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Michael Gleeson, Andrew K. Blannin, Neil P. Walsh, Nicolette C. Bishop and Anya M. Clark

We examined the effects of a low-carbohydrate (CHO) diet on the plasma glutamine and circulating leukocyte responses to prolonged strenuous exercise. Twelve untrained male subjects cycled for 60 min at 70% of maximal oxygen uptake on two separate occasions, 3 days apart. All subjects performed the first exercise task after a normal diet: they completed the second exercise task after 3 days on either a high-CHO diet (75±8% CHO, n = 6) or a low-CHO diet (7±4% CHO, n = 6). The low-CHO diet was associated with a larger rise in plasma cortisol during exercise, a greater fall in the plasma glutamine concentration during recovery, and a larger neutrophilia during the postexercise period. Exercise on the high-CHO diet did not affect levels of plasma glutamine and circulating leukocytes. We conclude that CHO availability can influence the plasma glutamine andcirculaling leukocyte responses during recovery from intense prolonged exercise.

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Neil P. Walsh, Andrew K. Blannin, Nicolette C. Bishop, Paula J. Robson and Michael Gleeson

Recent studies have shown that neutrophils can utilize glutamine and that glutamine supplementation can improve neutrophil function in postoperative and burn patients. The present study investigated the influence of oral glutamine supplementation on stimulated neutrophil degranulation and oxidative burst activity following prolonged exercise. Subjects, 7 well-trained men, reported to the laboratory following an overnight fast and cycled for 2 hrs at 60% VO2max on two occasions a week apart. They were randomly assigned to either a glutamine or placebo treatment. For both trials, subjects consumed a sugar-free lemon drink at 15-min intervals until 90 minutes, then a lemon flavored glutamine drink (GLN) or sugar-free lemon drink (PLA) was consumed at 15-min intervals for the remaining exercise and the 2-hr recovery period. Venous blood samples were taken pre-, during, and postexercise. Glutamine supplementation had no effect on the magnitude of postexercise leukocytosis, the plasma elastase concentration following exercise (which increased in both trials), or the plasma elastase release in response to bacterial stimulation (which fell in both trials). Neutrophil function assessed by oxidative burst activity of isolated cells did not change following exercise in either trial. These findings therefore suggest that the fall in plasma glutamine concentration does not account for the decrease in neutrophil function (degranulation response) following prolonged exercise.