Mouthwash Could Be Detrimental To Your Health, Particularly Post Workout

"You're hurting your gains."

Mouthwash Could Be Detrimental To Your Health, Particularly Post Workout

From avoiding cardio to not drinking coffee, there are a lot of things we’ve been told might help us in the pursuit of gains. Thanks to a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, there is now a new theory doing the rounds: antiseptic mouthwash could be decreasing your gains.

Max Lugavere, a journalist turned author (turned nutrition coach), has his fingers in a lot of pies. He recently appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience – one of the most listened to podcasts in the world – to let Joe slurp some of his knowledge.

During the podcast, Lugavere spoke about a common habit that he believes is impinging on many people’s health (and gains).

One thing Lugavere thinks not enough people are talking about is, in his words, “how detrimental the frequent use of antiseptic mouthwash can be – particularly post workout.”

“I go to a gym and there’s mouthwash in the cleanup area and I look at all the people swishing and I’m like ‘you’re hurting your gains by doing that post-workout.'”

Max Lugavere

Lugavere explained that antiseptic mouthwash “nukes” the bacteria in your mouth – both good and bad. Lugavere claims this can impact your blood pressure, because there is a certain oral microbiome that is a key component in the process of reducing your blood pressure and increasing blood flow – two things that typically happen after a workout.

Lugavere also said that when the bacteria in your body is healthy, you are easily able to eat foods that are rich in compounds like nitrates (think: dark leafy greens) because you have good oral bacteria to break down the nitrates these foods carry.

However, if you frequently swish with antiseptic mouthwash, you’re “nuking indiscriminately” the oral microbiomes that Lugavere believes “are critical in that pathway” or process.

According to one study pulled up by Rogan during the discussion, heavy mouthwash users saw the blood pressure lowering effect of exercise diminished by more than 60% over the first hour of recovery.

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According to Medical News Today, study co-author Craig Cutler said: “[O]ral bacteria are the ‘key’ to opening up the blood vessels. If they are removed, nitrite can’t be produced, and the vessels remain in their current state.”

“These findings show that nitrite synthesis by oral bacteria is hugely important in kick-starting how our bodies react to exercise over the first period of recovery, promoting lower blood pressure and greater muscle oxygenation.”

Craig Cutler

Given 40% of the US population uses antiseptic mouthwash every day, it might be worth scientists looking further into this. Speaking of which: Lugavere also said the excessive use of mouthwash may increase your chances of getting type two diabetes.

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“They’ve done studies to show that frequent users – 2 or more times per day – of antiseptic mouthwash have a 50% increased risk of developing type two diabetes and are doubling of risk for the development of hypertension from just using mouthwash,” Lugavere said.

“That’s an observational study – correlation doesn’t equal causation – but it’s clear people who are using mouthwash regularly are seeing health impingement as a result.”

Lugavere also spoke to Rogan about what he believes we can do to reduce our chances of developing Alzheimer’s, as well as about his nutrition philosophy. He also had a crack at a Tuft’s food compass. Listen to the full episode here.

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