Athlete perceptions of flavored, menthol-enhanced energy gels ingested prior to endurance exercise in the heat

Journal article


Vogel, Roxanne M., Ross, Megan L. R., Swann, Christian, Rothwell, Jessica E. and Stevens, Christopher J.. (2022). Athlete perceptions of flavored, menthol-enhanced energy gels ingested prior to endurance exercise in the heat. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 19(1), pp. 580-592. https://doi.org/10.1080/15502783.2022.2117995
AuthorsVogel, Roxanne M., Ross, Megan L. R., Swann, Christian, Rothwell, Jessica E. and Stevens, Christopher J.
Abstract

Background
L-menthol evokes a cooling sensation by activating cold sensing cation channels. Menthol-enhanced fluids can be ergogenic during exercise in the heat by improving thermal perception; hence, the addition of menthol to energy gels may benefit athletes. Previously, unflavored menthol gels were deemed acceptable at 0.1% concentration, but no research has been undertaken on menthol gels with additional flavoring. Therefore, we determined athlete perceptions of flavored energy gels with different menthol concentrations.

Methods
With a randomized, crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, 27 athletes (34.8 ± 6.7 y, 9 females) ingested an energy gel with either 0.1%, 0.3%, 0.5%, or 0.7% menthol concentration, or a non-menthol, flavor-matched placebo (CON), on separate occasions before outdoor exercise. Gels were rated for cooling sensation, irritation, flavor, and overall experience on 100-point sensory and hedonic labeled magnitude scales. The duration of any cooling sensation was also reported.

Results
All menthol gels delivered a greater cooling sensation compared to CON (7.4 ± 8.1 AU) with a significantly greater response for 0.7% (59.9 ± 20.5 AU) and 0.5% (57.7 ± 21.8 AU), compared to all others. Irritation was higher for all menthol gels compared to CON (3.4 ± 7.2 AU) and for 0.7% compared to 0.1% (31.1 ± 31.0 vs. 16.3 ± 21.0 AU, p = 0.041), with none rated above a ‘mild-moderate’ intensity. The menthol gels delivered a significantly longer cooling sensation duration (12.3-19.6 min) versus CON (2.2 ± 4.8 min) with no difference between menthol gels.

Conclusion
A flavored menthol energy gel at 0.1–0.7% concentration provides a cooling sensation for athletes when ingested before exercise. The 0.5% concentration is recommended to maximize the cooling sensation whilst minimizing irritation.

Keywordsendurance; cooling; thermal perception; supplement; mint
Year2022
JournalJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Journal citation19 (1), pp. 580-592
PublisherBioMed Central
ISSN1550-2783
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/15502783.2022.2117995
PubMed ID36458132
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85143128140
PubMed Central IDPMC9707379
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range580-592
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online28 Nov 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted22 Aug 2022
Deposited25 Jan 2023
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