This study examined the effect of amino acids in a carbohydrate beverage on cycling performance. Twelve male athletes (28.5 pp2.1 yr) cycled at 75% VO2peak for 90 min followed by a ride to exhaustion at 85% VO2peak, before (T1) and on 2 consecutive days (T2 and T3) after 2 weeks of supplementation with 3.6% carbohydrate plus 1% amino acids (AA) or 4.6% carbohydrate-only (CHO) isocaloric beverages. Muscle damage was assessed by plasma creatine kinase (CK), and muscle fatigue by changes in vertical jump pre- to postexercise. Muscle soreness, overall fatigue, and changes in mood state were assessed using questionnaires. Plasma CK was lower for AA in T3 (214.0 ss13.5 vs. 485.9 11191.4 U/L immediately post, 213.9 ÷ 13.1 vs. 492.0 ÷ 199.4 U/L 5 hr post, and 194.9 ÷ 17.9 vs. 405.9 ÷ 166.6 U/L 24 hr postexercise in AA and CHO, respectively). Time to exhaustion decreased from T2 to T3 only in CHO (10.9 ÷ 2.5 to 12.6 ÷ 3.2 vs. 13.8 ÷ 2.8 to 7.8 ÷ 1.5 min in AA and CHO, respectively). Vertical-jump change from pre- to postexercise was greater in T3 for the CHO treatment. Total fatigue score and mood disturbance decreased significantly only with AA in T3. The addition of AA to a carbohydrate beverage after consecutive-day exercise bouts reduced muscle damage as indicated by CK levels, decreased fatigue, and maintained exercise performance compared with consuming carbohydrate alone.
Skillen and Casazza are with the Sports Performance Laboratory, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA. Testa and Heiden are with the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Murray, UT. Applegate is with the Dept. of Nutrition, and Fascetti, the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA.