Purpose: Carbohydrate ingestion prior and during exercise attenuates exercise-induced interleukin-6. This investigation examined if an analogous effect was evident for interleukin-6 and hepcidin response when carbohydrates were ingested post-exercise.
Methods: In a crossover design, 11 well-trained endurance athletes completed two experimental trials. Participants completed an 8 × 3 min interval running session at 85 % vVO2peak followed by 5 h of monitored recovery. During this period, participants were provided with two 1.2 g kg(-1) carbohydrate beverages at either an early feeding time (immediately post-exercise and 2 h post-exercise) or delayed feeding time (2 h post-exercise and 4 h post-exercise). Venous blood samples were collected pre-, immediately post-, 3 and 5 h post-exercise. Samples were analysed for Interleukin-6, serum iron, serum ferritin and hepcidin.
Results: Interleukin-6 was significantly elevated (p = 0.004) immediately post-exercise compared to baseline for both trials. Hepcidin levels were significantly elevated at 3 h post-exercise (p = 0.001) and 5 h post-exercise (p = 0.002) compared to baseline levels in both trials, with no significant difference between the two conditions and any time point. Serum iron was significantly increased from baseline to immediately post-exercise (p = 0.001) for both trials, with levels decreasing by 3 h (p = 0.025) and 5 h post-exercise (p = 0.001). Serum ferritin levels increased immediately post-exercise compared to baseline (p = 0.006) in both conditions.
Conclusions: The timing and ingestion of post-exercise carbohydrate ingestion do not appear to impact post-exercise interleukin-6 and hepcidin responses; this is likely a result of the interval running task inducing an inflammatory response and subsequent up-regulation of hepcidin.
Keywords: Cytokine; Interval running; Iron metabolism; Nutrition.