Glycerol Supplements

by Georgy Kharchenko

Posted on Wednesday 13th of July 2011

Glycerol, also known as glycerin, is an alcohol compound that is most commonly found in the diet as a component of fat or triglycerides and serves as the backbone onto which fatty acid molecules are attached. Glycerol is marketed as a dietary aid for "hyperhydrating" the body by increasing blood volume and helping to delay dehydration. Therefore, endurance athletes training and competing in hot, humid environments might be interested in the common claims for glycerol that it can increase blood volume, enhance temperature regulation, reduce dehydration, and improve exercise performance in the heat.

For endurance athletes engaged in strenuous training or competition in hot environments, consumption of glycerol-containing beverages may help hydrate tissues, increase blood volume, and delay the fatigue and exhaustion associated with dehydration.

Several studies support the theory that glycerol added to fluids will increase tissue hydration compared with drinking fluid without glycerol added. Following glycerol consumption, heart rate and body core temperature are lower during exercise in the heat (Jimenez 1999), suggesting an ergogenic (performance-enhancing) effect. In long-duration activities, such as running and cycling in the heat, a larger supply of stored water may lead to a delay in dehydration and exhaustion (Wagner, 1999). Both laboratory and field studies confirm the modestly ergogenic effects of glycerol on endurance performance (Inder 1998; Meyer 1995; Montner 1996). Glycerol supplements can be purchased at online. It is important to note that these benefits, although noted for trained endurance athletes exercising in hot, humid environments, are not necessarily observed in athletes who are less well trained or are exercising in more temperate climates (Arnall and Goforth, 1993; Wagner, 1999).

No significant adverse side effects are associated with glycerin diluted with fluids, but some subjects may experience headaches, nausea, and diarrhea following glycerol consumption (Wagner, 1999).

In patients for whom increased blood volume may be undesirable, including those with conditions such as pregnancy, high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease, glycerol supplementation should be avoided. Because the recommended dose of glycerol relates to the amount of total body water, larger people typically require more glycerol to obtain the desired hydration effects. Approximately 1 g of glycerin per kilogram (2.2 Ib) of body weight is diluted in 20-25 ml of liquid.


fi-Hydroxy-£-methylbutyrate is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine and is found in the diet in small amounts in protein-rich foods like fish and milk. Depending on total protein and leucine intake, HMB production in the body may average about 0.25 to 1 g/day. Because HMB is thought to be the active form of leucine, it is promoted as a supplement to help regulate protein metabolism and reduce muscle breakdown during intense exercise.

Athletes trying to minimize protein losses and muscle breakdown may want to consider HMB, particularly during high-intensity periods of resistance and endurance training and following long-duration competitions such as marathon running. The primary drawback of HMB is the large amount needed (3-6 g/day) to slow muscle loss and its high cost at those doses.

There is some evidence that HMB reduces muscle catabolism and may protect against muscle damage in various situations, including cancer-related wasting (May et al, 2002), AIDS-related wasting (Clark 2000), resistance and weight training (Jowko 2001; Panton 2000), and prolonged running (Knitter 2000). Studies suggest no benefit of HMB supplements in reducing muscle damage and loss (Paddon-Jones 2001). In most studies, indicators of postexercise muscle damage, such as blood creatine kinase levels, are typically reduced in subjects consuming HMB. This may indicate a reduced level of muscle damage and could lead to improved muscle function. Research in animals (cattle, pigs, and poultry) and humans suggest that inhibition of muscle damage by HMB increases muscle mass and strength.

One study (Panton 2000) looked at HMB supplements (versus placebo) in 39 men and 36 women (aged 20-40 years). Subjects received 3 g/day of HMB while training 3 times per week for 4 weeks. In the HMB group, blood levels of creatine phosphokinase (an indicator of muscle damage) were reduced compared with the placebo group, and both upper-body strength and fat-free mass were increased. Overall, the study shows that a short-term period of HMB supplementation can increase upper-body strength and minimize muscle damage when combined with an exercise program in both men and women. Other studies have replicated these findings in subjects ranging from 18 to 70 years of age who undergo muscle-damaging exercise for periods of 3-8 weeks (Vukovich 2001).

No side effects have been reported in animal studies (which have used large doses of HMB for several weeks) or in human studies using as much as 6 g/day (Gallagher 2000a, 2000b). The recommended dose is based on the effective levels noted in clinical studies and ranges from 3-6 g/day taken in two or three divided doses.

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