An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein

Am J Physiol. 1997 Jul;273(1 Pt 1):E122-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.1997.273.1.E122.


Six normal untrained men were studied during the intravenous infusion of a balanced amino acid mixture (approximately 0.15 for 3 h) at rest and after a leg resistance exercise routine to test the influence of exercise on the regulation of muscle protein kinetics by hyperaminoacidemia. Leg muscle protein kinetics and transport of selected amino acids (alanine, phenylalanine, leucine, and lysine) were isotopically determined using a model based on arteriovenous blood samples and muscle biopsy. The intravenous amino acid infusion resulted in comparable increases in arterial amino acid concentrations at rest and after exercise, whereas leg blood flow was 64 +/- 5% greater after exercise than at rest. During hyperaminoacidemia, the increases in amino acid transport above basal were 30-100% greater after exercise than at rest. Increases in muscle protein synthesis were also greater after exercise than at rest (291 +/- 42% vs. 141 +/- 45%). Muscle protein breakdown was not significantly affected by hyperminoacidemia either at rest or after exercise. We conclude that the stimulatory effect of exogenous amino acids on muscle protein synthesis is enhanced by prior exercise, perhaps in part because of enhanced blood flow. Our results imply that protein intake immediately after exercise may be more anabolic than when ingested at some later time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine / metabolism
  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Leg
  • Leucine / metabolism
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Phenylalanine / metabolism
  • Rest


  • Amino Acids
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Nitrogen Isotopes
  • Glutamine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Alanine