Adaptive physiology and functional nutrition

Physiology, the study of the mechanisms of the body, spanning from cellular and metabolic biochemistry to overall function, is being transformed by the impact of recent advances in molecular biology, and in analytical technology.

The physiology of the organism can be changed by external influences such as environmental change, changes in diet, or illness. The term 'adaptive' denotes the focus on the mechanisms by which the physiological state of the individual is changed by these external influences, in ways that are in general beneficial, hence adaptive.

Sport, Health and Exercise (SHE) performs internationally significant research in this area as well as functional nutrition in particular investigating micro-nutrients on health benefits such as magnesium and polyphenols.

The main strands of the research involve

  • Studies on the mechanism of action of micro-nutrients.
  • Studies on changes in metabolomic profile in serum and/or urine following consumption of specific micro-nutrients.
  • Immune responses in elite swimmers.
  • Nutritional supplementation on sports performance.
  • Thermoregulatory responses to exercise.

Current and recent projects

  • Investigating the cardiometabolic effects of cherry juice in metabolic syndrome individuals.
  • Effect of carbohydrate ingestion and mouth rinsing on sports performance.
  • Cooling strategies on fencing performance in both able bodied and wheelchair fencers.
  • Health benefits of magnesium supplementation.
  • Immune responses in elite swimmers.
  • Critical power in running and cycling.


The group have several collaborations with other institutions such as the University of Central Lancashire, the University of East London and Coventry University.

We have ERASMUS programmes established with Institut Nacional d’Educació Física de Catalunya (INEFC) and HAN University of Applied Sciences. The group also has links with British Fencing, British Swimming and several professional football clubs.

Further collaborations are also on going with the Center for Magnesium Research and Education in Hawaii.

Contact Lindsy Kass for more information on our research in Adaptive physiology and functional nutrition.