Energy drinks increase stamina - even when used only as a mouthwash.
Read aloud Hardly in the mouth and already in the legs: Energy drinks improve the performance, even if they are not swallowed, British researchers have found in experiments with competitive athletes. In the mouth, previously unknown receptors for sugar could exist that activate the reward center in the brain, the scientists explain the phenomenon. As a result, the perceived effort is less than what was actually achieved, report Edward Chambers from the University of Birmingham and his team. The researchers gave eight cyclists a challenging time trial. The athletes had to rinse their mouths with energy drinks. The scientists had mixed three versions: the first version contained the multiple sugar maltodextrin, the second the simple sugar glucose. The third drink was a placebo and contained only the sweetener saccharin. All three variants were then brought to the same taste with the help of sweetener.

The subjects were not allowed to swallow the drinks and thus took no additional calories. But already rinsing with the two sugary variants led to a significant increase in performance: The athletes completed the course faster, without feeling strained.

Since only the sugary drinks improved performance, the researchers concluded that the taste was the cause of the increase. To find out more about the exact mode of action, they used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to visualize the athlete's brain activity. Shortly after the energy drinks entered the subjects' mouth, brain regions became active, which were responsible for reward and motor skills.

As a result, the subjects perceive the effort as less than it actually is, the researchers conclude. The observations suggest specific carbohydrate receptors in the mouth and also support the so-called central governor theory: According to this not limit muscle, heart or lung performance, but especially the brain. display

Edward Chambers (University of Birmingham) et al .: Journal of Physiology, online publication doi: 10.1113 / jphysiol.2008.164285 Journal of Physiology ddp / Masha's shaft


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