The effects of dietary supplementation of dihydroxyacetone and pyruvate (DHAP) on endurance capacity and metabolic responses during arm exercise were determined in 10 untrained males (20-26 yr). Subjects performed arm ergometer exercise (60% peak O2 consumption) to exhaustion after consumption of standard diets (55% carbohydrate, 15% protein, 30% fat; 35 kcal/kg) containing either 100 g of Polycose (placebo, P) or DHAP (3:1, treatment) substituted for a portion of carbohydrate. The two diets were administered in a random order, and each was consumed for a 7-day period. Biopsy of the triceps muscle was obtained immediately before and after exercise. Blood samples were drawn through radial artery and axillary vein catheters at rest, after 60 min of exercise, and at exercise termination. Arm endurance was 133 +/- 20 min after P and 160 +/- 22 min after DHAP (P less than 0.01). Triceps glycogen at rest was 88 +/- 8 (P) and 130 +/- 19 mmol/kg (DHAP) (P less than 0.05). Whole arm arteriovenous glucose difference (mmol/l) was greater (P less than 0.05) for DHAP than P at rest (0.60 +/- 0.12 vs. 0.05 +/- 0.09) and after 60 min of exercise (1.00 +/- 0.12 vs. 0.36 +/- 0.11), but it did not differ at exhaustion. Neither respiratory exchange ratio nor respiratory quotient differed between trials at rest, after 60 min of exercise, or at exhaustion. Plasma free fatty acid, glycerol, beta-hydroxybutyrate, catecholamines, and insulin were similar during rest and exercise for both diets. Feeding DHAP for 7 days increased arm muscle glucose extraction before and during exercise, thereby enhancing submaximal arm endurance capacity.