The Science Behind Energel+
A Scientifically formulated carbohydrate-electrolyte gel
The three major nutrition factors associated with fatigue in most sporting events are(a) muscle glycogen depletion, (c) hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level), and (c)dehydration. As a consequence, athletes have been encouraged to start sporting events with their muscle and liver glycogen stores as full as possible, and also to beas hydrated as possible – indeed the ACSM guidelines have encouraged this for many years (ACSM, 2009). Furthermore, ensuring blood glucose levels are maintained during the latter stages of performance/training and attempting to keep hydrated are challenges facing athletes. The consequences of these established scientific facts has been the development and use of a multiplicity of sports drinks,which in many cases have been shown to be efficacious.
In recent years the ingestion of carbohydrate in the form of a gel has become more prevalent (Haveman & Goedecke, 2008). As a result it is possible to manipulate carbohydrate and fluid intake independently – the carbohydrate arising from the gel,and the fluid from additional water ingestion. There is evidence that taking a gel results in greater amounts of carbohydrate consumption compared with a carbohydrate solution (Pfeiffer et al., 2010), and that a carbohydrate gel can improve performance (Campbell et al., 2008; Earnest et al., 2004; Patterson & Gray, 2007;Phillips et al., 2012). Such improvements in performance may be due to maintenance of blood glucose levels and/or hydration (MacLaren & Morton, 2013).What is also interesting is that despite a greater amount of carbohydrate being available via a gel, there is no increase in gut discomfort for most individuals,although there may be personal variations (Pfeiffer et al., 2009; Phillips et al., 2012).The addition of electrolytes (sodium in particular) helps to drive both fluids and carbohydrate uptake across the small intestine during exercise and at rest (Shi &Passe, 2010).
The formulation of Energel+ has been made in order to contribute carbohydrate availability before, during, and after training or matches and to promote hydration through increased electrolyte intake as long as additional fluid is also imbibed. Keyelectrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium are contained in Energel+to ensure that important components of blood (and muscle) electrolytes are made available – especially since high losses of salt have been observed in athletes with regard to exercise-related muscle cramps. So, Energel+ provides carbohydrate for immediate energy as well as electrolytes to enhance glucose and water up takeacross the gut, and furthermore aids hydration. The quantities of the electrolytes have been determined to be optimal for athletes in a variety of sporting situations.
American College of Sports Medicine (2009). Joint Position Statement on Nutrition &Athletic Performance.
Campbell, C et al (2008). Carbohydrate-supplement form and exercise performance.International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 18: 178-190.
Earnest, CP et al., (2004). Low vs high glycaemic index carbohydrate gel ingestionduring simulated 64-km cycle time trial performance. Journal of Strength andConditioning Research 18: 466-472.
MacLaren, D & Morton, J. (2013). Nutrition in Science and Soccer edited by A. MarkWilliams – chapter 1.
Patterson, SD & Gray, SC (2007). Carbohydrate-gel supplementation and enduranceperformance during intermittent high-intensity shuttle running. International Journalof Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism 17: 445-455.
Pfeiffer, B et al. (2010). Carbohydrate oxidation from carbohydrate gel compared to adrink during exercise. Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise. 42: 2038-2045.
Pfeiffer, B et al. (2009). The effect of carbohydrate gels on gastrointestinal toleranceduring a 16-km run. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism19: 485-503.
Phillips, SM et al. (2012). Carbohydrate gel ingestion improves the intermittentendurance capacity, but not sprint performance, of adolescent team games playersduring a simulated team game protocol. European Journal of Applied Physiology112: 1133-1141.
Shi, X., & Passe,DH (2010). Water and solute absorption from carbohydrateelectrolytesolutions in the human proximal small intestine: a review and statisticalanalysis. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism 20: 427-442.