Friday, September 28, 2012

Arginine Prior to Training by Jerry Brainum

I always wonder what people are thinking when they eat a full meal immediately before training. Ostensibly, they’re providing energy for the ensuing training session. Of course, food must be digested before it can provide energy or nutrients. Also, exercise profoundly affects the digestive process. Research has shown that high-intensity exercise delays gastric emptying, likely because the exercised muscles get preference for the available blood supply. In other words, food or drink just sits in the stomach for the duration of the training session.
    There are, however, exceptions to the rule. A sports drink containing no more than 7 percent carbohydrate, along with electrolyte minerals such as potassium, magnesium and sodium, is absorbed even faster than plain water. What about amino acids, which are already in their elemental form for uptake into the body?
     That’s a highly relevant question, because many protein or amino acid supplements touted for bodybuilding come with suggestions to take immediately before training. A study presented at the 2006 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) charted the fate of arginine taken at rest and prior to an intense training session.
     Nine men, average age 27, who fasted for 10 hours before the study measurements, took either a placebo or arginine tablets (50 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight, or 4,500 milligrams for a 200-pound man) with 400 grams of water. The drinks were taken at rest or just before engaging in a 60-minute weight-training program. The treatment was repeated four times, with a seven-day interval between treatments.
Blood levels of arginine increased after arginine intake both during rest and before exercise. Peak levels occurred after one hour in the rest group but were delayed by the exercise for an additional hour. Clearly, taking amino acids just prior to training leads to delayed absorption of the amino acids, just like anything else.

Mero, A., et al. (2006). Acute effect of strength exercise on plasma arginine after oral ingestion of arginine in men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 38:S339-S440.

 ©,2012, Jerry Brainum.Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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