European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 306–314 | Cite as

The effect of acute branched-chain amino acid supplementation on prolonged exercise capacity in a warm environment

  • Phillip Watson
  • Susan M. Shirreffs
  • Ronald J. Maughan
Original Article


Eight males were recruited to examine the effect of branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation on exercise capacity in a glycogen-depleted state in a warm environment. Following a exercise and dietary regimen designed to reduce glycogen availability, subjects returned to the laboratory the following morning and remained seated for 2 h, before cycling to volitional exhaustion at 50%O2 peak in a warm environment [30.0 (0.2)°C; mean (SD)]. Four 250 ml aliquots of a 12 g l−1 BCAA solution or placebo were ingested at 30 min intervals prior to exercise, with an additional 150 ml consumed every 15 min throughout exercise. BCAA ingestion had no effect on exercise capacity [placebo 103.9 (26.9) min; BCAA 111.0 (29.2) min; P=0.129). No difference in heart rate (P=0.345), core temperature (P=0.628), or weighted mean skin temperature (P=0.114) was apparent between trials. Ingestion of the BCAA solution produced a marked increase in plasma BCAA immediately prior to exercise [+1126 (158) μmol l−1; P<0.001) with this difference maintained throughout. Consequently, a significant reduction in the plasma concentration ratio of free tryptophan to BCAA was observed during the BCAA trial when compared to the placebo (P<0.001). Plasma ammonia concentration was significantly elevated during exercise throughout the BCAA trial (P<0.001), with no change from rest apparent during the placebo trial (P=0.608). Blood glucose (P=0.114) and lactate (P=0.836) concentrations were not different between trials. Ingestion of a BCAA solution prior to, and during, prolonged exercise in glycogen-depleted subjects did not influence exercise capacity in a warm environment.


Ammonia Central fatigue Serotonin Thermoregulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phillip Watson
    • 1
  • Susan M. Shirreffs
    • 1
  • Ronald J. Maughan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sport and Exercise SciencesLoughborough UniversityUK

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