The 10 Most Critical Aspects of Glycogen

  1. Provides a Source for Muscle Energy

    1. Energy capacity is directly related to pre-exercise stores of muscle glycogen
    2. This applies to all events – whether short, sharp sessions or long slow sessions
  2. Delays fatigue

    1. Higher pre-exercise levels of glycogen = delayed onset of fatigue
    2. Carbohydrates (CHO) ingested during exercise spares muscle glycogen = delayed onset of fatigue
  3. Limits Immune System Suppression

    1. Cortisol (a hormone released during and post exercise) suppresses immune system and antibody production post exercise
    2. Insulin released in response to CHO intake increases glycogen uptake and blunts the impact of cortisol on the immune system = reduced chance of infection 
  4. Increases Protein Uptake to Muscle

    1. CHO+Protein supplements enable greater uptake of Glycogen and Protein than CHO or Protein supplements alone
  5. Supports More Efficient Muscle Mass Building

    1. Appropriate timing of post-exercise CHO intake increases insulin sensitivity which increases glycogen as well as protein uptake to muscle
    2. This also increases blood flow to muscle, flushing out waste products faster = increased protein synthesis = improved muscle mass rebuilding
  6. Impacts Sarcopenia

    1. Glycogen is a potential indicator of muscle atrophy
    2. It provides fuel for maximizing the impact of strength training on muscle building which reduces the risk and incidence of Sarcopenia
  7. Supports Cognition

    1. Cognitive performance is impacted by fatigue, secondary to low muscle glycogen
    2. Glycogen is the main source of fuel for brain function
  8. Supports Hydration

    1. Post exercise glycogen uptake has been shown to positively impact tissue hydration
  9. Reduces Post Exercise Muscle Damage/Soreness

    1. Optimal glycogen uptake reduces the impact of all three sources of exercise-related muscle damage/soreness
      1. Physical damage through game-related eccentric movements (e.g. rapid changes of direction)
      2. Hormonal damage through the release of cortisol which stimulates muscle breakdown
      3. Biochemical damage through inflammation and the release of free radicals
  10. Reduces Blood Glucose Levels

    1. Following exercise muscles take in glucose from blood and store as glycogen
    2. With appropriate refueling strategies during and post exercise, diabetes patients can ensure adequate blood glucose levels even with extended periods of effort

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us