Jose Antonio: ISSN 2024 and the Industry Battle for Creatine | Episode #137

It’s an episode we’ve been wanting to do for years: the legendary Jose Antonio, co-founder of ISSN, the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Jose, better known as Joey, has been in the game since the very beginning, and gives us his background in an incredibly entertaining and informative podcast episode.

ISSN and the Industry Battle for Creatine

Jose Antonio of ISSN on PricePlow Podcast #137

The legendary Jose Antonio, co-founder of the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition), joins PricePlow to get hyped for ISSN 2024 and tell us about the true beginnings of the sports nutrition, including some crazy battles over creatine!

One of the recurring themes in the PricePlow Podcast is the insanity surrounding creatine, the naturally-found ATP booster that has hundreds of studies behind it, and an impeccable safety status. Since Joey was there from the start, we asked for his take, and got some incredible stories in the process.

ISSN 2024 is Coming!

Each year, ISSN hosts a conference where sports nutrition researchers, scientists, and related parties can come and present their latest work and findings.

This year’s conference is in Bonita Springs, Florida, coming a bit more than a month after the airing of this podcast. Joey explains how this is the best and most unique conference, and why interested parties should join and get involved.

Watch the video YouTube, listen on Spotify, or find PricePlow on iTunes or any RSS-based podcast app. This podcast has been sponsored by one of ISSN’s and PricePlow’s mutual partners, Cognizin® Citicoline.

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Detailed Show Notes with Jose Antonio

  • 0:00 – Introductions

    On Episode #137 of the PricePlow Podcast, Mike and Ben welcome Jose Antonio, the co-founder and CEO of the International Society for Sports Nutrition, to discuss his journey and the impact of sports nutrition. Ben expresses his enthusiasm for the upcoming conference and appreciates Jose for his contributions to sports nutrition. Jose shares his early fascination with speed in athletes, tracing it back to watching Olympic sprinter Valeriy Borzov off and other athletes like Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee. This fascination led him to pursue a career in exercise physiology and sports nutrition.

    ISSN Logo

    Come to the next ISSN Conference!

    Despite skepticism from the scientific community about the legitimacy of sports nutrition as a field of study, Jose persisted, earning his PhD in muscle physiology and later working as a writer for Weider Publications. His career also included a transition into marketing, where he learned the importance of communication and marketing in science and business.

  • 10:15 – Times Have Changed

    Jose recounts a pivotal moment when he and Jeff Stout presented on supplements at a sports medicine conference in the early 2000s, facing significant skepticism and hostility from the audience. Despite being labeled as “snake oil salesmen” by some attendees, the presentation marked a turning point, as it highlighted the divisive views on supplements within the scientific community.

    This experience led Jose and others to found their own organization, focusing on sports nutrition and supplements, to foster more open-minded discussions and research in the field. Jose emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and scientific inquiry, regardless of prevailing academic sentiments, and shares his belief in the potential benefits of supplements for both physical and cognitive health.

  • 20:15 – ISSN at the Front

    ISSN 2023 Top Presentations, Picked by PricePlow's Ben Kane and Nutrition21's Katie Emerson

    See our write-up on some of the best 2023 ISSN presentations!

    Ben and Mike discuss the unique aspects of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) conferences, emphasizing the open and welcoming atmosphere that fosters discussions among experts in the field. Ben highlights how ISSN is often at the forefront of presenting and discussing new research before it becomes widely known in the industry. Mike expresses his enthusiasm for attending ISSN due to its relevance and the possibility of collaborating professionally.

    Additionally, Jose shares his personal experience with supplementing his children with creatine during their sports activities, addressing common misconceptions about creatine by explaining its safe, non-steroidal nature and its basis in amino acids. He reflects on the persistent myths surrounding supplements like creatine and the challenges of combating misinformation even in the age of accessible scientific literature.

  • 26:45 – The Value of Supplementation

    Ben and Jose discuss the valuable role of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) in influencing supplement use through their position stands, highlighting how these stances—like the one on beta alanine dosing—spark significant discussions and sometimes differences among brands. Jose also speaks about how ISSN helps bridge the gap between science and consumer understanding, referring non-scientific audiences to vendors who can decipher complex scientific data into practical information like dosing and side effects.

    Furthermore, Mike and Jose critique the common “food first” philosophy in nutrition, arguing that even with a perfect diet, supplementation is often necessary due to deficiencies in modern food supplies, emphasizing that supplements and diet should be integrated strategically rather than hierarchically to optimize health and performance outcomes.

  • 31:15 – ISSN’s Flexibility

    Mike questions the inclusivity of presentations at the ISSN conferences, asking if they must be strictly academic or related to sports. Jose clarifies that the ISSN is quite flexible in terms of presenters and topics. While the conference primarily focuses on sports nutrition, with most presenters being scientists or those in training, it does not exclusively limit participation to these individuals. Companies and non-scientists, such as personal trainers or strength coaches, are also welcome to present, provided they disclose any affiliations and focus on scientific data rather than sales pitches.

    Jose mentions that a small percentage of talks are from non-scientists and can cover various topics, including training for specific types of athletes. Ben adds that some of his favorite talks were from non-scientists, highlighting the diverse range of presentations at ISSN, which can even include unique insights from military researchers.

  • 34:30 – Submitting Presentations as a Civilian?

    Effects of 10-weeks of Dileucine Supplementation on Athletic Performance

    An example poster presentation: Effects of 10-weeks of Dileucine supplementation on athletic performance

    Mike discusses his views on the toxicity of vitamins A and D in excess, particularly concerning joint health, though he admits his research isn’t done yet. They are two fat soluble (fat storable) alcohols that accumulate, are toxic in excess, and Vitamin A has very hazardous metabolites. Jose shares that he no longer takes vitamin D supplements because of sufficient sun exposure, which keeps his hydroxy D levels high. They then shift to discussing the process of submitting presentations for the ISSN conference. Jose emphasizes the openness of the conference to various topics and presenters, not just traditional scientists, and mentions that while the schedule often fills up quickly, there are occasionally last-minute openings.

    He also points out the conference’s commitment to featuring a variety of speakers each year to keep content fresh and diverse, highlighting an upcoming keynote on creatine’s potential benefits for brain health, which differs from the usual focus on muscle. Finally, Jose describes his roles, splitting his time between being a professor, running the ISSN, and engaging in scientific publishing and presentations.

  • 39:45 – Publishing a Sports Nutrition Journal

    Jose, an editor in chief alongside Doug Kalman and Rick Kreider, discusses the complexities of publishing in the Journal of ISSN. He explains how the peer review process has evolved to become crucial in determining the fate of a paper based on reviewer biases. Despite this, Jose emphasizes the importance of the journal in enhancing the ISSN brand, offering a platform for original investigations and gaining brand cachet. He also addresses the misconception that only scientists can publish, noting that good scientific writing can come from anyone capable of writing well.

    Jose criticizes the superficiality of AI-generated papers in academic settings, revealing his methods for ensuring students engage in authentic writing. He humorously recounts catching a student who had plagiarized his own work, highlighting the importance of originality in academic submissions.

  • 44:30 – Broader Health Topics

    Doug Kalman PricePlow Podcast #120

    See also: Episode 120 – Doug Kalman joins the PricePlow Podcast to talk about his experience co-founding the ISSN and how he helps professional fighters prepare their diets

    Jose discusses the intricacies of publishing in his sports nutrition journal. He explains that while the journal primarily focuses on sports nutrition, they do consider papers with broader health topics if they find them interesting. For example, a study on the effects of collagen on bone mineral density could be considered relevant despite its clinical angle because of its importance to overall health. He encourages potential authors to submit their work as the worst outcome is a recommendation to submit elsewhere if the paper is deemed not fitting for the journal.

    Additionally, Ben highlights the diversity of research topics presented at the journal’s conference, including poster sessions that showcase a wide range of studies from various academic levels, emphasizing the conference’s inclusive approach to scientific discussions and its unique feature of combining a happy hour with poster presentations.

  • 48:30 – Interesting Ingredients

    Ben emphasizes the interactive and enjoyable nature of the poster sessions at their sports nutrition conference, highlighting the opportunity to engage directly with researchers, including PhD students, about their studies while enjoying a relaxed atmosphere with drinks. This setup fosters lively discussions about research findings and potential gaps, making the experience both educational and fun.

    Jose mentions the potential of nitrates to enhance blood flow and endurance performance and expresses curiosity about the herbal supplement category due to inconsistencies in plant parts used in studies. Mike introduces taurine, noting positive endurance data and its synergistic benefits with high-dose caffeine, suggesting its inclusion in athlete stacks for enhanced performance, especially in endurance sports.

  • 52:30 – Jose’s Routine

    Jose describes his involvement in stand-up paddle racing in Florida and shares his personal supplement routine. He explains that before races, which can last from 40 to 90 minutes, he consumes a Coke for its caffeine, sugar, and hydration benefits. For general training, he emphasizes post-workout protein intake and has been consistently using creatine since the Bill Clinton presidency.

    Jose Antonio of ISSN on PricePlow Podcast #137

    Jose also mentions his regular use of magnesium, multivitamins, and caffeine, highlighting caffeine’s importance in maintaining mental alertness during races. Despite understanding the benefits of beta-alanine for endurance activities, he chooses not to use it due to its side effect of paraesthesia. Additionally, he discusses his use of baby aspirin and his approach to hydration and electrolyte intake through liberal salting of his food rather than supplements, which helps him prevent muscle cramping during intense physical activity in hot conditions.

  • 57:45 – Wrap-Up

    Jose provides details on how to follow him on social media – you can find his personal accounts under his own name on Facebook and Instagram, as well as ISSN’s account under @the_ISSN on Instagram.

    He also mentions the upcoming ISSN conference and highlights the event’s features, including academic presentations, poster sessions with a happy hour, a data blitz for students, and various social activities at the resort venue. Mike, the host, shows interest in participating in water-based races, and they both discuss the importance of mental resilience in endurance sports.

Where to Find Jose Antonio and ISSN


Come to the next ISSN Conference!

Thanks to Joey for joining us and bringing the entire industry up with you – we wouldn’t be here without you (seriously).

Subscribe to the PricePlow Podcast on your favorite platform and see our article on Cognizin, the sponsors of this Podcast. Leave some great reviews on iTunes and Spotify!

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About the Author: Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto

Mike Roberto is a research scientist and water sports athlete who founded PricePlow. He is an n=1 diet experimenter with extensive experience in supplementation and dietary modification, whose personal expertise stems from several experiments done on himself while sharing lab tests.

Mike's goal is to bridge the gap between nutritional research scientists and non-academics who seek to better their health in a system that has catastrophically failed the public. Mike is currently experimenting with a low Vitamin A diet.

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