Lactate is NOT that bad, more on carbohydrate mouth rinses

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original Blogs.

A couple interesting things I want to point to today. One on that old boogeyman, lactate. Another on the idea of rinsing your mouth with a carbohydrate drink after exercise.


For decades, lactate has gotten a bad rap. While some of us have known for years that lactate isn’t the boogeyman that it’s been made out to be, it can actually be used as a fuel for one thing, it still has that bad rap.

To be clear, when your muscles are sore the day after a hard workout, that has nothing to do with lactate. Once your workout is over, lactate is cleared from your body very quickly as it is used for fuel or converted to other substrates that can later be used for fuel.

Let’s take a look at another myth: the myth that lactate causes fatigue:

These results suggest that blood lactate appears to have a protective effect against fatigue, at least at level of primary somatosensory cortex, although at the expense of efficiency of adjacent areas.

So let’s stop hating on lactate. It’s not all good but the bad rap it gets in many circles is almost totally unwarranted.

Post-workout carbohydrate mouth rinses

In recent years, we’ve seen some interesting results from studies testing simply rinsing your mouth with carbohydrates before a hard workout or race. You apparently don’t even have to swallow. Just rinse with the carbohydrates and your body responds by assuming that more fuel is about to be available and makes more fuel available for use. That’s a good thing in shorter races where we’ll never tap into our complete stores.

What about post-workout, though? Does simply having carbs in your mouth, even if you don’t swallow, have a benefit?

It appears the answer is a qualified yes:

These data suggest that CHO mouth-rinsing attenuates neuromuscular fatigue following endurance cycling. Although these changes did not translate into a performance improvement, further investigation is required into the role of CHO mouth-rinse in alleviating neuromuscular fatigue.

No performance improvement found here so maybe the benefit isn’t functionally useful. However, it’s interesting that there was a reduction of neuromuscular fatigue. I’ll be interested in watching for some follow-up to this.

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