The use of nicotine administered through smokeless tobacco (snus) has increased among athletes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the ergogenic effects of snus on aerobic performance during exercise until exhaustion in athletes after abstinence or satiety nicotine conditions. The study utilised a randomised, controlled, within-subject design experiment. Sixteen male snus-user athletes completed an exercise until exhaustion at a constant load of their 80% of VO2max (calculated by a maximal incremental test) in two separate sessions, corresponding to nicotine conditions: 12-hour overnight abstinence and satiety. A portion of 1 g of snus (~ 8 mg/g of nicotine) was administered 25 minutes before each experimental test. In each session, time to exhaustion (TTE), global rating of perceived exertion, cardiovascular and metabolic responses, and muscle and cerebral oxygenation were measured. Nicotine and cotinine analysis confirmed session conditions (abstinence or satiety). Snus induced a significant increase (+13.1%) of TTE following abstinence (24.1 ± 10.7 min) compared to satiety condition (20.9 ± 8.0 min; P=0.0131). The baseline values revealed that abstinence of snus induced significant increase in the oxygenation of the muscular tissues (+4%), in metabolic values and in cardiovascular parameters, when compared to satiety condition. Our results indicate an increase of exercise performance (+13.1% TTE) due to snus administration in an abstinence condition. Considering that twelve hours of abstinence from snus-contained nicotine affected metabolic, cardiovascular and muscular tissue oxygenation, we suggest that snus administration at test time might relieve these withdrawal changes and yield an increase in time to exhaustion. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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