The Effects of Leucine-Enriched Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery After High-Intensity Resistance Exercise

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Context: Of the 3 branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), leucine has arguably received the most attribution for the role of BCAA supplementation in alleviating symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage and facilitation of acute performance recovery. Purpose: To examine whether enrichment of a standard BCAA supplement with additional leucine or a standalone leucine (LEU) supplement differentially affects exercise-induced muscle damage and performance recovery compared with a standard BCAA supplement. Methods: A total of 22 recreationally active male and female subjects were recruited and assigned to consume a BCAA, leucine-enriched BCAA (LBCAA), or LEU supplement for 11 d. On the eighth day, subjects performed eccentric-based resistance exercise (ECRE). Lower-body mean average and peak power, plasma creatine kinase, soreness, and pain threshold were measured before and 24, 48, and 72 h after ECRE. Results: LEU showed decreased mean average power (P = .02) and mean peak power (P = .01) from baseline to 48 h post-ECRE, whereas LBCAA and BCAA only trended toward a reduction at 24 hours post-ECRE. At 48 h post-ECRE, BCAA showed greater recovery of mean peak power than LEU (P = .04). At 24 h post-ECRE, LEU demonstrated a greater increase in plasma creatine kinase from baseline than BCAA (P = .04). Area under the curve for creatine kinase was greater in LEU than BCAA (P = .02), whereas BCAA and LBCAA did not differ. Only LEU demonstrated increased soreness during rest and under muscular tension at 24 and 48 h post-ECRE (P < .05). Conclusions: LBCAA failed to afford any advantages over a standard BCAA supplement for postexercise muscle recovery, whereas a LEU supplement was comparatively ineffective.

Osmond, Directo, Juache, Saralegui, Wong, and Jo are with the Human Performance Research Laboratory, Dept of Kinesiology & Health Promotion, and Elam, the Dept of Human Nutrition & Food Science, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, Pomona, CA. Kreipke is with Dept of Nutrition, Food, & Exercise Sciences, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. Wildman is with the Nutrition and Food Sciences Dept, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX.

Jo (ejo@cpp.edu) is corresponding author.
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