Fursultiamine makes physical exercise less tiring
Administering fursultiamine, a synthetic analogue of vitamin B1, reduces fatigue during extended exercise write Korean sports scientists in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry. The Koreans suspect that fursultiamine helps convert glucose into energy in the muscle cells more efficiently.
Thiamine, but better
Thiamine, or vitamin B1, plays a key role in the conversion of carbohydrates from food into energy for the cells. Much research has been done since the 1950s, especially in Japan, on natural and synthetic analogues of thiamine, in the hope of discovering an ergogenic substance that boosts the metabolism of cells. Fursultiamine is one of these analogues. On the left below the structural formula of fursultiamine is shown; on the right below you can see that of thiamine.
Fursultiamine enters cells more easily than thiamine does, but is then converted into thiamine.
The researchers did an experiment with 9 female students. On the one occasion the students took a placebo every day for four weeks; on another occasion the students had to cycle five times a week for three quarters of an hour at 70 percent of their VO2max, again for four weeks. On yet another occasion the students took a high dose [10 mg per kg bodyweight] of fursultiamine for four weeks. We honestly don't know whether such a high dose of fursultiamine has side effects.
The students reported that they were more fatigued as a result of cycling. The training reduced the increase in fatigue scores. Administering fursultiamine had a similar effect.
Less lactic acid, less ammonia
The training reduced the increase in lactic acid and ammonia concentrations in the blood during the hour of cycling. The supplementation had a similar effect.
The researchers suspect that fursultiamine aids the conversion of glucose into energy.
"Thiamine supplementation for more than 4 weeks brings significant effect on energy metabolism during exercise, decreases the lactate and ammonia concentration and the rating of perceived exertion", the researchers conclude. "It also positively affects anti-fatigue and may be used as an effective treatment similar to the endurance training."
The Koreans argue in favour of further research on the combination of supplementation and training, and the interactions between exercise, thiamine analogues and fast carbohydrates such as glucose.
The study was funded by the Korean government.
J Exerc Nutr Biochem 2013;17(4):189-198.
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