Contribution of branched-chain amino acids to purine nucleotide cycle: a pilot study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and purine nucleotide cycle (PNC) are both associated with energy metabolism. The purpose of this study was to explore the influences of BCAA supplementation on the PNC activity of male athletes in response to a bout of endurance running exercise.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: Twelve male athletes (20.3 ± 1.4 years) participated in the study. Each of the athletes received 12 g of a BCAA supplement (leucine 54%, isoleucine 19% and valine 27%) per day during the study. They performed two identical 60-min running exercises (65-70% maximum heart rate reserved) before and after receiving the BCAA supplements for 15 days. In addition to body composition measurement, plasma and urinary samples were also collected. Plasma samples were examined for the concentrations of glucose, lactate, BCAAs, alanine, glutamine, aspartate, hypoxanthine and uric acid. Urinary samples were examined for the concentrations of urea nitrogen, hydroxyproline, 3-methylhistidine and creatinine.

RESULTS: Body composition and the concentrations of urinary metabolites were not affected by BCAA supplementation, whereas clearance of plasma lactate after recovery from exercise was enhanced by BCAA supplementation (P < 0.05). Plasma aspartate concentration was increased (P < 0.05), whereas plasma glutamine, hypoxanthine and uric acid concentrations were decreased (P < 0.05) by BCAA supplementation.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that BCAA supplements not only provided additional substrate to meet the energy demands of the athletes during endurance exercise but also reduced their PNC activity, and subsequently decreased uric acid production and reduced the incidence of gout in a person engaging in endurance exercise.

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