A “Leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture” maintains the condition of muscles during exercise! It also supports recovery from fatigue after exercise!
1. “Muscle Conditioning” – important for both performance and recovery”
With the growing interest in sports, conditioning (maintaining good condition) is now common for both athletes and sports lovers for their daily training as well as competitions including games or races. Similarly, muscle conditioning, which regulates muscle condition, is very important both for optimal performance and recovery.
2. Things you should know about muscles. Muscles are damaged during exercise!
Our bodies contain 60% water. Twenty percent, or half of the remaining 40 percent, consists of protein. Muscles, which are important to athletes, are also primarily composed of proteins. These proteins present in the muscles are called muscle proteins.
In muscles, muscle protein is always newly made, and at the same time, old protein breaks down. If the balance between the amount produced and the amount being degraded is maintained, the condition of the muscle can be maintained. During exercise, however, there is a decrease in the amount of muscle protein produced, and conversely, there is an increase in the amount of muscle protein breakdown resulting in a decrease in the total muscle protein.
Intense and hard exercise can also damage the muscles. This leads to declining muscle condition and, consequently, a decrease in performance (Figure 1).
In other words, it is important to increase the amount of muscle protein production during exercise to maintain muscle condition, for faster recovery from damage, and to return to a healthy state after exercise.
3. Essential amino acids are important in maintaining muscle condition. Special attention should be paid to ‘leucine’!
Twenty kinds of amino acids make up the proteins that are the building blocks for the body. They are divided into the nine essential amino acids that cannot be made in the body and need to be obtained from the diet, and the 11 non-essential amino acids that can be made in the body.
Of these, the nine essential amino acids are required to make muscle protein. Leucine, in particular, is a remarkable amino acid owing to its role of switching-on production for muscle protein.
Due to the role and function of these amino acids, Ajinomoto has selected a mix of nine essential amino acids enriched with leucine (“Leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture”) (Figure 2). This formulation is a combination that enables quick and abundant production of muscle protein and, therefore, is useful for muscle conditioning.
4. Consuming the “Leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture” before exercise increases the production of muscle protein
It is very important to condition muscles before exercise to maintain performance.
Data demonstrates that muscle protein production rate depends on the amount of leucine in the essential amino acids. As shown in Figure 3, essential amino acids containing an high ratio of leucine increase the rate of muscle protein production compared to conventional essential amino acids.
Therefore, we investigated the mechanism by which the consumption of leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture before exercise alters muscle protein production.
As shown in Figure 4, the values were higher, and increased muscle protein production was observed with the consumption of the leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture before exercise. These results suggest potential benefits for muscle conditioning.
5. The Leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture reduces muscle damage after exercise along with the muscle weakness and accelerates recovery
Just as important as the pre-workout preparation is suppressing muscle damage after the workout, and recovering as quickly as possible. It is very important to reduce the fatigue as much as possible for the next day.
We investigated the effect of the leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture on reducing post-exercise damage. Figure 5 shows the results of blood tests for determining the muscle damage caused exercise. The higher the value, the higher the damage to the muscles. We observed that consuming the “leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture” reduced the values in the test results , indicating that muscle damage was reduced.
We also investigated how long it takes to recover from the temporary loss of muscle strength caused by muscle breakdown due to exercise. Figure 6 shows the loss of muscle strength due to exercise, and it was found that taking “Leucine enriched Essential Amino Acid Mix” suppressed the loss of muscle strength for several days after exercise, and also accelerated recovery.
In other words, consuming the “leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture” is effective in reducing muscle damage caused by exercise and accelerating recovery from damage.
6. Amino acids before and after exercise: For sportspersons, this is now common sense!
Various studies indicate that the combination of nine essential amino acids with high-leucine content, or “leucine-enriched essential amino acid mixture”, demonstrates significant beneficial effects in terms of the production of muscle proteins during exercise and maintaining muscle condition during sports.
Essential amino acids, including leucine, are more abundant in foods that are high in protein (called high protein foods), such as tuna, bonito, beef, chicken, eggs, soybeans, freeze-dried tofu, and cheese. However, it takes 3 to 4 hours from consumption to absorption in the body when consumed in protein form in the diet. As amino acids are rapidly absorbed in approximately 30 minutes, they are useful before, after, and during exercise.
Muscle conditioning is important in sports for those who want optimum performance. It is worth considering your everyday lifestyle habits and observe how the use of amino acids can benefit both normal training and games and races.