Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Sports Med. 1984 Nov-Dec;1(6):446-58.

Effectiveness of carbohydrate feeding in delaying fatigue during prolonged exercise.

Abstract

Prolonged exercise in the fasted state frequently results in a lowering of blood glucose concentration, and when the intensity is moderate (i.e. 60-80% of VO2 max), muscle often becomes depleted of glycogen. The extent to which carbohydrate feedings contribute to energy production, and their effectiveness for improving endurance during prolonged exercise, are reviewed in this article. Prolonged exercise (i.e. greater than 2 hours) results in a failure of hepatic glucose output to keep pace with muscle glucose uptake. As a result, blood glucose concentration frequently declines below 2.5 mmol/L. Despite this hypoglycaemia, fewer than 25% of subjects display symptoms suggestive of central nervous system dysfunction. Since fatigue rarely results from hypoglycaemia alone, the effectiveness of carbohydrate feeding should be judged by its potential for muscle glycogen sparing. Carbohydrate feeding during moderate intensity exercise postpones the development of fatigue by approximately 15 to 30 minutes, yet it does not prevent fatigue. This observation agrees with data suggesting that carbohydrate supplementation reduces muscle glycogen depletion. It is not certain whether carbohydrate feeding increases muscle glucose uptake throughout moderate exercise or if glucose uptake is higher only during the latter stages of exercise. In contrast to moderate intensity exercise, carbohydrate feeding during low intensity exercise (i.e. less than 45% of VO2 max) results in hyperinsulinaemia. Consequently, muscle glucose uptake and total carbohydrate oxidation are increased by approximately the same amount. The amount of ingested glucose which is oxidised is greater than the increase in total carbohydrate oxidation and therefore endogenous carbohydrate is spared. The majority of sparing appears to occur in the liver, which is reasonable since muscle glycogen is not utilised to a large extent during mild exercise. Although carbohydrate feedings prevent hypoglycaemia and are readily used for energy during mild exercise, there is little data indicating that feedings improve endurance during low intensity exercise. When the reliance on carbohydrate for fuel is greater, as during moderate intensity exercise, carbohydrate feedings delay fatigue by apparently slowing the depletion of muscle glycogen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center