Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
National University of Ireland, Galway Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

The role of functional foods in modulating the adaptive response to training (Ref: SF20/SER/HOWATSON)

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

About the Project

There is growing body of evidence to suggest that the use of bioactive foods can be beneficial in the management of post-exercise declines in muscle function. Specifically, foods and their analogues (juice and concentrates) have been shown on numerous occasions to facilitate recovery following strenuous exercise that results in loss of muscle function, inflammation, increased skeletal muscle damage indices and oxidative stress. These interventions show promise for exercise recovery, as indicated in the recent IOC consensus statement on nutritional supplements for elite athletes, but there is some debate in the community that the longer-term use of such interventions might have a mal-adaptative impact or reduce the adaptative potential of exercise.
Foods with high levels of anthocyanins and other polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, which have the potential to manage the negative effects of strenuous exercise. However, the inflammatory and oxidative stress imposed by exercise is thought to be a critical process in adaptation. Although there is good evidence to show that these processes (particularly the exercise-induced inflammatory response) can be reduced with the dietary interventions, there are no data that have examined the longer-term implications of supplementation on the adaptative response to exercise. Given that available data using anti-oxidative supplementation (vitamin C & E) has shown that the adaptative response does not appear to be mal-adaptive, we hypothesise that fruit-derived polyphenols will also not attenuate the adaptive response to a training stimulus. Therefore, the aim of this course of research will be to examine the effects of polyphenols rich fruit on the adaptive response to acute and chronic training stimuli.
Northumbria University has a global reputation for high quality work in understanding the stress-recovery-adaptation continuum. In addition, we have demonstrable excellence in the area of polyphenol-rich foods in the application of exercise recovery and performance that is coupled with a strong supervisory team with reputation for delivering high quality doctoral students.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g., SF20/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: Open
Start Date: October 2020 or March 2021
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Enquiries can be directed to Prof Glyn Howatson ()

Funding Notes

Please note, this is a self-funded project and does not include tuition fees or stipend; the studentship is available to Students Worldwide. Fee bands are available at View Website . A relevant fee band will be discussed at interview based on project running costs


1. Brown, M.A., Stevenson, E.J., and Howatson, G. (2019). Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) supplementation accelerates recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in females. European Journal of Sport Sciences, 19, 95-102.
2. Owens, D.J., Twist, C., Cobley, J.N., Howatson, G., and Close, G.L. (2019). Exercise-induced muscle damage: what is it, what causes it and what are the nutritional solutions? European Journal of Sport Sciences, 19, 71-85. Thomas, K., Goodall, S., & Howatson, G. (2018). Performance fatigability is not regulated to a peripheral critical threshold. Exercise and sport sciences reviews, 46(4), 240-246.
3. Keane, K.M., Bailey, S., Vanhatallo, A., Jones, A.M., and Howatson, G. (2018). Effects of Montmorency tart cherry (L. Prunus Cerasus) consumption on nitric oxide biomarkers and exercise performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 28,1746-56.
4. Clifford, T., Bowman, A., Capper, T., Allerton, D.M., Foster, E., Birch-Machin, M., Lietz, G., Howatson, G., and Stevenson, E.J. (2018). A pilot study investigating reactive oxygen species production in capillary blood after a marathon and the influence of an antioxidant-rich beetroot juice. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 43, 303-306.
5. Clifford, T., Allerton, D., Brown, M., Harper, L., Horsborough, S., Keane, K.M., Stevenson, E.J., Howatson, G. (2017). Minimal muscle damage after a marathon and no influence of beetroot juice on inflammation and recovery. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 42, 263-270.

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here

The information you submit to Northumbria University will only be used by them or their data partners to deal with your enquiry, according to their privacy notice. For more information on how we use and store your data, please read our privacy statement.

* required field

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2021
All rights reserved.