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Amino Acids. 2014 May;46(5):1169-76. doi: 10.1007/s00726-014-1677-3. Epub 2014 Jan 30.

A 7-day oral supplementation with branched-chain amino acids was ineffective to prevent muscle damage during a marathon.

Author information

1
Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Sport Science Institute, Camilo José Cela University, C/Castillo de Alarcon 49, 28692, Villafranca del Castillo, Spain.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a 7-day oral supplementation with branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) to prevent muscle damage during a marathon. Forty-six experienced runners were randomly divided into two groups, one with BCAA supplementation (n = 25, supplemented with 5 g day(-1) of powdered 1:0.5:0.5 leucine:isoleucine:valine, during the 7 days prior to the competition) and the other as a control group (n = 21, supplemented with an isocaloric placebo). Before the marathon race and within 3 min of finishing, leg muscle power was measured with a maximal countermovement jump and a urine sample was obtained. During the race, running pace was measured by means of a time-chip. Myoglobin concentration was determined in the urine samples as an indirect marker of muscle damage. A visual analog scale (0-10 points) was used to assess leg muscle pain during the race. In the BCAA group, the mean running pace during the marathon was similar to the control group (3.3 ± 0.4 vs. 3.3 ± 0.5 m s(-1), respectively, 0.98). The pre- to post-race reduction in muscle power was similar in both BCAA and control groups (-23.0 ± 16.1 vs. -17.3 ± 13.8 %, P = 0.13). Post-race urine myoglobin concentration was similar in both BCAA and control groups (5.4 ± 7.5 vs. 4.5 ± 8.6 μg mL(-1), P = 0.70). Finally, there were no differences between groups in the perceived muscle pain during the race (6 ± 1 vs. 5 ± 1 points, P = 0.80). A 7-day supplementation of BCAA (5 g day(-1)) did not increase the running performance during a marathon. Furthermore, BCAA supplementation was ineffective to prevent muscle power loss, muscle damage or perceived muscle pain during a marathon race.

PMID:
24477835
DOI:
10.1007/s00726-014-1677-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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