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Int J Sports Med. 2007 Jun;28(6):531-8. Epub 2007 May 11.

Branched-chain amino acids and arginine supplementation attenuates skeletal muscle proteolysis induced by moderate exercise in young individuals.

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Saga Nutraceuticals Research Institute, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., Yoshinogari, Kanzaki, Saga 842-0195, Japan.

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  • Int J Sports Med. 2007 Jul;28(7):630.


This study aimed at evaluating the effect of a single oral intake of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) with Arg on skeletal muscle protein metabolism during moderate exercise in young individuals. Eight healthy volunteers (4 males and 4 females, means +/- SEM, 26 +/- 1 yrs, 177.8 +/- 3.7 cm, 72.6 +/- 3.9 kg) were studied in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over trial. The subjects performed 3 bouts of 20-min cycling exercise (5-min break between each bout) at 126 +/- 13 W corresponding to 50 % of the maximal work intensity. A single oral supplement of either a BCAA drink containing 2 g of BCAA and 0.5 g of Arg or an isocaloric placebo drink was given at 10 min of the 1st exercise bout. Both arterial and venous blood samples were simultaneously taken from the radial artery and the femoral vein, respectively. Blood flow in the femoral artery was determined using the ultrasound Doppler technique. The blood sampling and blood flow measurements were performed at rest, every 10 min during each exercise bout. Net balance of BCAA and Phe across the leg muscles were measured by the arteriovenous difference method. The BCAA ingestion resulted in increases in both the plasma BCAA concentration and BCAA uptake into the working leg. The Phe release from the leg during exercise significantly increased as compared to the basal level in the placebo trial (0.97 +/- 0.28 vs. 0.23 +/- 0.22 micromol/min, p < 0.05). In the BCAA trial, the cumulative Phe release from the leg during the 3rd exercise bout was significantly lower than that in the placebo trial (5.0 +/- 7.4 vs. 35.9 +/- 13.2 micromol/25 min, p < 0.05). These results suggest that endurance exercise at moderate intensity enhances proteolysis in working muscles, and a single oral intake of 2 g of BCAA with Arg at onset of exercise effectively suppresses exercise-induced skeletal muscle proteolysis.

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