Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Sports drinks with ketones speed up muscle recovery

Sports drinks that contain ketones not only help athletes to perform better, but also speed up muscle recovery after intensive exertion. This has emerged from a human study that sports scientists at the University of Oxford will publish soon in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The researchers got 12 athletes to cycle on different occasions to such an extent that they depleted their glycogen reserves. Afterwards the athletes drank on one occasion DeltaG, a sports drink that contains ketones and on the other occasion an identical tasting sports drink that contained no nutrients. The researchers then gave the athletes glucose.

The ketone drink contained the mono-ester (R)-3-hydroxybutyl-(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate [structural formula shown below]. The athletes drank 0.573 ml per kg bodyweight.

Sports drinks with ketones speed up muscle recovery

Three authors of the study – first author David Holdsworth, Peter Cox and research leader Kieran Clarke – have filed patents in their name for the use of ketones as a performance enhancer. In addition, Clarke was the founder of T-Delta-S a company that markets products containing ketones - like DeltaG.

The administration of ketones reinforced the effect of the glucose the athletes had taken on their insulin level. Probably as a result of this, the concentration of the glycogen in the athletes' muscles increased faster when they used both ketones and glucose.

Sports drinks with ketones speed up muscle recovery

Sports drinks with ketones speed up muscle recovery

"Given that low muscle glycogen stores impair both moderate and high intensity exercise, and that the exhaustion of glycogen reserves during exercise causes a marked reduction in external work, any intervention that enhances glycogen synthesis is of potential benefit to human exercise performance," the researchers wrote.

"Here, we have shown that ketone and glucose together augment and accelerate glucose uptake, probably by elevating insulin, thereby hastening glycogen recovery."

Below you can see David Holdsworth, the first author of the study, giving a presentation of the research.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017 Apr 10. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001292. [Epub ahead of print].

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