Saturday, December 11, 2010

Product Review: Gu and Gu Roctane

Gu is one of the oldest and most trusted products for nutritional supplement during endurance activities. Its convenient form and performance makes for a good experience when used correctly. Many people use Gu products infrequently and thus do not see the results that they expect. Well we will review how to use Gu and Gu Roctane followed by some of the science behind the products.

The human body is only able to digest about 50 grams of carbohydrates per hour during exercise. This is the reason both Gu and Gu Roctane contain 25g of carbohydrates per serving and advises to digest two packs per hour of exercise. Consuming more carbohydrates than advised would actually slow digestion and hamper performance! That being said, make sure to take a Gu/Roctane 15 minutes before every 45 minutes to prevent your liver running out of glycogen. That means that on a long run you should take one at 30 minutes, 75 minutes, 2 hours…etc. Hydration is vital when taking any nutritional supplement like Gu/Roctance since you will change the osmotic balance between the bloodstream and muscle cell walls which will cause severe cramping and muscle failure.

What is GU? Gu is formulated with a 4:1 ratio of maltodextrin to fructose ratio which has been shown to digest faster than simple sugars such as table sugar and honey. The quicker your body can utilize these carbohydrates the less muscle glycogen or stored liver carbohydrates will be used, allowing you to save your muscle and liver glycogen reserves for later in the race.
What is different about ROCANE?

Physiology: Higher intensity exercise means more lactic acid and hydrogen ions produced due to your aerobic systems are no longer able keep up with energy production. This forces your body to use its anaerobic systems in order to keep up with energy production, but has the negative side effects of producing lactic acid. Lactic acid buildup can quickly reach a critical level and cellular proteins begin to break down and function incorrectly. This leads to the classic “hitting the wall” that we know all too well.

Amino Acids: While regular GU does not address this Roctane has added an essential amino acid called Histidine which has a positive charged functional group that acts to buffer lactic acid and hydrogen ions allowing you to exercise anaerobically for a longer period of time. With the buffering action it promotes the re-absorption of lactic acid back into the muscles where it can be converted back into the useful form of glucose.

Citrate: Higher levels of citrates have also been added to the Roctane formula. Potassium citrate, sodium citrate and citric acid are all central components to the production of energy in the krebs cycle. The faster your body produces ATP the more energy your muscles have to utilize.

Caffeine: Roctane has added 35 mg of caffeine which is the equivalent of drinking a can of Pepsi or Coke. Caffeine has been shown to increase free fatty acid levels which is the body’s main source of fuel during distance events lasting longer than 20 minutes. Caffeine not only acts as a stimulant, but has also been shown to decrease perception of pain. The decreased pain perception could help to push you beyond your normal pain threshold during a workout or race allowing you to run faster.

Amino Acids: The longer you exercise the more your body utilizes protein as a source of energy. Your body actually starts to breakdown its own muscle to use as fuel. Roctane has added the branch chain amino acids leucine, valine and isoleucine to prevent the catabolic breakdown of muscles and to promote protein synthesis during exercise. Research has also shown that branch chain amino acids may help to decrease fatigue by blocking the transport of tryptophan to the brain thus decreasing the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that depresses your central nervous system and causes feelings of fatigue and sleepiness.

We recommend Gu and especially Roctane as a great choice for the endurance athlete. It supplements your bodies use of glycogen efficiently and will improve performance when used correctly. Make sure to hydrate regularly and Gu products will continue to deliver improved racing. Gu is great and we love it.

Love, 26.2 Running Company

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