Effects of coca chewing on hormonal and metabolic responses during prolonged submaximal exercise
Homstedt B, Lindgren JE, Rivier L, Plowman T
J Appl Physiol 1996 Feb; 80(2):650-5


The effects of coca chewing on prolonged submaximal exercise responses were investigated in chronic coca chewers and compared with a group of nonchewers. At rest, coca chewing during a 1-h period was followed by a significant increase in blood glucose, free fatty acid, and norepinephrine concentrations and a significant reduction in insulin plasma level. During prolonged (1-h) submaximal (65-70% peak O2 uptake) exercise, chewers displayed a significantly greater adrenergic activation (as evidenced by a higher level of plasma epinephrine) and an increased use of fat (as evidenced by a lower respiratory exchange ratio). The gradual increase in oxygen uptake (O2 drift) commonly observed during prolonged exercise was blunted in coca chewers. This blunting in O2 drift is not related to coca-induced changes in ventilatory or lactate responses to exercise but could possible be related to an enhanced glucose utilization by chewers during the late phase of exercise. The present results provide experimental evidence of the physiological effects of coca chewing that could explain the better ability of coca users to sustain strenuous work for an extended period of time.

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