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Reversal of fatigue during prolonged exercise by carbohydrate infusion or ingestion



Reversal of fatigue during prolonged exercise by carbohydrate infusion or ingestion



Journal of Applied Physiology 63(6): 2388-2395



Seven cyclists exercised at 70% of maximal O2 uptake (VO2max) until fatigue (170 .+-. 9 min) on three occasions, 1 wk apart. During these trials, plasma glucose declined from 5.0 .+-. 0.1 to 3.1 .+-. 0.1 mM (P < 0.001) and respiratory exchange ratio (R) fell from 0.87 .+-. 0.01 to 0.81 .+-. 0.01 (P < 0.001). After resting 20 min the subjects attempted to continue exercise either 1) after ingesting a placebo, 2) after ingesting glucose polymers (3 g/kg), or 3) when glucose was infused intravenously ("euglycemic clamp"). Placebo ingestion did not restore euglycemia or R. Plasma glucose increased (P < 0.001) initially to .apprx. 5 mM and R rose (P < 0.001) to .apprx. 0.83 with glucose infusion or carbohydrate ingestion. Plasma glucose and R then fell gradually to 3.9 .+-. 0.3 mM and 0.81 .+-. 0.01, respectively, after carbohydrate ingestion but were maintained at 5.1 .+-. 0.01 mM and 0.83 .+-. 0.01, respectively, by glucose infusion. Time to fatigue during this second exercise bout was significantly longer during the carbohydrate ingestion (26 .+-. 4 min; P < 0.05) or glucose infusion (43 .+-. 5 min; P < 0.01) trials compared with the placebo trial (10 .+-. 1 min). Plasma insulin (.apprx. 10 .mu.U/ml) and vastus lateralis muscle glycogen (.apprx. 40 mmol glucosyl U/kg) did not change during glucose infusion, with three-fourths of total carbohydrate oxidation during the second exercise bout accounted for by the euglycemic glucose infusion rate (1.13 .+-. 0.08 g/min). We conclude that a decline in plasma glucose contributes to fatigue during prolonged exercise in part by limiting carbohydrate oxidation. This decline in carbohydrate oxidation can be reversed, and exercise continued for .apprx. 45 min, when euglycemia is restored and maintained by intravenous glucose infusion.

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Accession: 001676309

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 3325488

DOI: 10.1152/jappl.1987.63.6.2388


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