Niemeyer, MH. The Complete Vegetarian: The Essential Guide to Good Health. In: Carlson P, ed. Nutritional Aspects of Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet: Chicago, IL: The University of Illinois Press, 2009.
Larson-Meyer DE. Vegetarian Athletes. In: Dunford M, ed. Sports Nutrition: A Guide for the Professional Working with Active People. 4th Edition. Chicago, IL: The American Dietetic Association 2006, 294-317.
Larson-Meyer DE. Sports Nutrition Guidelines for the Pregnant Athlete (source box). In: Dunford M, ed. Sports Nutrition: A Guide for the Professional Working with Active People. 4th Edition. Chicago, IL: The American Dietetic Association 2006, 332-333.
- Bennett B, Larson-Meyer DE, Ravussin E, Volaufova J, Soros A, Cefalu WT, Chalew S, Gordon S, Smith SR, Newcomer BR, Goran M, and Sothern M. Impaired Insulin Sensitivity and Elevated Ectopic Fat in Healthy Obese vs. Nonobese Prepubertal Children. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2011.
- Halliday T, Peterson N, Thomas J, Kleppinger K, Hollis B, and Larson-Meyer D. Vitamin D Status Relative to Diet, Lifestyle, Injury and Illness in College Athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 42: 335-343, 2011
- Larson-Meyer DE. Effect of Postpartum Exercise on Mothers and their Offspring: A Review of the Literature. Obes Res 10: 841-853, 2002.
- Larson-Meyer DE. The Effects of Regular Postpartum Exercise on Mother and Child. International SportMed Journal 4, 2003
- Larson-Meyer DE, Borkhsenious ON, Gullett JC, Russell RR, Devries MC, Smith SR, and Ravussin E. Effect of Dietary Fat on Serum and Intramyocellular Lipids and Running Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 40: 892-902, 2008.
- Larson-Meyer DE, Heilbronn LK, Redman LM, Newcomer BR, Frisard MI, Anton S, Smith SR, Alfonso A, and Ravussin E. Effect of calorie restriction with or without exercise on insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, fat cell size, and ectopic lipid in overweight subjects. Diabetes Care 29: 1337-1344, 2006.
- Larson-Meyer DE, Hunter GR, and Newcomer BR. Influence of endurance running and recovery diet on intramyocellular lipid content in women: A 1H-NMR study. Am J Physiol 282: E95-E106, 2002
- Larson-Meyer DE, Newcomer BR, Heilbronn LK, Volaufova J, Smith SR, Alfonso AJ, Lefevre M, Rood JC, Williamson DA, and Ravussin E. Effect of 6-Month Calorie Restriction and Exercise on Serum and Liver Lipids and Markers of Liver Function. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2008.
- Larson-Meyer DE, Newcomer BR, Hunter GR, Hetherington HP, and Weinsier RL. 31P MRS measurement of mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle: reliability, workload sensitivity and relation to whole body oxygen uptake. NMR Biomed 13: 14-27, 2000
- Larson-Meyer DE, Newcomer BR, Hunter GR, Joanisse DR, Weinsier RL, and Bamman MM. Relation between in vivo and in vitro measurements of skeletal muscle oxidative metabolism. Muscle Nerve 24: 1665-1676, 2001
- Larson-Meyer DE, Newcomer BR, Hunter GR, McLean JE, Hetherington HP, and Weinsier RL. Effect of weight reduction, obesity predisposition, and aerobic fitness on skeletal muscle mitochondrial function. Am J Physiol Endocrinol. Metab. 278: E153-E161, 2000
- Larson-Meyer DE, Newcomer BR, Ravussin E, Volaufova J, Bennett B, Chalew S, Cefalu WT, and Sothern M. Intrahepatic and intramyocellular lipids are determinants of insulin resistance in prepubertal children. Diabetologia 54: 869-875, 2011.
- Larson-Meyer DE, Newcomer BR, VanVrancken-Tompkins CL, and Sothern M. Feasibility of assessing liver lipid by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in healthy normal and overweight prepubertal children. Diabetes Technol Ther 12: 207-212, 2010.
- Larson-Meyer DE, Ravussin E, Heilbronn L, and Dejonge L. Ghrelin and polypeptide YY in postpartum lactating and nonlactating women. Am J Clin Nutr 91: 366-372, 2010.
- Larson-Meyer DE, Smith SR, Heilbronn LK, Kelley DE, Ravussin E, and Newcomer BR. Muscle-associated triglyceride measured by computed tomography and magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Obesity (Silver Spring) 14: 73-87, 2006.
- Larson-Meyer DE, and Willis KS. Vitamin D and athletes. Current Sports Medicine Reports (in press)
- Larson DE, Hesslink RL, Hrovat MI, Fishman RS, and Systrom DM. Dietary effects on exercising muscle metabolism and performance by 31P-MRS. J Appl Physiol 77: 1108-1115, 1994
- Newcomer BR, Sirikul B, Hunter GR, Larson-Meyer E, and Bamman M. Exercise over-stress and maximal muscle oxidative metabolism: a 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy case report. Br J Sports Med 39: 302-306, 2005.
- Russell RD, Redmann SM, Ravussin E, Hunter GR, and Larson-Meyer DE. Reproducibility of Endurance Performance on a Treadmill Using a Preloaded Time Trial. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36: 717-724, 2004.
- Russell RD, Willis KS, Ravussin E, and Larson-Meyer DE. Effect of endurance running and dietary fat on circulating ghrelin and peptide YY. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 8: 574-583, 2009
- Willis KS. Vitamin D status & immune system biomarkers in athletes In: Family and Consumer Sciences. Laramie: University of Wyoming, 2008, p. 85
- Willis KS, Peterson NJ, and Larson-Meyer DE. Should we be concerned about the vitamin D status of athletes? Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 18: 204-224, 2008.
- PINES, Power Bar, Nestle Nutrition Institute and US Olympic Training Center Sport Nutrition Conference, “Vitamin D in Athletes”, Colorado Springs, CO, Sept 18-20, 2011
- International Society for Sports Science & Sports Medicine. Symposium. “Vitamin D and the Athlete: A Medical Issue or a Nutritional Issue? Co-Presenter: Kassim Javaid, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, Aug 18-20, 2011.
- American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. Current Issue, “Here Comes the Sun: An Update on Vitamin D and the Health and Performance of Athletes". Co-presenters: Bruce Hollis, Bruce Hamilton, Tyler Barker. Denver, CO, June 3rd, 2011
- International Olympic Committee Consensus Conference on Sports Nutrition, Invited Paper Discussant, “Vitamin D supplements for athletes: sense or nonsense?” Lausanne, Switzerland, October 24-27th, 2010.
- Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) Symposium: Myths, Mysteries & Realities of Eating and Metabolism – Research to Practice. “Vitamin D Status in Athletes” (Pre-Symposium Workshop). San Diego, CA, March 27th, 2010
- 2009 Consumer Issues Conference. Food Safety, Security and Sources: A Recipe for Tough Times. “Pathways to Healthy Eating: Ethics, Nutrition and Environmental Impact of Hunting vs. Vegetarian Diets”. Co-presenter: Betty Holmes, RD. Laramie, WY, Sept 24th, 2009
- American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. Clinical Lecture, “Vitamin D's Effects on Health and Physical Performance”. Co-presenter: John Cannel. Seattle, WA, May 27th, 2009
- Wyoming Dietetic Association Annual Meeting. “Here Comes the Sun: Vitamin D in Clinical Practice”. Laramie, WY, June 4th, 2009
- Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. Specialty Session Invited Speaker, "Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle Approaches for Lasting Weight Control." Los Angeles, CA, June 25th, 2008
- 15th Annual Congress on Women’s Health. Invited Speaker, “Lifestyle Modification: Diet and Exercise Approaches for Lasting Weight Control.” Hilton Head, SC, June 4th, 2007
- ACSM's Sports Medicine radio show. Fit vs. Fat: New Research Sheds Light on Debate. Dr Enette Larson-Meyer and Dr Leanne Redman; Aired by HealthRadio.net, January 19th, 2010
- Animal Voices. Vegan Fitness: Ultramarathon Champion, Scott Jurek & Author, Dr Enette Larson-Meyer; Aired by Animal Voices Radio, Toronto, Canada, December 19, 2006