Bitter lemon

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Lemonade containing quinine
Bitter lemon in normal and under UV light ; the quinine it contains makes the liquid glow.

Bitter Lemon ( listen ? / I ) (English for “bitter lemon”) is a carbonated , quinine-containing , milky-cloudy soft drink that is one of the bitter lemonades. Audio file / audio sample

Historical meaning

The drink was originally made from lemons. In the commercial brands today, however, a maximum of a few percent lemon juice is added or citric acid , natural and artificial flavors as substitutes . Bitter lemon tastes bitter thanks to the addition of up to 85 milligrams of quinine per liter. The bitter lemon sold under the Schweppes brand contains 34 mg quinine per liter.

Like tonic water , bitter lemon was previously used by the colonial powers to prevent malaria . The quinine content is much lower today, which is why there is no longer any effective prevention against malaria.

Health risks

If quinine-containing beverages are consumed during pregnancy, the infant can become dependent on quinine, which is evident in the form of severe withdrawal symptoms after birth. The quinine can also induce labor as it stimulates the uterus.

According to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, patients with tinnitus should also avoid large amounts of beverages containing quinine. In the case of hypersensitivity, even small amounts of quinine can cause a wide variety of reactions, such as gastrointestinal (affecting the digestive tract) or neurological (affecting the nervous system) disorders - such as visual disturbances and confusion.

Use in sports

Quinine promotes short-term anaerobic sprint performance, especially in sprints up to approx. 10 seconds. In the anaerobic Wingate test , the performance after mouth rinsing and swallowing a quinine solution (2 mmol quinine in 1 liter of water) in well-trained athletes was significantly 3.5 to 3.7% better than without. This corresponds to about eight times the strength of Schweppes Bitter Lemon . The amount of fluid absorbed was based on the body weight of the exclusively male athletes and was 0.36 ml / kg body weight, which corresponded to between 25 and 35 ml. Quinine is not on the doping index .

Web links

Commons : Bitter lemon  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bitter Lemon - Ingredients
  2. Beverages containing quinine are not for pregnant women! BfR considers appropriate labeling to be necessary. Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, June 7, 2005, accessed on October 16, 2012 .
  3. Arnd Krüger : Sour makes you funny - bitter makes you quick. In: competitive sport. 46, 1, 2016, pp. 31–32.
  4. S. Gam, KJ Guelfi, PA Fournier: Mouth rinsing and ingesting a bitter solution improves sprint cycling performance. In: Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 46 (8), 2014, pp. 1648-1657.