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Nutrients. 2018 Dec 14;10(12). pii: E1979. doi: 10.3390/nu10121979.

The Effect of Branched-Chain Amino Acids, Citrulline, and Arginine on High-Intensity Interval Performance in Young Swimmers.

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Graduate Institute of Sport Coaching Science, Chinese Culture University, Taipei 114, Taiwan.
Department of Combat Sports and Martial Arts, Chinese Culture University, Taipei 114, Taiwan.
Taipei Municipal Nan Gang High School, Taipei 115, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Sports and Health Management, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan.
Department of Sport Performance, National Taiwan University of Sport, 16, Section 1, Shaun-Shih Road, Taichung 404, Taiwan.


High-intensity interval training has drawn significant interest for its ability to elicit similar training responses with less training volume compared to traditional moderate-intensity protocols. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of co-ingestion of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), arginine, and citrulline on 8 × 50 m high-intensity interval swim performance in trained young swimmers. This study used a randomized cross-over design. Eight male (age 15.6 ± 1.3 years) and eight female (age 15.6 ± 0.9 years) swimmers completed both amino acids (AA) and placebo (PL) trials. The participants ingested 0.085 g/kg body weight BCAA, 0.05 g/kg body weight arginine and 0.05 g/kg body weight citrulline before the swim test in the AA trial. The average 50 m time was significantly shorter in the AA trial than that in the PL trial. The AA trial was faster than the PL trial in the first, second, and the seventh laps. The AA trial showed significantly higher plasma BCAA concentrations and lower tryptophan/BCAA ratio. The other biochemical parameters and ratings of perceived exertion were similar between the two trials. The results showed that BCAA, arginine, and citrulline, allowed the participants to swim faster in a high-intensity interval protocol in young swimmers.


ammonia; central fatigue; nitric oxide; stroke count; stroke rate; tryptophan

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