Effect of branched-chain amino acid and carbohydrate supplementation on the exercise-induced change in plasma and muscle concentration of amino acids in human subjects

Acta Physiol Scand. 1995 Feb;153(2):87-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1995.tb09839.x.


Five male endurance-trained subjects performed exhaustive exercise on a cycle ergometer at a work rate corresponding to 75% of their VO2max after reduction of their muscle glycogen stores. During exercise the subjects were given in random order a 6% carbohydrate solution continuing 7 g L-1 of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), a 6% CHO solution and flavoured water. The physical performance was lowered in four of the five subjects when they were given flavoured water during exercise as compared with the two conditions when CHO was supplied. No difference in performance was found when the subjects were given CHO + BCAA or only CHO during exercise. When CHO + BCAA was supplied the plasma and muscle (vastus lateralis) concentrations of BCAA increased during exercise by 120 and 35%, respectively. In the other conditions there was no change or a slight decrease in the plasma concentrations of BCAA, but the muscle concentrations of BCAA were decreased after exercise. The plasma concentration of glutamine over the whole exercise period and 5 min after exercise was higher when CHO + BCAA were supplied during exercise compared with a supply of CHO alone or water. However, exercise caused no change in the muscle concentration of glutamine, whereas that of glutamate decreased in all three conditions. A supply of CHO + BCAA or CHO alone did not affect the exercise-induced increase in the plasma and muscle concentration of aromatic amino acids, indicating that neither BCAA nor CHO influenced the net protein degradation during exercise.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Amino Acids / drug effects
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / pharmacology*
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lactates
  • Lactic Acid
  • Glycogen