BACKGROUND: Sports nutritional supplements containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) have been widely reported to improve psychological and biological aspects connected to central fatigue and performance in endurance exercise, although the topic is still open to debate. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the intake of a commercially available BCAA-based supplement, taken according to the manufacturer's recommendations, could affect the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and performance indexes at the beginning (1d) and end of a 9-week (9w) scheduled high intensity interval training program, with an experimental approach integrating the determination of psychometric, performance, metabolic and blood biochemical parameters. METHODS: This was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Thirty-two untrained, healthy young adults (20 males and 12 female) were enrolled. A high-intensity endurance cycling (HIEC) test was used to induce fatigue in the participants: HIEC consisted in ten 90 s sprints interspersed by ten 3 min recovery phases and followed by a final step time to exhaustion was used. In parallel with RPE, haematological values (creatine kinase, alanine, BCAA, tryptophan, ammonia and glucose levels), and performance indexes (maximal oxygen consumption - VO2max, power associated with lactate thresholds - WLT1, WLT2 and time to exhaustion - TTE) were assessed. All subject took the supplement (13.2 g of carbohydrates; 3.2 g of BCAA and 1.6 g of L-alanine per dose) or placebo before each test and training session. Dietary habits and training load were monitored during the entire training period. RESULTS: The administration of the supplement (SU) at 1d reduced RPE by 9% during the recovery phase, as compared to the placebo (PL); at 9w the RPE scores were reduced by 13 and 21% during the sprint and recovery phase, respectively; at 9w, prolonged supplement intake also improved TTE and TRIMP. SU intake invariably promoted a rapid increase (within 1 h) of BCAA serum blood levels and prevented the post-HIEC tryptophan: BCAA ratio increase found in the PL group, at both 1d and 9w. There was no difference in dietary habits between groups and those habits did not change over time; no difference in glycemia was found between SU and PL. VO2max, WLT1 and WLT2 values improved over time, but were unaffected by supplement intake. CONCLUSIONS: On the whole, these results suggest that i) the intake of the BCAA-based commercially available supplement used in this study reduces RPE as a likely consequence of an improvement in the serum tryptophan: BCAA ratio; ii) over time, reduced RPE allows subjects to sustain higher workloads, leading to increased TRIMP and TTE.

Effects of a commercially available branched-chain amino acid-alanine-carbohydrate-based sports supplement on perceived exertion and performance in high intensity endurance cycling tests

Calavalle AR;Fimognari C;
2020

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Sports nutritional supplements containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) have been widely reported to improve psychological and biological aspects connected to central fatigue and performance in endurance exercise, although the topic is still open to debate. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the intake of a commercially available BCAA-based supplement, taken according to the manufacturer's recommendations, could affect the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and performance indexes at the beginning (1d) and end of a 9-week (9w) scheduled high intensity interval training program, with an experimental approach integrating the determination of psychometric, performance, metabolic and blood biochemical parameters. METHODS: This was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Thirty-two untrained, healthy young adults (20 males and 12 female) were enrolled. A high-intensity endurance cycling (HIEC) test was used to induce fatigue in the participants: HIEC consisted in ten 90 s sprints interspersed by ten 3 min recovery phases and followed by a final step time to exhaustion was used. In parallel with RPE, haematological values (creatine kinase, alanine, BCAA, tryptophan, ammonia and glucose levels), and performance indexes (maximal oxygen consumption - VO2max, power associated with lactate thresholds - WLT1, WLT2 and time to exhaustion - TTE) were assessed. All subject took the supplement (13.2 g of carbohydrates; 3.2 g of BCAA and 1.6 g of L-alanine per dose) or placebo before each test and training session. Dietary habits and training load were monitored during the entire training period. RESULTS: The administration of the supplement (SU) at 1d reduced RPE by 9% during the recovery phase, as compared to the placebo (PL); at 9w the RPE scores were reduced by 13 and 21% during the sprint and recovery phase, respectively; at 9w, prolonged supplement intake also improved TTE and TRIMP. SU intake invariably promoted a rapid increase (within 1 h) of BCAA serum blood levels and prevented the post-HIEC tryptophan: BCAA ratio increase found in the PL group, at both 1d and 9w. There was no difference in dietary habits between groups and those habits did not change over time; no difference in glycemia was found between SU and PL. VO2max, WLT1 and WLT2 values improved over time, but were unaffected by supplement intake. CONCLUSIONS: On the whole, these results suggest that i) the intake of the BCAA-based commercially available supplement used in this study reduces RPE as a likely consequence of an improvement in the serum tryptophan: BCAA ratio; ii) over time, reduced RPE allows subjects to sustain higher workloads, leading to increased TRIMP and TTE.
Gervasi M, Sisti D, Amatori S, Donati Zeppa S, Annibalini G, Piccoli G, Vallorani L, Benelli P, Rocchi MBL, Barbieri E, Calavalle AR, Agostini D, Fimognari C, Stocchi V, Sestili P
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/719052
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