During the study, 18 of the women received supplemental drinks with 10 grams of dextrose and the other 13 women received a drink with 10 grams of ribose. The women were tracked on how they performed on 2,000-meter rowing time trials over eight weeks.
The women who took the dextrose drink showed a median improvement of 15.2 seconds over eight weeks, compared to a median improvement of 5.2 seconds among the women who took the ribose drink.
The findings open the door for future research, said study author Dr. Michael Macknin, chairman of general pediatrics, Children's Hospital at the Cleveland Clinic.
"This could springboard research into the exact amount of sugar required to optimize performance and what amounts can most effectively enhance the performance of athletes competing in different types of events," Macknin said.
Dextrose is a form of glucose widely used as a sweetener while ribose is a five-carbon sugar often found in fruits.
The study appears in the Jan. 9 issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.
More information: The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports offers advice on sports nutrition.
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