>General Running>Anyone found that the taste of eGel helps with cramping?
There is some evidence that vinegar can help with cramping, and it is believed that the mechanism is a reflex reaction to the taste because the cramps are reduced within seconds, well before the vinegar could be absorbed. Having tried Crank Sports eGel as part of my comparison of energy gels, I noted that the strong sour taste, probably due to the acid content, which made me wonder if the taste of eGel would help with cramping.
I rarely suffer from cramps (the end of national 24 hour championships being the notable exception), so I was looking for other people’s experiences.
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I don't know eGel, but I'll definitely try vinegar on my next long race. 50k, 7400 ft elevation gain, so lots of opportunities for cramping to sneak up on me.
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I found a study that investigates autonomic responses to primary tastes. A bitter taste creates the most significant autonomic response, sour taste was second (citric acid). Interestingly, the bitter agent that they tested, quinine sulfate, used to be sold off-label as a treatment for nocturnal leg cramps (outlawed by FDA in 2007).
Perhaps it is not the quinine itself, but the bitter taste that it leaves, which prevents nocturnal cramps. There are numerous other bitter agents that could be used. Of course, bitter taste is more likely to induce vomiting than sour taste.
You can buy citric acid in bulk, in powdered form. Perhaps carry a small amount and put a bit on your tongue if cramping starts (surprise! it tastes just like sour candy). It would be just yet another baggie of white powder for TSA to find in your luggage.
2013 H1: 7 hours/week base. Q3: Train for goal race. Q4: Goal Race.
Which flavor of Crank eGel was that? I've used 4 of their flavors, and I don't recall one tasting like vinegar (which I loathe).
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