Glycerine and Exercise - Q&A

| Mar 21, 2007

Q: I’m reading “The Diabetic Athlete,” by Sheri Colberg-Ochs. She writes that it’s good for diabetics to take some glycerol (glycerine) when exercising. Is this pure glycerol or is this in powder form? Here in Denmark I can get only the glycerol liquid, and I thought it was a constipation product.

A: “Glycerol (a.k.a., glycerin) is usually only recommended for exercisers who want to “hyperhydrate,” or boost up their body water stores prior to exercising for a long duration in the heat. Otherwise, it’s not necessary and probably not even helpful.

In the United States, glycerol generally comes in powder form. Some companies are mixing it with creatine, suggesting that it facilitates the absorption of creatine for muscle builders. Glycerol is also available as glycerin in liquid form commercially. The specific gravity of glycerin is slightly higher than water, by about 25 percent. When mixing the glycerin with water, the equivalency of 1 gram = 1 milliliter is used, comparable to the conversion of weight to volume for water.”

Sheri Colberg-Ochs, Ph.D.
Assoc. Professor of Exercise Science
ESPER Department
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529

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