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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Jun;280(6):E982-93.

Postexercise nutrient intake timing in humans is critical to recovery of leg glucose and protein homeostasis.

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Department of Surgery, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


Although the importance of postexercise nutrient ingestion timing has been investigated for glycogen metabolism, little is known about similar effects for protein dynamics. Each subject (n = 10) was studied twice, with the same oral supplement (10 g protein, 8 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat) being administered either immediately (EARLY) or 3 h (LATE) after 60 min of moderate-intensity exercise. Leg blood flow and circulating concentrations of glucose, amino acids, and insulin were similar for EARLY and LATE. Leg glucose uptake and whole body glucose utilization (D-[6,6-2H(2)]glucose) were stimulated threefold and 44%, respectively, for EARLY vs. LATE. Although essential and nonessential amino acids were taken up by the leg in EARLY, they were released in LATE. Although proteolysis was unaffected, leg (L-[ring-2H(5)]phenylalanine) and whole body (L-[1-13C]leucine) protein synthesis were elevated threefold and 12%, respectively, for EARLY vs. LATE, resulting in a net gain of leg and whole body protein. Therefore, similar to carbohydrate homeostasis, EARLY postexercise ingestion of a nutrient supplement enhances accretion of whole body and leg protein, suggesting a common mechanism of exercise-induced insulin action.

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