A few milligrams of nicotine makes athletes sprint faster
You do not hear much about it, but quite a few athletes take a dose of nicotine for important training sessions and competitions. [Forensic Sci Int. 2011 Dec 10;213(1-3):73-84.] Of course not in the form of tobacco, but in that of nicotine patches, strips or chewing gum. If you read the research that Australian sports scientists at James Cook University have published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, you will understand why.
The researchers had 16 nicotine naive athletes sprint twice on a bicycle on two different occasions. This meant that the athletes tried to cycle for 30 seconds as hard as possible, rested for 3 minutes and then sprinted for another 30 seconds.
On one occasion the athletes received a placebo 7 minutes before they started sprinting [PLA], on another they got 2 strips, of which each delivered 2.5 milligrams of nicotine. The product the researchers used was Niquitin from Omega Pharma. [niquitin.co.uk]
Administration of nicotine increased the power that the athletes could develop during the sprints. In ordinary English: the athletes became faster.
"In conclusion, a 5 mg dose of nicotine given via a rapidly absorbed oral-dispersible strip significantly increased repeated 30 s bouts of maximal anaerobic exercise", write the Australians.
"This dose of nicotine produced no significant difference in reported side effects following consumption despite significantly increasing both heart rate and blood pressure. Following high-intensity exercise participants reported lower side-effect survey scores with nicotine compared to placebo."
"As such, we conclude that nicotine increased anaerobic exercise capacity through a mix of sympathetic stimulation and central mechanisms, namely increased dopaminergic activity in the reward centre."
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2018 Apr;118(4):681-9.
Cocktail to combat fat for ex-smokers: nicotine plus caffeine 14.09.2014