The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of pre-exercise carbohydrate (CHO) ingestion on circulating leukocyte numbers, plasma interleukin (IL)-6, plasma cortisol, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated neutrophil degranulation responses in moderately trained male cyclists who completed approximately 1-h of high-intensity cycling. The influence of the timing of pre-exercise CHO ingestion was investigated in 8 subjects who consumed 75 g CHO as a glucose solution at either 15 (–15 trial), or 75 (–75 trial) min before the onset of exercise. The influence of the amount of pre-exercise CHO ingestion was investigated in a further 10 subjects who consumed either 25 g or 200 g CHO as a glucose solution or a placebo 45 min before the onset of exercise. At the onset of exercise in the timing experiment, the plasma glucose concentration was significantly (p < .05) lower on the –75 trial compared with pre-drink values, and the plasma cortisol concentration and neutrophil to lymphocyte (N/L) ratio were significantly (p < .05) elevated in the post-exercise period. In the –15 trial, plasma glucose concentration was well maintained, and the plasma cortisol concentration and N/L ratio were not significantly elevated above resting levels. However, LPS-stimulated neutrophil degranulation was similar in the –15 and –75 trials. The amount of CHO ingested had no effect on the magnitude of the rise in the N/L ratio compared with placebo when consumed 45 min pre-exercise. Finally, although an exercise-induced increase in the plasma IL-6 concentration was observed, this effect was independent of pre-exercise CHO ingestion.
The authors are with the Human Performance Laboratory in the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK. M. Gleeson is now with the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University, Loughborough, LE11 3TU, UK.