Amino acids and sport: a true love story?
Among a plethora of dietary supplements, amino acids are very popular with athletes for several reasons (e.g., to prevent nutritional deficiency, improve muscle function, and decrease muscle damages) whose purpose is to improve performance. However, it is difficult to get a clear idea of which amino acids have real ergogenic impact. Here, we review and analyze the clinical studies evaluating specific amino acids (glutamine, arginine, leucine, etc.) in athletes. Only english-language clinical studies evaluating a specific effect of one amino acid were considered. Despite promising results, many studies have methodological limits or specific flaws that do not allow definitive conclusions. To date, only chronic β-alanine supplementation demonstrated an ergogenic effect in athletes. Much research is still needed to gain evidence-based data before any other specific amino acid can be recommended for use in athletes.
KeywordsGlutamine Arginine β-Alanine Leucine Citrulline Taurine Athletes
The authors have been financially supported by University Grenoble Alpes.
Compliance with ethical standards
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Conflict of interest
Christophe Moinard is shareholder in Citrage®. Arthur Goron has no competing interest to declare.
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