Skip to main content

A physician's report on Crank e-Gels


I commented on Crank brand electrolyte gels in an earlier post.  

Endurance sport friend, physician and vascular surgeon David Campbell came forward with some hard science on e-Gels.  Check out his excellent summation:

Here is my 2 cents worth on the Crank gels. Personally I really like the stuff. 

The amino acid idea is an interesting idea. Amino acids can be used to produce "energy" ( which is in biochemistry terms is ATP or adenosine triphosphate) via the Krebs cycle. The most effective fuel for making ATP is glucose or more commonly known as fructose. Glucose is stored in the body mostly as glycogen in the liver. As you know, most of us have about 2000 cal of glycogen available before our body must switch to alternative energy sources such as fats and proteins. Consequently, fructose supplements are just like having some additional glycogen on board. The limiting factor is how fast your bowel can absorb the fructose into your system.Crank's primary benefit definitely comes from having 150 cal of fructose in a easily packaged and easily consumable package. 

The addition of amino acids is an interesting idea. Proteins are composed entirely of amino acids. Crank has an amino acid "blend" of leucinevalineisoleucine andhistadine. I think this is what you refered to as GU-Roctane which is a pretty cool name for promotional purposes. The amino acids do not provide any real "buffering" capacity (ie neutralization of acids such as lactate from anaerobic metabolism) but the might cut down on the cannibalization of our own body proteins when we use up all our stored glycogen from prolonged exercise. 

The addition of vitamin C and E work as antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize oxygen radicals produced as cellular waste products. Vitamin B6 can be a energy booster but I can't recall the exact mechanism. I think on a practical basis you can get the same benefit from vitamin supplements prior to the event. The vitamins can't hurt but I wonder about their real benefit during a race?

Crank has no caffeine which is fine, but personally, I would like to see a product with caffeine as well like Hammer does. A nice caffeine jolt works for me after a couple hours of exercise. I was glad this "energy gel" does not have similar energy additives as   found in Red Bull or Monster ( such as taurine). That stuff seems to have a detrimental effect on endurance performance in my experience. 

The electrolyte composition seems pretty reasonable. The potassium is especially helpful for endurance events. 

I have a good friend who is an anesthesiologist at UC San Diego and is also a big marathon runner. He is up on ALL the biochemistry stuff. I'll see if he has any other comments about Crank. I think he uses Hammer but I'm sure he would like to give Crank a try. 

Aside from all the above, I gotta give credit to the Crank people on their marketing. No matter if the effect is  real or perceived, they do a nice job of convincing you that you "need" their product.

Comments

  1. That sounds fantastic. I love hearing a ringing endorsement for a product I've used for years now. Good call Tom!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Scott Jurek ate vegan, won ultras...then got divorced

(Disclaimer:  I am a Brooks-supported athlete; as part of that relationship, I was provided a complimentary copy of "Eat & Run")

I was recently on a few flights making my way home to Wisconsin and en route was able to plow through Scott Jurek's new book "Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness."

It's a fast, enjoyable read. I've been around the ultra scene for a long time and have known some of the greats, i.e. ultra champ Eric Clifton. So it's always interesting to see how the world looks from another icon's point of view.

My thoughts in no particular order:

1) I've been vegetarian/borderline vegan for 12 years and have always been concerned with protein intake.  Jurek advocates for the protein he naturally induces through his plant-based diet.  Maybe that is enough. Maybe it's not necessary to bang down 100+ grams of protein supplement every day. Good info and good advice.

2) I'm buying on big time to Scot…

Nothing to see here, folks

It's been a long time since I've been active on my blog. To be honest, I got tired of putting in the work, creating content, with so little feedback or response. Time to divert to other things...such as my new fiction book, coming out soon. Part horror story, part steamy romance. You'll definitely want a copy.

There's another reason I haven't been posting. My endurance spirit is broken.

Some medical issues, some sadness is loss of speed. I don't have much range left in my pulse rate and I have put on a blob of weight.

I "ran" my 10 mile loop this morning...in 2:18. Is that ugly, or what? An overall fatigue follows the run. I remember a few years ago, I'd bang it out in straight 9's for a 1:30 - and at that time had a long section of medium effort trail included, too.

It's the new normal. It's age appropriate. I'll be 59 in two weeks. Let's get real.

Rode my mountain bike Sunday after church. Don't know what I hit but I went…

Break(down)

You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…