What do you make of some athletes using nicotine patches to enhance performance?
I wanna know,as two days ago,I quit smoking (again!) and started using them.I feel energised and pumped,and broke some personal bests (even from before when I didn't smoke) but then that is probably caused by the extra oxygen in my lungs/blood from quitting cigarettes,I guess.
'Nicotine probably isn't the first substance you'd think of as being popular among cyclists, but according to researchers at Birmingham University, wearing a nicotine patch before and during exercise may significantly increase endurance performance.
It has long been known that nicotine improves co-ordination and cognitive performance, but its effects on endurance hadn't been previously studied. The Birmingham researchers had 12 moderately-trained, non-smoking individuals, cycle to exhaustion wearing either a regular 7mg transdermal nicotine patch for eight hours before and during exercise, or a replica placebo.
To their surprise, the scientists found that 10 out of the 12 subjects cycled for longer with the nicotine patch on, resulting, on average, in a huge 17% improvement in time to exhaustion.
Because they could find no difference in other physiological markers, such as perceived exertion, heart rate, concentrations of plasma glucose, lactate or circulating fatty acids, they concluded that the improvement must be down to the nicotine sending a message to the brain rather than any boost to the muscles or cardiovascular system.
"The results are similar to those who have looked at the effects of caffeine on exercise who also found similar improvements," says Dr. Matt Bridge, one of the main researchers on the study. "Both nicotine and caffeine are well known to be central stimulants and to provide a 'kick' that leads to exercise feeling more pleasurable and a subsequent increase in effort and performance."
You don't have to be a smoker trying to kick the habit to benefit. Dr. Bridge insists that there are no inherent dangers in using nicotine patches, though he suggests that cyclists consult their doctor first.'