The purpose of this study was to determine whether branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation attenuates indirect indicators of muscle damage during endurance exercise as compared with an isocaloric, carbohydrate (CHO) beverage or a noncaloric placebo (PLAC) beverage. Nine untrained men performed three 90-min cycling bouts at 55% VO2peak. Subjects, blinded to beverage selection, ingested a total of 200 kcal of energy via the CHO or BCAA beverage before and at 60 min of exercise, or they drank the PLAC beverage. Creatine kinase (CK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), isokinetic leg-extension and -flexion torque, and muscle soreness were assessed before and immediately, 4 h, 24 h, and 48 h postexercise. The trials were separated by 8 wk. CK activities were significantly lower after the BCAA trial than in the PLAC trial at 4, 24, and 48 h postexercise, as well as lower than the CHO beverage at 24 h postexercise. CK was lower in the CHO trial at the 24- and 48-h time points than in the PLAC trial. LDH activities were lower in the BCAA trial at 4 h than in the PLAC trial. As compared with the CHO and PLAC trials, ratings of perceived soreness were lower at 24 h postexercise, and leg-flexion torque was higher at the 48-h time point after the BCAA trial. The present data suggest that BCAA supplementation attenuates muscle damage during prolonged endurance exercise in untrained college-age men. CHO ingestion attenuates CK activities at 24 and 48 h postexercise as compared with a placebo beverage.
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