|Image 1: An Under Armour Performance Mouthpiece - hitherto not a bodybuilder's 1st choice from the Under Armour line-up; something that may change when Cutler & co get wind of its effects on post exercise cortisol levels ;-)|
In a very recent paper that is soon to be published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, Dene P. Gardner, Wesley D. Dudgeon and Erica J. Mc Divitt, from the Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Science at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, report the results of an experiment that may well provide some insights into the performance enhancing effects of a piece of equipment that was originally invented to protect the teeth and jaws of boxers, football players and other athletes engaging in full-contact sports (Garner. 2011).
|Illustration 1: Exercise protocol used in the study (adapted from Garner. 2011)|
As the data in figure 1 goes to show, there was indeed a direct interaction between mouthpiece-use and cortisol levels.
|Figure 1: Cortisol response (expressed relative to pre-values) to identical 1h exercise bouts with and without a custom-fit Under Armour Performance Mouthpiece in 28 collegiate football players (data calculated based on Garner. 2011)|
|Image 3: The temporomandibular joint|
[...] leads to the activation of the motor area of the cerebrum, which then resulted in a decreased hypothalamic–pituitary response and thereby a reduction in cortisol releaseas it has already been proposed by Hori et al. (Hori. 2004). Another possible explanation is related to earlier findings from Garner's laboratory, which showed that
[...] this product [the custom-fit Performance Mouthpiece] speciﬁcally creates a forward movement and increased space between the upper and lower teeth leading to improved airway dynamics.which is why the scientists cite "the repositioning of the mandible and the improved airway response" as another possible explanation for the favorable post-exercise cortisol response.
|Image 3: Although this is common practice and nothing shady, it is important to note that this research was "partially supported" by BiteTech, the manufacturer of the mouthpiece used in the study|