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J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Nov 22;14:45. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0200-0. eCollection 2017.

Mouth rinsing with a carbohydrate solution attenuates exercise-induced decline in executive function.

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Graduate School of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Shiga Japan.
Graduate School of Human Development and Environment, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan.
Faculty of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Kusatsu, Shiga Japan.
Department of Sports Medicine for Health Promotion, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.



A decline in executive function could have a negative influence on the control of actions in dynamic situations, such as sports activities. Mouth rinsing with a carbohydrate solution could serve as an effective treatment for preserving the executive function in exercise. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of mouth rinsing with a carbohydrate solution on executive function after sustained moderately high-intensity exercise.


Eight young healthy participants completed 65 min of running at 75% V̇O2max with two mouth-rinsing conditions: with a carbohydrate solution (CHO) or with water (CON). Executive function was assessed before and after exercise by using the incongruent task of the Stroop Color and Word Test. The levels of blood glucose; and plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), epinephrine, and norepinephrine (NE) were evaluated. A two-way repeated-measures ANOVA, with condition (CHO and CON) and time (pre-exercise and post-exercise) as factors, was used to examine the main and interaction effects on the outcome measures.


The reaction time in the incongruent condition of the Stroop test significantly increased after exercise in CON (pre-exercise 529 ± 45 ms vs. post-exercise 547 ± 60 ms, P = 0.029) but not in CHO (pre-exercise 531 ± 54 ms vs. post-exercise 522 ± 80 ms), which resulted in a significant interaction (condition × time) on the reaction time (P = 0.028). The increased reaction time in CON indicates a decline in the executive function, which was attenuated in CHO. Increases in plasma epinephrine and NE levels demonstrated a trend toward attenuation accompanying CHO (P < 0.085), which appeared to be associated with the preservation of executive function. The blood glucose concentration showed neither significant interactions nor main effects of condition.


These findings indicate that mouth rinsing with a carbohydrate solution attenuated the decline in executive function induced by sustained moderately high-intensity exercise, and that such attenuation seems to be unrelated to carbohydrate metabolic pathway but rather attributed, in part, to the inhibition of the excessive release of stress hormones.


Executive function; Maltodextrin and mouth washing; Stroop color and word test

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