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Nutrients 2012, 4(11), 1767-1780; doi:10.3390/nu4111767
Article

Effects of Diets Supplemented with Branched-Chain Amino Acids on the Performance and Fatigue Mechanisms of Rats Submitted to Prolonged Physical Exercise

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1 Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508900, Brazil 2 Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 01246904, Brazil 3 Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508900, Brazil
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 August 2012 / Revised: 23 October 2012 / Accepted: 6 November 2012 / Published: 16 November 2012
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Abstract

This study aimed to determine the effects of diets chronically supplemented with branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) on the fatigue mechanisms of trained rats. Thirty-six adult Wistar rats were trained for six weeks. The training protocol consisted of bouts of swimming exercise (one hour a day, five times a week, for six weeks). The animals received a control diet (C) (n = 12), a diet supplemented with 3.57% BCAA (S1) (n = 12), or a diet supplemented with 4.76% BCAA (S2) (n = 12). On the last day of the training protocol, half the animals in each group were sacrificed after one hour of swimming (1H), and the other half after a swimming exhaustion test (EX). Swimming time until exhaustion was increased by 37% in group S1 and reduced by 43% in group S2 compared to group C. Results indicate that the S1 diet had a beneficial effect on performance by sparing glycogen in the soleus muscle (p < 0.05) and by inducing a lower concentration of plasma ammonia, whereas the S2 diet had a negative effect on performance due to hyperammonemia (p < 0.05). The hypothalamic concentration of serotonin was not significantly different between the 1H and EX conditions. In conclusion, chronic BCAA supplementation led to increased performance in rats subjected to a swimming test to exhaustion. However, this is a dose-dependent effect, since chronic ingestion of elevated quantities of BCAA led to a reduction in performance.
Keywords: amino acids; dietary supplements; exercise; fatigue; sports performance amino acids; dietary supplements; exercise; fatigue; sports performance
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Falavigna, G.; Junior, J.A.A.; Rogero, M.M.; Pires, I.S.O.; Pedrosa, R.G.; Junior, E.M.; Castro, I.A.; Tirapegui, J. Effects of Diets Supplemented with Branched-Chain Amino Acids on the Performance and Fatigue Mechanisms of Rats Submitted to Prolonged Physical Exercise. Nutrients 2012, 4, 1767-1780.

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