Background Age-related muscle loss is characterised by a progressing decrease in muscle mass, strength and function. Besides resistance training and physical activity, appropriate nutrition that is rich in protein, especially branched-chain amino acids, is very important to support training effects and positively influence the protein synthesis to degradation ratio.
Aim The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a 12-week leucine-rich amino acid supplementation in combination with moderate training.
Methods Forty-eight healthy subjects exercised for 30 min three times per week and received either a leucine-rich amino acid supplementation or a placebo. Before and after supplementation, volunteers performed an exhaustive eccentric exercise protocol. Maximal concentric strength, muscle soreness, creatine kinase (CK), type II collagen collagenase cleavage neoepitope (C2C), C propeptide of type II procollagen (CP2) and safety assessments were performed before exercise and after 3, 24, 48 and 72 hours.
Results The supplementation with leucine resulted in reduced loss of strength at 0 and 3 hours after downhill walking compared with the placebo (p=0.0439). The reduction of C2C/CP2 ratio deflection was significantly increased (p=0.038) due to leucine compared with the placebo. The same tendency could be observed for the recovery phase. No significant supplement effects for muscle soreness and CK could be observed.
Conclusion The principle findings show that leucine-rich amino acid supplementation can counteract the negative effects of eccentric exercise. The treatment resulted in a reduction of exercise-induced strength loss.
- Muscular fatigue
- Joint protection
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Acknowledgement We would like to thank all volunteers who took part in this study.
Contributors CAR, CSchoen, NB, AS and WWA were responsible for study planning, study realisation, data analysis and reporting. CScholz contributed to discussions about the study design prior to the start of the study. CAR wrote the first manuscript, and all other authors critically reviewed the manuscript and contributed with suggestions.
Funding The study was sponsored by Seven Seas. Seven Seas provided the food supplement (study medication) used in the study.
Competing interests The sponsor contributed to discussion about study design and selection of outcome measures prior to study start. During the measurements and data analysis, all data were completely blinded. Measurements and data analysis were executed by CRO BioTeSys GmbH and the Department of Sport and Exercise Science of the University of Stuttgart.
Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the ethical committee of the Landesärztekammer Baden-Württemberg prior to the study of the start.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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