High-intensity interval training (HIIT) gains increasing popularity in patients with diabetes. HIIT acutely increases plasma lactate levels. This may be important, since administration of lactate during hypoglycemia suppresses symptoms and counterregulation, whilst preserving cognitive function. We tested the hypothesis that HIIT acutely reduces awareness of hypoglycemia and attenuates hypoglycemia-induced cognitive dysfunction. In a randomized crossover trial, patients with type 1 diabetes and normal awareness of hypoglycemia (NAH), patients with impaired awareness of hypoglycemia (IAH), and healthy participants (n=10 per group) underwent a hyperinsulinemic-hypoglycemic (2.6 mmol/L) clamp, either after a HIIT session or after seated rest. Compared to rest, HIIT reduced symptoms of hypoglycemia in patients with NAH, but not in healthy participants or patients with IAH. HIIT attenuated hypoglycemia-induced cognitive dysfunction, which was mainly driven by changes in the NAH subgroup. HIIT suppressed cortisol and growth hormone responses, but not catecholamine responses to hypoglycemia. The present findings demonstrate that a single HIIT session rapidly reduces awareness of subsequent hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes and NAH, but not in patients with IAH, and attenuates hypoglycemia-induced cognitive dysfunction. The role of exercise-induced lactate in mediating these effects, potentially serving as an alternative fuel for the brain, should be further explored.
- Received December 12, 2016.
- Accepted April 11, 2017.
- © 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.