L-menthol stimulates cutaneous thermoreceptors and induces cool sensations improving thermal comfort, but has been linked to heat storage responses; this could increase risk of heat illness during self-paced exercise in the heat. Therefore, L-menthol application could lead to a discrepancy between behavioral and autonomic thermoregulatory drivers. Eight male participants volunteered. They were familiarized and then completed two trials in hot conditions (33.5 °C, 33% relative humidity) where their t-shirt was sprayed with CONTROL-SPRAY or MENTHOL-SPRAY after 10 km (i.e., when they were hot and uncomfortable) of a 16.1-km cycling time trial (TT). Thermal perception [thermal sensation (TS) and comfort (TC)], thermal responses [rectal temperature (Trec), skin temperature (Tskin)], perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate, pacing (power output), and TT completion time were measured. MENTHOL-SPRAY made participants feel cooler and more comfortable and resulted in lower RPE (i.e., less exertion) yet performance was unchanged [TT completion: CONTROL-SPRAY 32.4 (2.9) and MENTHOL-SPRAY 32.7 (3.0) min]. Trec rate of increase was 1.40 (0.60) and 1.45 (0.40) °C/h after CONTROL-SPRAY and MENTHOL-SPRAY application, which were not different. Spraying L-menthol toward the end of self-paced exercise in the heat improved perception, but did not alter performance and did not increase heat illness risk.
|Journal||Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 2015|