European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 479–488 | Cite as

Effects of a combined essential amino acids/carbohydrate supplementation on muscle mass, architecture and maximal strength following heavy-load training

  • Stéphanie Vieillevoye
  • Jacques R. Poortmans
  • Jacques Duchateau
  • Alain Carpentier
Original Article


Increase in myofibrillar protein accretion can occur in the very early post-exercise period and can be potentiated by ingestion of essential amino acid (EAA). Furthermore, strength exercise induces important disturbances in protein turnover, especially in novice athletes. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of an EAA supplementation on muscle mass, architecture and strength in the early stages of a heavy-load training programme. 29 young males trained during 12 weeks. They were divided into a placebo (PLA) (n = 14) group and an EAA group (n = 15). At baseline, daily food intake and nitrogenous balance were assessed with a food questionnaire over 7 days and two 24-h urine collections. The effect of training on muscle mass was assessed by anthropometric techniques. Muscle thickness and pennation angle were recorded by ultrasonography of the gastrocnemius medialis (GM). Maximal strength during squat and bench press exercises were tested on an isokinetic ergometer. Training resulted in significant increase in muscle mass and strength in both PLA and EAA groups. Positive linear regressions were found between nitrogen balance and increase in muscle mass in the PLA group (P < 0.01, r² = 0.63) and between the initial strength and the increase in muscle strength in the EAA group (P < 0.05, r² = 0.29). EAA ingestion resulted in greater changes in GM muscle architecture. These data indicate that EAA supplementation has a positive effect on muscle hypertrophy and architecture and that such a nutritional intervention seems to be more effective in subject having lower nitrogen balance and/or lower initial strength.


Nutrition Supplements Strength training Muscle hypertrophy Ultrasonography Nitrogen balance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stéphanie Vieillevoye
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jacques R. Poortmans
    • 1
  • Jacques Duchateau
    • 2
  • Alain Carpentier
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory for Biometry and Exercise NutritionUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Applied BiologyUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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