Effects of carbohydrates-BCAAs-caffeine ingestion on performance and neuromuscular function during a 2-h treadmill run: a randomized, double-blind, cross-over placebo-controlled study

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2011 Dec 7:8:22. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-8-22.


Background: Carbohydrates (CHOs), branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and caffeine are known to improve running performance. However, no information is available on the effects of a combination of these ingredients on performance and neuromuscular function during running.

Methods: The present study was designed as a randomized double-blind cross-over placebo-controlled trial. Thirteen trained adult males completed two protocols, each including two conditions: placebo (PLA) and Sports Drink (SPD: CHOs 68.6 g.L-1, BCAAs 4 g.L-1, caffeine 75 mg.L-1). Protocol 1 consisted of an all-out 2 h treadmill run. Total distance run and glycemia were measured. In protocol 2, subjects exercised for 2 h at 95% of their lowest average speeds recorded during protocol 1 (whatever the condition). Glycemia, blood lactate concentration and neuromuscular function were determined immediately before and after exercise. Oxygen consumption (V˙O2), heart rate (HR) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded during the exercise. Total fluids ingested were 2 L whatever the protocols and conditions.

Results: Compared to PLA, ingestion of SPD increased running performance (p = 0.01), maintained glycemia and attenuated central fatigue (p = 0.04), an index of peripheral fatigue (p = 0.04) and RPE (p = 0.006). Maximal voluntary contraction, V˙O2, and HR did not differ between the two conditions.

Conclusions: This study showed that ingestion of a combination of CHOs, BCAAs and caffeine increased performance by about 2% during a 2-h treadmill run. The results of neuromuscular function were contrasted: no clear cut effects of SPD were observed.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, http://www.clinicaltrials.gov, NCT00799630.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00799630