Background: Postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis is an important factor in determining the time needed to recover from prolonged exercise.
Objective: This study investigated whether an increase in carbohydrate intake, ingestion of a mixture of protein hydrolysate and amino acids in combination with carbohydrate, or both results in higher postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis rates than does ingestion of 0.8 g*kg(-)(1)*h(-)(1) carbohydrate, provided at 30-min intervals.
Design: Eight trained cyclists visited the laboratory 3 times, during which a control beverage and 2 other beverages were tested. After the subjects participated in a strict glycogen-depletion protocol, muscle biopsy samples were collected. The subjects received a beverage every 30 min to ensure ingestion of 0.8 g carbohydrate*kg(-)(1)*h(-)(1) (Carb trial), 0.8 g carbohydrate*kg(-)(1)*h(-)(1) plus 0.4 g wheat protein hydrolysate plus free leucine and phenylalanine*kg(-)(1)*h(-)(1) (proven to be highly insulinotropic; Carb + Pro trial), or 1.2 g carbohydrate*kg(-)(1)*h(-)(1) (Carb + Carb trial). After 5 h, a second biopsy was taken.
Results: Plasma insulin responses in the Carb + Pro and Carb + Carb trials were higher than those in the Carb trial (88 +/- 17% and 46 +/- 18%; P < 0.05). Muscle glycogen synthesis was higher in both trials than in the Carb trial (35. 4 +/- 5.1 and 44.8 +/- 6.8 compared with 16.6 +/- 7.8 micromol glycosol units*g dry wt(-)(1)*h(-)(1), respectively; P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Addition of a mixture of protein hydrolysate and amino acids to a carbohydrate-containing solution (at an intake of 0.8 g carbohydrate*kg(-)(1)*h(-)(1)) can stimulate glycogen synthesis. However, glycogen synthesis can also be accelerated by increasing carbohydrate intake (0.4 g*kg(-)(1)*h(-)(1)) when supplements are provided at 30-min intervals.