In the past decade, the popularity of nutritional supplements
has grown by leaps and bounds. The supplement craze has reached
a fever pitch that conventional supermarkets now carry many
of the same products once reserved only for nutrition marts
and health food stores.
Glucose and amino acid supplementation has been lauded by
many in the bodybuilding world for its ability to increase
muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise. However,
the mechanisms underlying this supposed action remain unsupported
by the literature, including this study published in the British
Journal of Sports Medicine.
Seven previously untrained men and women (average age: 23
years) trained on a leg-extension machine for 10 weeks - four
sets of 10 repetitions, five days per week. Alternate legs
were trained on successive days, and subjects ingested a supplement
containing glucose, amino acids, or a neutral placebo on alternate
days, immediately after training.
Although serum insulin concentration after supplement ingestion
peaked at nine times the placebo level, no significant strength
differences were noted between the supplement leg and the
placebo leg. The authors suggest: “Athletes and others who
wish to gain muscle strength may not benefit by supplementing
their workouts in such a manner.”
Williams A, Oord M, Sharma A, et al. Is glucose/amino acid
supplementation after exercise an aid to strength training?
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2001: Vol. 35, No.
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