amino acid supplements

A randomized, double-blind study was carried out among 41 participants. Researchers looked to examine the effect of leucine-rich amino acid supplements with moderate exercise training in untrained, healthy elderly. The study revealed that leucine-rich amino supplementation reduced the negative effects of exercise.


A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted and published in BMJ Sport & Exercise Medicine. The novel study included 78 participants whom were assessed for eligibility, with only 41 completing the study. The primary outcome was to examine the effect of 12-week leucine-rich amino acid supplements, combined with moderate exercise training in healthy elderly.

Leucine is an essential amino acid, found only in diet, and is unique in its ability to stimulate skeletal muscle protein synthesis.

Study participants were informed about the study details and consented before enrolment. The participants performed an eccentric downhill walking stress test at the beginning and end of the supplementation phase. They were assessed for strength, muscle soreness, and biomarkers. The participants were then assigned to either a leucine or placebo group immediately after the first stress test.

Training interventions were carried out, and all participants received a detailed training plan which included duration, intensity and training exercises for different intervals.

Individual performance levels were assessed. Participants were asked to walk as long as possible without exceeding a maximum of 40min for the initial stress test. Everyone was asked to rate their muscle soreness at all points during the stress test.

All biomarkers were assessed during the tests.The test battery involved blood sampling, which was used to determine serum creatine kinase (Ck) as a marker for muscle degradation and c-propeptide, a type 11 procollagen(CP2).

The study showed that training effects were achieved with moderate intensity exercise training. It was noted that muscle soreness was much lower in both groups, along with decreased muscle degeneration.

In conclusion, results revealed that leucine-rich amino acid supplementation reduced the negative effects of eccentric exercise, and it was revealed that leucine-rich amino acid supplementation highly reduced strength loss at 0 and 3 hours after downhill walking compared to placebo.


Written By: Mariam Hamza, BScPh

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