John Tesh: Menthol Can Enhance Exercise Performance

menthol peppermint

menthol peppermintRadio host John Tesh encouraged his more than 243,000 Twitter followers to use menthol before workouts. According to Tesh, menthol could help invigorate them and make them work harder. In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Tesh wrote:
“Boost your workouts with a swish of minty mouthwash! The menthol makes us feel cool, psychologically, so we exercise harder & faster. #IFYL”

Menthol is a compound obtained from mint oil, such as peppermint.

More than Menthol: Peppermint and Its Effects on Physical and Cognitive Performance

Peppermint has calming effects on the body and mind. Peppermint leaves can also ease a variety of ailments, such as headaches and stomach aches, due to their anti-inflammatory properties and antispasmodic effects.

Researchers recently studied the effects of peppermint on exercise performance and came away with some interesting conclusions. Study results were published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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Twelve healthy men participated in the study. Every day, for a period of 10 days, each participant drank 500 ml of mineral water that contained 0.05 ml of peppermint essential oil.

Researchers observed changes in heart rate, blood pressure and spirometry parameters (i.e. the capacity of air that can be exhaled during a maximal forced expiration effort). A treadmill was used for the exercise test.

Study results revealed that peppermint essential oil was effective on the exercise performance, respiratory rates, and spirometry parameters in the male participants. It helped relax the smooth muscle layer surrounding the bronchi, increased ventilation levels, and improved brain oxygen concentration. Further research is needed but researchers find the results promising.

According to background data provided by the same study—previous research has shown the benefits of peppermint aroma inhaled by mouth and through the nose, specifically its effect on boosting cognitive performance. Peppermint aroma was shown to improve working memory and visual-motor responses.

In other research, the effects of oral peppermint extract on blood lactate levels and muscle pain in the lower leg was studied an hour before a 400 meter running test. Researchers discovered that peppermint had a significant effect on blood lactate levels, and the combination of peppermint oil and ethanol has significant pain-relieving effects.

The next time you’re about to go for a walk or a run, mix a few drops of peppermint oil into carrier oil, such as almond oil or jojoba oil, and rub on the legs (you can do this before and after a run).

It seems that John Tesh is on to something. In addition to menthol and peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil is also good for performance. Research shows that it can help reduce inflammation in tired and strained muscles.

Sources for Today’s Article:

Twitter post. John Tesh. March 15, 2016. 11:29 a.m.
https://twitter.com/JohnTesh/status/709763364625338368.

“5 Essential Oils to Improve Athletic Performance,” Run to the Finish web site;
http://www.runtothefinish.com/2014/06/essential-oils-to-improve-athletic-performance.html, last accessed March 16, 2016.

Meamarbashi, A., et al., “The effects of peppermint on exercise performance,” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2013; doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-15.

Sönmez GT, et al., “Effects of oral supplementation of mint extract on muscle pain and blood lactate,” Biomedical Human Kinetics, 2010, 2: 66-69.