Why Hydrogels Yield Higher Performance in Runners

An age-old dilemma for endurance athletes: How to fuel long runs without diverting your route to the nearest Porta-Potty? Some sports goos, chews and bars can cause GI distress akin to inhaling a White Castle Crave Case. Luckily, you can side-step stomach woes and max out performance by consuming hydrogels, a carbohydrate supplement that’s more easily absorbed by your gut without the urgent need to hit the loo, per new research in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Maurten sells convenient packs for on-the-go fuel.

In the study, runners who consumed hydrogels after a two-hour run were then able to complete a 5K time trial 7.6 percent faster than those who didn’t consume the gel, and more than 2 percent faster than runners who drank a traditional sports drink.

“The data shows that ingesting carbohydrate in hydrogel form led to a significant increase in the amount of carbohydrate being utilized as fuel compared to a standard carbohydrate solution,” says lead study author Josh Rowe.

Hoping to stock up on hydrogels for your upcoming marathon? Swedish company Maurten currently holds the patent on this technology.

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