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Amino Acid Combination Shown to Improve Endurance in Athletes

Serious athletes are always looking for a way to push their workouts or competition times further. A recent study suggests that drinking a sports drink that contains the dipeptide L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine during strenous exercise may increase endurance and delay fatigue.

The dipeptide L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine is a more stable form of the two amino acids L-alanine and L-glutamine. L-alanine is a non-essential amino acid and L-glutamine is an essential one. Both are involved in the exchange of nitrogen between tissues and the storage of glucose, and both affect hydration.

Participants in the study included 12 male endurance athletes who were instructed to perform four different endurance trials that consisted of one-hour treadmill runs at 75% VO2 peak. That was followed by another run to exhaustion at 90% VO2 peak. For the first trial, the athletes had no hydration; for the second they had a one-liter commercial sports drink; and for the final two trials they had sports drinks supplemented with 600 mg/L or 2g/L of the dipeptide L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that time to exhaustion was much longer for both of the supplement trials when compared with no hydration at all. No significant difference in time to exhaustion was seen between the sports drink alone trial and the no hydration trial.

The researchers also noted significantly higher plasma glutamine concentrations at the 45-minute mark in the supplement trials. Those levels remained elevated at the 60-minute mark during the high-dose test. Additionally, sodium concentrations increased from the beginning of the exercise period and remained stable throughout the one hour run. Finally, at 60 minutes plasma sodium levels were significantly lower for all of the interventions when compared with no hydration.

Researchers from the University of Central Florida conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 22, 2015, in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

L-Alanyl-L-Glutamine has been found in previous studies to help with re-hydration and electrolyte absorption as well as increased performance. It has also been linked with improved visual reaction time.

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