Topical application of L-Menthol – Physiological and genetic considerations to assist in developing female athlete research: A narrative review

Article


Villegas-Serna, T., Wilson, L. and Curtis, C. 2024. Topical application of L-Menthol – Physiological and genetic considerations to assist in developing female athlete research: A narrative review. Journal of Thermal Biology. 119. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtherbio.2023.103758
TypeArticle
TitleTopical application of L-Menthol – Physiological and genetic considerations to assist in developing female athlete research: A narrative review
AuthorsVillegas-Serna, T., Wilson, L. and Curtis, C.
Abstract

L-menthol is a cyclic monoterpene derived from aromatic plants, which gives a cooling sensation upon application. With this in mind, L-menthol is beginning to be considered as a potential ergogenic aid for exercise and sporting competitions, particularly in hot environments, however female-specific research is lacking. The aim of this narrative review is to summarize available literature relating to topical application of L-menthol and provide commentary on avenues of consideration relating to future research developments of topical L-menthol in female athletes. From available studies in male participants, L-menthol topical application results in no endurance exercise performance improvements, however decreases in thermal sensation are observed. Mixed results are observed within strength performance parameters. Several genetic variations and single nucleotide polymorphisms have been identified in relation to sweat production, fluid loss and body mass changes – factors which may influence topical application of L-menthol. More specifically to female athletes, genetic variations relating to sweat responses and skin thickness, phases of the menstrual cycle, and body composition indices may affect the ergogenic effects of L-menthol topical application, via alterations in thermogenic responses, along with differing tissue distribution compared to their male counterparts. This narrative review concludes that further development of female athlete research and protocols for topical application of L-menthol is warranted due to physiological and genetic variations. Such developments would benefit research and practitioners alike with further personalized sport science strategies around phases of the menstrual cycle and body composition indices, with a view to optimize ergogenic effects of L-menthol.

KeywordsThermoregulation; Exercise; Performance; Sweat; Menstrual cycle
Sustainable Development Goals5 Gender equality
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
LanguageEnglish
PublisherElsevier
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
ISSN0306-4565
1879-0992
Publication dates
Online23 Nov 2023
PrintJan 2024
Publication process dates
Submitted12 Jun 2023
Accepted16 Nov 2023
Deposited24 Nov 2023
Output statusPublished
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Open
Accepted author manuscript
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Copyright Statement

Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0)

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtherbio.2023.103758
PubMed ID38070272
Web of Science identifierWOS:001132538700001
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