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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Dec;81(6):2644-50.

Effects of glucose, glucose plus branched-chain amino acids, or placebo on bike performance over 100 km.

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Department of Physical Education, Odense University, Denmark.


This study was undertaken to determine the effects of ingesting either glucose (trial G) or glucose plus branched-chain amino acids (BCAA: trial B), compared with placebo (trial P), during prolonged exercise. Nine well-trained cyclists with a maximal oxygen uptake of 63.1 +/- 1.5 ml O2. performed three laboratory trials consisting of 100 km of cycling separated by 7 days between each trial. During these trials, the subjects were encouraged to complete the 100 km as fast as possible on their own bicycles connected to a magnetic brake. No differences in performance times were observed between the three trials (160.1 +/- 4.1, 157.2 +/- 4.5, and 159.8 +/- 3.7 min, respectively). In trial B, plasma BCAA levels increased from 339 +/- 28 microM at rest to 1,026 +/- 62 microM after exercise (P < 0.01). Plasma ammonia concentrations increased during the entire exercise period for all three trials and were significantly higher in trial B compared with trials G and P (P < 0.05). The respiratory exchange ratio was similar in the three trials during the first 90 min of exercise; thereafter, it tended to drop more in trial P than in trials G and B. These data suggest that neither glucose nor glucose plus BCAA ingestion during 100 km of cycling enhance performance in well-trained cyclists.

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