Metformin improves performance in high-intensity exercise, but not anaerobic capacity in healthy male subjects

S K Learsi, V J Bastos-Silva, A E Lima-Silva, R Bertuzzi, G G De Araujo
Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology 2015, 42 (10): 1025-9
The aim of this study was to determine the ergogenic effects of metformin in high-intensity exercise, as well as its effects on anaerobic capacity, in healthy and physically active men. Ten subjects (mean (± standard deviation) maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max ) 38.6 ± 4.5 mL/kg per min) performed the following tests in a cycle ergometer: (i) an incremental test; (ii) six submaximal constant workload tests at 40%-90% (V˙O2max ); and (iii) two supramaximal tests (110% (V˙O2max ). Metformin (500 mg) or placebo was ingested 60 min before the supramaximal test. There were no significant differences between the placebo and metformin groups in terms of maximum accumulated oxygen deficit (2.8 ± 0.6 vs 3.0 ± 0.8 L, respectively; P = 0.08), lactate concentrations (7.8 ± 2.6 vs 7.5 ± 3.0 mmol/L, respectively; P = 0.75) or O2 consumed in either the last 30 s of exercise (40.4 ± 4.4 vs 39.9 ± 4.0 mL/kg per min, respectively; P = 0.35) or the first 110 s of exercise (29.0 ± 2.5 vs 29.5 ± 3.0 mL/kg per min, respectively; P = 0.42). Time to exhaustion was significantly higher after metformin than placebo ingestion (191 ± 33 vs 167 ± 32 s, respectively; P = 0.001). The fast component of V˙O2 recovery was higher in the metformin than placebo group (12.71 vs 12.18 mL/kg per min, respectively; P = 0.025). Metformin improved performance and anaerobic alactic contribution during high-intensity exercise, but had no effect on overall anaerobic capacity in healthy subjects.


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