When glycerol is in the intestines, it attracts water into the gut, softening stools and relieving constipation. When glycerol is in the blood, it attracts water so that the water stays in the body longer. This might help an athlete exercise for longer.
People use glycerol for constipation, improving athletic performance, and for certain skin conditions. It is also used for stroke, obesity, ear infections, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Glycerol is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
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