Using Carbohydrate Mouth Rinsing Solutions to Improve Performance during Sprint-Based Running and Cycling: A Literature Review
Carbohydrate mouth rinsing is best defined as flushing a carbohydrate-based solution around the oral cavity for a specified period of time followed by the subsequent expulsion of fluid. In the past decade, ample research has emerged linking carbohydrate mouth rinses to benefits in athletic performance; however, the majority of this research has promoted rinsing carbohydrate-based solutions to enhance moderate-to-high intensity (endurance) activity. More recently, several studies have sought to understand the potential impact that carbohydrate mouth rinsing may have on very-high intensity (sprint-based) activity. The purpose of this review was to evaluate these new sprint-based studies in order to determine the effectiveness of this novel approach on athletic performance enhancement. As of December 2016, nine original studies had been conducted in this specific area and were included in this literature review. Of the nine studies, five were cycling-based and four were running-based sprinting tests. Activity was assessed by peak power output, mean power output, time, distance, and electromyograpic measures. Based on current evidence, it appears unlikely that carbohydrate mouth rinsing will enrich performance during sprint-based activity beyond the potential enhancement of a brief preliminary sprint (zero- to five-seconds), although, the benefits garnered in this initial sprint may come at the expense of forthcoming performance. Future studies should use larger and more diverse sample sizes to clarify the relationship between carbohydrate mouth rinsing and sprint-based performance.