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The Effect of Carbohydrate Mouth Rinse on 1-h Cycle Time Trial Performance


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2004 - Volume 36 - Issue 12 - p 2107-2111
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000147585.65709.6F
Applied Sciences: Physical Fitness and Performance

Purpose and Method: To investigate the possible role of carbohydrate (CHO) receptors in the mouth in influencing exercise performance, seven male and two female endurance cyclists (V̇O2max 63.2 ± 2.7 (mean ± SE) mL·kg−1·min−1) completed two performance trials in which they had to accomplish a set amount of work as quickly as possible (914 ± 40 kJ). On one occasion a 6.4% maltodextrin solution (CHO) was rinsed around the mouth for every 12.5% of the trial completed. On the other occasion, water (PLA) was rinsed. Subjects were not allowed to swallow either the CHO solution or water, and each mouthful was spat out after a 5-s rinse.

Results: Performance time was significantly improved with CHO compared with PLA (59.57 ± 1.50 min vs 61.37 ± 1.56 min, respectively, P = 0.011). This improvement resulted in a significantly higher average power output during the CHO compared with the PLA trial (259 ± 16 W and 252 ± 16 W, respectively, P = 0.003). There were no differences in heart rate or rating of perceived exertion (RPE) between the two trials (P > 0.05).

Conclusion: The results demonstrate that carbohydrate mouth rinse has a positive effect on 1-h time trial performance. The mechanism responsible for the improvement in high-intensity exercise performance with exogenous carbohydrate appears to involve an increase in central drive or motivation rather than having any metabolic cause. The nature and role of putative CHO receptors in the mouth warrants further investigation.

Human Performance Laboratory, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: A. E. Jeukendrup, Human Performance Laboratory, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, B15 2TT, Birmingham, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication November 2003.

Accepted for publication July 2004.

©2004The American College of Sports Medicine