European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 9, pp 1841–1853 | Cite as

Carbohydrate supplementation stabilises plasma sodium during training with high intensity

  • M. SchraderEmail author
  • B. Treff
  • T. Sandholtet
  • N. Maassen
  • V. Shushakov
  • J. Kaesebieter
  • M. Maassen
Original Article



Investigations of the effect of beverages containing carbohydrates, only, on the sodium and fluid balance during intermittent exercise of high intensity are rare. Therefore, we compared the effects of water and carbohydrate supplementation on plasma, blood volume, and electrolyte shifts during intermittent exercise.


Ten male subjects performed an intermittent exercise test twice. In one trial, tap water (4 ml/kg/15 min) was consumed (Plac trial). In the other trial, the same amount of water supplemented with maltodextrin to achieve a 9.1 % carbohydrate solution (CHO trial) was ingested. Training schedule: warm-up at 50 % for 15 min. Afterwards, power changed between 100 % of the maximum power from a previous incremental test minus 10 and 10 W for each 30 s. Venous blood was sampled to measure electrolytes, osmolality, [protein], hct, [Lactate], [glucose], [Hb] and catecholamines. Hydration status was evaluated by BIA before and after exercise.


After beverage ingestion [glucose] was significantly higher in CHO until the end of the trial. Starting with similar resting values, osmolality increased significantly more during CHO (p = 0.002). PV decreased by 5 % under both conditions, but recovered partly during exercise under Plac (p = 0.002). [Na+] and [Cl] decreased with Plac during exercise (both p < 0.001) but remained constant during exercise with CHO.


Sole carbohydrate supplementation seems to stabilise plasma [Na+]. This cannot be explained simply by a cotransport of glucose and [Na+], because that should lead to a recovery of the blood and plasma volume under CHO. In contrast, this was found during exercise with Plac.


Intermittent exercise Carbohydrate supplementation Hyponatremia Hydration status 



Capillary concentration of…


Venous concentration of…




Analysis of variance


Bio impedance analysis


Blood volume


Continuous endurance training




Extracellular water


High-intensity high-volume training


High-intensity interval training


High-intensity training


Intracellular water


Kilogram/body weight






Placebo = water


Plasma volume


Total body water





We thank Hannelore Konrad for her invaluable technical support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report that there were no conflicts of interest during this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Schrader
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. Treff
    • 1
  • T. Sandholtet
    • 1
  • N. Maassen
    • 1
    • 3
  • V. Shushakov
    • 1
    • 3
  • J. Kaesebieter
    • 2
  • M. Maassen
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Sports MedicineHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  2. 2.Data InputPöckingGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Sports ScienceLeibniz University HannoverHannoverGermany

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