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08.12.2010


Cocktail of BCAAs, glutamine and arginine boosts oxygen transport

Cocktail of BCAAs, glutamine and arginine boosts oxygen transport
For all you endurance athletes who don't know what to ask for from Santa this Christmas, this website has a suggestion: BCAAs, glutamine and arginine. According to Japanese researchers, a decent dose of these amino acids improves the transport of oxygen by the blood.

Study
Japanese sports scientist Masaru Ohtani, of the University of Tokyo, experimented with a mix of amino acids, consisting of 14 percent glutamine, 14 percent arginine, 30 percent BCAAs [leucine, isoleucine and valine], and topped up with threonine, lysine, proline, methionine, histidine, phenylalanine and tryptophan.

Ohtani gave the cocktail to 13 endurance athletes, who trained 2-3 hours, 5 days a week. [Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Feb; 65(2): 348-55.] On one occasion the subject took 2.2 g of the mixture daily for 30 days; for another similar period they took 4.4 g and finally 6.6 g for another 30 days. The athletes took the amino acids with their main meals.

Results
The mix boosted the athletes' red blood cell count and the amount of the oxygen transport protein haemoglobin. The white bars in the figure below represent the measurements taken after 30 days.


Cocktail of BCAAs, glutamine and arginine boosts oxygen transport


Cocktail of BCAAs, glutamine and arginine boosts oxygen transport


The table above shows the other changes in the blood of the subjects when they took the highest dose of amino acids. The concentration of creatine kinase [CPK] went down, which means that muscle damage decreased.

Ohtani also tested a dose of 7.2 g of his amino-acid mix for 90 days on 23 rugby players. [Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2001 Sep; 65(9): 1970-6.] Their oxygen transport in the blood rose significantly too.


Cocktail of BCAAs, glutamine and arginine boosts oxygen transport


Conclusion
If you want to try out Ohtani's mix, you'll have to mix your own cocktail. Take 2 g BCAAs, 1 g L-arginine, 1 g L-glutamine and 2 g of a standard supplement containing free amino acids. You'll find all the ingredients you need in any supplements store.

Just taking BCAAs probably won't be enough. In studies in which animals have done endurance training, they do boost the glycogen reserves in the muscles, but not performance. [Life Sci. 2006 Aug 29; 79(14): 1343-8.]

Source:
J Nutr. 2006 Feb; 136(2): 538S-543S.

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