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J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Jul 26;13:30. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0142-y. eCollection 2016.

Post-exercise branched chain amino acid supplementation does not affect recovery markers following three consecutive high intensity resistance training bouts compared to carbohydrate supplementation.

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School of Kinesiology, Molecular and Applied Sciences Laboratory, Auburn University, 301 Wire Road, Office 286, Auburn, AL 36849 USA.
School of Kinesiology, Molecular and Applied Sciences Laboratory, Auburn University, 301 Wire Road, Office 286, Auburn, AL 36849 USA ; Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Auburn Campus, Auburn, AL USA.
American Public University System, School of Health Sciences, Charles Town, WV USA.



Amino acid supplementation has been shown to potentially reduced exercise-induced muscle soreness. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine if branched chain amino acid and carbohydrate (BCAACHO) versus carbohydrate-only sports drink (CHO) supplementation attenuated markers of muscle damage while preserving performance markers following 3 days of intense weight training.


Healthy resistance-trained males (n = 30) performed preliminary testing (T1) whereby they: 1) donated a baseline blood draw, 2) performed knee extensor dynamometry to obtain peak quadriceps isometric and isokinetic torque as well as electromyography (EMG) activity at 60°/s and 120°/s, and 3) performed a one repetition maximum (1RM) barbell back squat. The following week participants performed 10 sets x 5 repetitions at 80 % of their 1RM barbell back squat for 3 consecutive days and 48 h following the third lifting bout participants returned for (T2) testing whereby they repeated the T1 battery. Immediately following and 24 h after the three lifting bouts, participants were randomly assigned to consume one of two commercial products in 600 mL of tap water: 1) BCAAs and CHO (3 g/d L-leucine, 1 g/d L-isoleucine and 2 g/d L-valine with 2 g of CHO; n = 15), or 2) 42 g of CHO only (n = 15). Additionally, venous blood was drawn 24 h following the first and second lifting bouts and 48 h following the third bout to assess serum myoglobin concentrations, and a visual analog scale was utilized prior, during, and after the 3-d protocol to measure subjective perceptions of muscular soreness.


There were similar decrements in 1RM squat strength and isokinetic peak torque measures in the BCAA-CHO and CHO groups. Serum myoglobin concentrations (p = 0.027) and perceived muscle soreness (p < 0.001) increased over the intervention regardless of supplementation. A group*time interaction was observed for monocyte percentages (p = 0.01) whereby BCAA-CHO supplementation attenuated increases in this variable over the duration of the protocol compared to CHO supplementation.


BCAA-CHO supplementation did not reduce decrements in lower body strength or improve select markers of muscle damage/soreness compared to CHO supplementation over three consecutive days of intense lower-body training.


Branched chain amino acids; Immune system; Muscle damage; Resistance training

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