Does Carbohydrate Mouth Rinsing Improve Exercise Performance?

By Len Kravitz, PhD
Jan 8, 2016

At the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, thousands of professionals from around the globe in more than 70 disciplines exchange research, present new clinical techniques and share scientific advancements in public health, physical activity, sports medicine and exercise science. This article covers just one of six studies reviewed at ACSM’s 62nd annual meeting, held in May 2015 in San Diego. To read all of them, see “Six Takeaways From the ACSM Annual Meeting” in the online IDEA Library or in the September 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. One of the topics the column explored the effect of carbohydrate mouth-rinsing on exercise performance, summarized here.

The study:

Does a Carbohydrate Mouth-Rinse Improve Endurance Exercise Performance? S.S. Conger, M.E. Darnell
&
S.M. Fulkerson, University of Pittsburg.


Methodology:

Swishing a sports drink around in the mouth (and then spitting it out) has been an endurance performance boost concept for over a decade. It is hypothesized that the carbohydrates swirling in the mouth provide a neural stimulus to the brain, which plays a central command role in enhancing endurance training and combating fatigue. Carbohydrate mouth rinsing is particularly helpful to endurance enthusiasts who get indigestion from swallowing drinks or solids during a workout or competition.

In this study, the researchers combined a systematic review with a meta-analysis to assess whether carbohydrate mouth rinsing affected endurance performance. After an extensive review of 180 studies, the researchers selected 15 studies that met their strict inclusion criteria. Findings indicated that mouth rinses using higher concentrations of carbohydrate improved endurance performance the most.


Take-home message:

Competitive endurance training clients, particularly those who have difficulty digesting foodstuffs during exercise, may realize a slight boost in endurance performance (2%–3%) by using a mouth rinse product with a carbohydrate concentration greater than 6.4%.

To read more about the other topics explored at ACSM this year, please see “Six Takeaways From the ACSM Annual Meeting” in the online IDEA Library or in the September 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.

Len Kravitz, PhD

Len Kravitz, PhD

"Len Kravitz, PhD, is a program coordinator and professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico where he received the Presidential Award of Distinction and Outstanding Teacher of the Year award. In addition to being a 2016 inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame, Len has received the prestigious Specialty Presenter of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award from CanFitPro."

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