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Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system

Pharmacobiochemistry Laboratory, Section of Pharmacology and Pharmacological Biotechnology, Department of Cellular and Molecular, Physiological and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness (Impact Factor: 0.76). 10/2008; 48(3):347-51.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Since the 1980's there has been high interest in branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) by sports nutrition scientists. The metabolism of BCAA is involved in some specific biochemical muscle processes and many studies have been carried out to understand whether sports performance can be enhanced by a BCAA supplementation. However, many of these researches have failed to confirm this hypothesis. Thus, in recent years investigators have changed their research target and focused on the effects of BCAA on the muscle protein matrix and the immune system. Data show that BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis. Muscle damage develops delayed onset muscle soreness: a syndrome that occurs 24-48 h after intensive physical activity that can inhibit athletic performance. Other recent works indicate that BCAA supplementation recovers peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation in response to mitogens after a long distance intense exercise, as well as plasma glutamine concentration. The BCAA also modifies the pattern of exercise-related cytokine production, leading to a diversion of the lymphocyte immune response towards a Th1 type. According to these findings, it is possible to consider the BCAA as a useful supplement for muscle recovery and immune regulation for sports events.

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    • "It has been shown that protein and amino acid supplementation is likely to reduce muscle damage and DOMS induced by exercise. In line with[5], BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects when it comes to the EIMD decrease and muscle-protein synthesis. According to their findings, it is possible to consider BCAA as a useful supplement for muscle recovery. "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Exercise-induced muscle damage occurs when untrained individuals go through strenuous and/or long-duration physical activities. Aim: to investigate the effects of glutamine supplementation on muscle damage, delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle strength after a single exercise session in untrained individuals. Metodology: Twenty healthy male subjects with none experience in strength training in the last 12 months were selected and divided into two groups: Maltodextrine (M; n=10) and Maltodextrine plus Glutamine (MGln; n=10) and were submitted to a strength exercise session conducted with multiple sets (a method that uses more than one set per muscular group). The session was performed 72 h after the strength tests. The exercise was for horizontal shoulder adduction (bench press). The subjects performed nine sets of 6-10 maximal repetition at 75% 1-RM (maximum strength test) and rested for 1 min. ANOVA two-way was performed to compare the factors (group and time). When significant differences was indicated by ANOVA, the post-hoc Tukey HSD was performed to identify where differences occurred. In all tests, the level of significance was P ≤ 0.05. Results: Glutamine concentrations significantly increased in group MGln, the change was 36.6% in the time out set training and after training compared to 30’ before training\supplementations and 41.46% them compared with M group in the time out set training. Group M showed no significant difference in any time evaluated. (p=0.05). Conclusions: ). Thus, it can be concluded that the adopted resistance training protocol was efficient in inducing muscle damage, but, glutamine supplementation did not alter the magnitude of the damage. Keywords Muscle Damage, Glutamine Suplementation, Strength Training
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    • "During prolonged exercise, it has been suggested that lower glutamine plasma concentration is promoted by increases in glutamine uptake in several tissues, mainly the liver, kidneys and some immune cells, while other hypotheses suggest that glutamine release changes in skeletal muscle because of a partial impairment in glutamine syntheses. (Newsholme and Calder 1997; Negro et al. 2008). In according, we found a 50% reduction of glutamine synthetase activity in the soleus muscle 24 h after the last bout of training in rats submitted to moderate exercise training, suggesting that the exercise decreases the glutamine synthesis in skeletal muscle during recovery (dos Santos et al. 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic physical exercise with adequate intensity and volume associated with sufficient recovery promotes adaptations in several physiological systems. While intense and exhaustive exercise is considered an important immunosuppressor agent and increases the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), moderate regular exercise has been associated with significant disease protection and is a complementary treatment of many chronic diseases. The effects of chronic exercise occur because physical training can induce several physiological, biochemical and psychological adaptations. More recently, the effect of acute exercise and training on the immunological system has been discussed, and many studies suggest the importance of the immune system in prevention and partial recovery in pathophysiological situations. Currently, there are two important hypotheses that may explain the effects of exercise and training on the immune system. These hypotheses including (1) the effect of exercise upon hormones and cytokines (2) because exercise can modulate glutamine concentration. In this review, we discuss the hypothesis that exercise may modulate immune functions and the importance of exercise immunology in respect to chronic illnesses, chronic heart failure, malnutrition and inflammation.
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