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: 0.97). 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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    • "Branched-chain amino acids (valine, leucine, and isoleucine; BCAAs) are abundant and catabolized in the skeletal muscle, and they help to inhibit protein breakdown [4] and enhance protein synthesis [5]. BCAAs have been reported in many studies to attenuate DOMS and muscle damage induced by exercise [4,6-11]. Shimomura et al. reported that BCAA supplementation prior to squat exercises decreased DOMS within a few days after exercise [7,8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have evaluated the effectiveness of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation for preventing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscle damage induced by eccentric exercise, their findings have been inconclusive. Since taurine has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, the present study investigated the combined effect of BCAA and taurine on DOMS and muscle damage. Thirty-six untrained male subjects (22.5 +/- 3.8 years) were assigned to four groups (placebo + placebo [placebo], BCAA + placebo, placebo + taurine, and BCAA + taurine [combined]) and given a combination of 3.2 g BCAA (or placebo) and 2.0 g taurine (or placebo), three times a day, for two weeks prior to and three days after eccentric elbow flexor exercises. DOMS and muscle damage in the biceps brachii were subjectively and objectively evaluated using the visual analogue scale (VAS), upper arm circumference (CIR), and blood parameters (creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase [LDH], aldolase, and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine [8-OHdG]). In the combined group, VAS and 8-OHdG two days after exercise, CIR two and three days after exercise and LDH from one to three days after exercise were significant lower than the placebo group. The area under the curve from before exercise to four days later for CIR, LDH, and aldolase was also significant lower in the combined group than in the placebo group. A combination of 3.2 g BCAA and 2.0 g taurine, three times a day, for two weeks prior to and three days after exercise may be a useful nutritional strategy for attenuating exercise-induced DOMS and muscle damage.
    Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 11/2013; 10(1):51. DOI:10.1186/1550-2783-10-51 · 1.91 Impact Factor
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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
    International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching 03/2013; DOI:10.5923/j.sports.20130301.02 · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    • "Previous studies of nutritional interventions with supplementation of amino acids during physical training have been published. BCAA supplementation was reported to increase endurance capacity in trained individuals [18,19], but this result was not supported by other studies [20,21]. In addition, the combination of the keto analog and amino acid supplementation was reported to attenuate the increase in blood ammonia concentration after an exercise bout [8,22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Exercise causes a variety of physiological and metabolic changes that can in turn reduce exercise tolerance. One of the potential mechanisms responsible for fatigue is "exercise-induced hyperammonemia". Previous studies have shown that supplementation with amino acids can increase training tolerance. The α-keto acids are biochemical analogs of amino acids and can be converted to amino acids through transamination, thus reducing the cellular ammonia level. This double blind, placebo-controlled study was designed to investigate the effects of α-keto acid supplementation (KAS) on training tolerance, training effect, and stress-recovery state. Thirty-three untrained young male adults underwent four weeks of training (5 sessions/week; 30 minutes running at the individual anaerobic threshold followed by 3 x 3 minute sprints/each session). Throughout the 4 weeks of training and one week of recovery, subjects took α-ketoglutarate (AKG group, 0.2 g/kg/d, n = 9), branched-chain keto acids (BCKA group, 0.2 g/kg/d, n = 12) or isocaloric placebo (control group, n = 12) daily. The 4th week training volume, maximum power output and muscle torque were higher in the AKG group (175 ± 42 min, 412 ± 49 Watts and 293 ± 58 Newton meters, respectively, P<0.05) and the BCKA group (158 ± 35, 390 ± 29 and 273 ± 47, P<0.05) than in the control group (92 ± 70, 381 ± 67 and 233 ± 43). The general stress and emotional exhaustion as assessed by the rest-stress-questionnaire-sport after the 3rd week of training increased significantly in the control group (P<0.05), but not in the KAS groups. Under KAS, subjects could bear a higher training volume and reach a higher power output and peak muscle torque, accompanied by a better stress-recovery-state. Thus, KAS improves exercise tolerance and training effects along with a better stress-recovery state. Whether the improved training tolerance by KAS is associated with effects on ammonia homeostasis requires further observation.
    Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 08/2012; 9(1):37. DOI:10.1186/1550-2783-9-37 · 1.91 Impact Factor
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