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Protein and Amino Acid Metabolism

Chapter 8

Introduction - (FYI)
Energy plus building
Made up of amino

acids Fuel source Alanine, leucine, glutamine

Intro - Structure
Nonessential (12)
Essential (9) Peptide (-NH3)

Peptide bonds Large number of different structures Most proteins contain up to 300 amino acids

Intro - Animal versus Plant

Animal protein is complete and more

protein per gram Plant protein is incomplete and less protein per gram For example: 2 ounces of fish = 14 g of protein 2 ounces of macaroni = 2 grams 2 ounces of beans = 5 grams Soy: the only complete plant source

Intro - How Much Protein?

Minimum = 0.57 grams per kilogram of

body weight RDA for egg whites = 0.34 g/kg RDA = 0.8 g/kg RDA = 0.36 grams per pound 10 percent of total caloric intake

Intro- Proteins in the diet

Most of digestion occurs in the small

intestine/gut Absorption into blood Joins the amino acid pool

Functions of proteins Structure Transport Enzymes Hormones Immune Acid-base Fluid balance Energy Movement

Amino Acid Pool

Figure 8-3 Blood, liver and skeletal muscle Equilibrium with blood Movement of amino acids from one site to another is very rapid Low or inadequate amino acids in one site can be compensated with amino acids from another site. Constant catabolism Half life of amino acids is a few days to a few months.

Amino Acid Pool

Nitrogen Balance
An term used to indicate the balance in amino

acids that are added to the body to those that are removed. Positive balance indicates more amino acids are staying in the body than are being removed. e.g. muscle hypertrophy. Negative balance indicates more amino acids are being removed than added. e.g. muscle atrophy.

Nitrogen Balance
Fasting/Atrophy Hypertrophy

Protein Requirements
Nitrogen balance can be maintained with

0.57 g / kg of protein intake Allowing for some error, the RDA for protein is set at 0.8 g/kg A positive nitrogen balance depends on having both adequate protein and energy (calories) in the diet. What is the best energy source for protein synthesis? Protein? Fat? Carbohydrate?

Figure 8-5, 8-6 and

Equations 8-2, 8-3. Transferring nitrogen from one amino acid to another Examples Alanine + ketogluterate glutamate + pyruvate Aspartate + ketogluterate glutamate + oxaloacetate

Protein Metabolism
Protein provides only 5-10% of

energy requirements during exercise. 1. Krebs cycle substrates 2. Gluconeogenesis via the glucosealanine cycle 3. Muscle hypertrophy (branch chain amino acids)

Amino acid carbon skeletons

Figure 8-7 Krebs cycle is imperfect

Amino acids provide missing elements

Glucose-Alanine Cycle

Ammonia (NH4)
Released during exercise
Accumulation of ammonia may contribute

to fatigue and ultimately become toxic -ketogluterate + ammonia glutamate + another ammonia glutamine Glutamine can be converted to glucose by the kidneys when the ammonia is removed

Amino Acids and Muscle Growth

Branch Chain Amino Acids: Leucine, Isoleucine,

and Valine Located mainly in skeletal muscle Nitrogen used for protein synthesis Carbons used for energy 20% of amino acids released from skeletal muscle are BBAA However, skeletal muscle contains all amino acids What does this mean in regard to protein supplements? Are certain amino acids more beneficial than others?

Speculation on Other Amino Acids (FYI)

Arginine, Lysine and Ornithine hGH
Trypophan increase serotonin

(decrease pain perception) BCAA block typrophan and serotonin production (delay fatigue) Glutamine remove ammonia Aspartates enhance fat metabolism Glycine formation of creatine

Do athletes need more protein?

Maybe. Resistance training 1.2-2.0 g per kg per day 15% of total calories Endurance training 1.2-1.4 g per kg per day How much protein are they already consuming?


SSE#68- Volume 11 (1998), Number 1 Priscilla M. Clarkson, Ph.D.

Arginine, ornithine, histidine, lysine, methionine, and phenylalanine are

purported to have anabolic effects. Two studies reported that ingestion of arginine and ornithine in conjunction with strength training significantly increased body mass and decreased body fat compared to a placebo (Elam, 1988; Elam et al., 1989). However, body composition was only estimated from skinfold measures, and diet was not controlled. It is claimed that these amino acids stimulate a release of growth hormone and insulin, and thereby increase muscle mass (Jacobson, 1990; Kreider et al., 1993). Manufacturer-recommended doses of amino acid supplements are not likely to increase growth hormone and alter body weight. Commercially available supplements contain less than 4 g per serving; higher levels of amino acids can cause mild-to-severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. These supplements are costly, and the consequences of using selected amino acids for a long period of time have not been determined. High amounts of one amino acid may affect the body's absorption of other amino acids. There is little reason at this time to believe that amino-acid supplements will promote gains in muscle mass.

Do athletes need certain amino acids more than others?


Jeffrey J. Zachwieja, PhD Senior Scientist, Gatorade Sports Science Institute Digestion of dietary protein yields amino acids, which, after being absorbed, are available for metabolism and the growth and repair of all tissues in the body. Because many athletes are purposefully trying to add more muscle, most believe the protein content of the diet should be considerably higher than that of non-athletes. It is true that on average, athletes require slightly more protein (1.2-1.5 g/kg body weight; 0.5-0.7 grams/lb) than do less-active people (0.8-1.0 g/kg body weight; 0.4-0.5 grams/lb). However, it is far from true that in order to meet this additional need, athletes must rely upon protein and amino acid supplements. Further, there is simply no scientific evidence to support the idea that the protein or amino acids in supplements are more effective for athletes than protein in ordinary foods.

Do athletes need more protein during recovery from exercise?

Exercise is catabolic.
Protein is needed for muscle repair,



The maximum daily protein requirement for endurance- or resistance-trained athletes is 1.2-1.7 g per kg body weight (0.55-0.77 g/lb). This requirement can easily be met through diet alonewithout the use of supplementsprovided that sound nutrition principles are followed and energy intake is sufficient to maintain body weight. Amino acids are always a minor source of fuel, usually accounting for less than 5% of total energy expenditure. If enough carbohydrate is ingested, i.e., ~1.2 gkg-1h-1 (0.55 glb-1h-1) in 15-30 min intervals during the first 2-5 h of recovery, protein supplementation does not further increase muscle glycogen replenishment. However, if no food or too little carbohydrate is consumed, ingestion of protein or specific amino acids during recovery from prolonged exercise may accelerate glycogen resynthesis.

Ingesting a single drink containing ~0.1 g/kg of essential amino acids

during the first few hours of recovery from heavy resistance exercise will produce a transient, net positive increase in muscle protein balance. It is uncertain if ingesting amino acids immediately before exercise or ingesting carbohydrate along with amino acids, either immediately before exercise or during recovery, further enhances the rate of muscle protein buildup during recovery. Ingesting several doses of essential amino acids during recovery will promote a net "anabolic" environment over 24 h, but it remains to be determined if the acute effects of supplementation eventually lead to greater gains in muscle mass following habitual training.

Postexercise protein intake enhances whole-body and leg protein accretion in humans DEANNA K. LEVENHAGEN; CHRISTOPHER CARR; MICHAEL G. CARLSON; DAVID J. MARON; MYFANWY J. BOREL; PAUL J. FLAKOLL Departments of Surgery, Biochemistry and Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN MEDICINE & SCIENCE IN SPORTS & EXERCISE 2002;34:828-837 ABSTRACT LEVENHAGEN, D. K., C. CARR, M. G. CARLSON, D. J. MARON, M. J. BOREL, and P. J. FLAKOLL. Postexercise protein intake enhances whole-body and leg protein accretion in humans. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 828-837, 2002. Purpose: Exercise increases the use of amino acids for glucose production and stimulates the oxidation of amino acids and other substrates to provide ATP for muscular contraction, and thus the availability of amino acids and energy for postexercise muscle protein synthesis may be limiting. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential of postexercise nutrient intake to enhance the recovery of whole-body and skeletal muscle protein homeostasis in humans. Methods: Primed-continuous infusions of L-[1-13C]leucine and L-[ring-2H5]phenylalanine were initiated in the antecubital vein and blood was sampled from a femoral vein and a heated (arterialized) hand vein. Each study consisted of a 30-min basal, a 60-min exercise (bicycle at 60% O2max), and a 180-min recovery period. Five men and five women were studied three times with an oral supplement administered immediately following exercise in random order: NO = 0, 0, 0; SUPP = 0, 8, 3; or SUPP+PRO = 10, 8, 3 g of protein, carbohydrate, and lipid, respectively. Results: Compared to NO, SUPP did not alter leg or whole-body protein homeostasis during the recovery period. In contrast, SUPP+PRO increased plasma essential amino acids 33%, leg fractional extraction of phenylalanine 4fold, leg uptake of glucose 3.5-fold, and leg and whole-body protein synthesis 6-fold and 15%, respectively. Whereas postexercise intake of either NO or SUPP resulted in a net leg release of essential amino acids and net loss of whole-body and leg protein, SUPP+PRO resulted in a net leg uptake of essential amino acids and net whole-body and leg protein gain. Conclusions: These findings suggest that the availability of amino acids is more important than the availability of energy for postexercise repair and synthesis of muscle proteins.

Macronutrient intake and whole body protein metabolism following resistance exercise

Brian D. ROY; Jonathon R. FOWLES; Robert HILL; MARK A. TARNOPOLSKY Departments of Kinesiology, Pathology, and Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario,

MEDICINE & SCIENCE IN SPORTS & EXERCISE 2000;32:1412-1418 ROY, B. D., J. R. FOWLES, R. HILL, and M A. TARNOPOLSKY. Macronutrient intake and whole body protein metabolism following resistance exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 32, No. 8, pp. 1412-1418, 2000.

The provision of carbohydrate (CHO) supplements following resistance exercise attenuated muscle protein (PRO) degradation (Roy et al. J. Appl. Physiol. 82:1882-1888, 1997). The addition of PRO may have a synergistic effect upon whole body protein balance by increasing synthesis (Biolo et al. Am. J. Physiol. 273:E122-E129, 1997).

Purpose: To determine if the macronutrient composition of a postexercise beverage would alter muscle anabolism and/or catabolism following resistance exercise.

Methods: We provided isoenergetic CHO (1 gkg-1) and CHO/PRO/FAT supplements and placebo (PL) immediately (t = 0 h) and 1 h (t = +1 h) following resistance exercise (9 exercises/3 sets/80% 1 RM) to 10 young, healthy, resistance-trained males. Whole body leucine turnover was determined from L-[1-13C]leucine kinetics at 4 h postexercise.

Results: No differences were observed for urinary 3-methylhistidine or urea nitrogen excretion between the trials. Leucine flux was significantly elevated at 4 h postexercise for both CHO/PRO/FAT (177.59 12.68 molkg-1h-1) and CHO (156.18 7.77 molkg-1h-1) versus PL (126.32 10.51 molkg-1h-1) (P < 0.01). Whole body leucine oxidation was elevated at 4 h for CHO/PRO/FAT (29.50 3.34 molkg-1h-1) versus CHO (16.32 2.33 molkg-1h1) (P < 0.01) and PL (21.29 2.54 molkg-1h-1) (P < 0.05). Nonoxidative leucine disposal (NOLD) was significantly elevated at 4 h for both CHO/PRO/FAT (148.09 10.37 molkg-1h-1) and CHO (139.86 7.02 molkg-1h-1) versus PL (105.03 8.97 molkg-1h-1) (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: These results suggest that consumption of either CHO or CHO/PRO/FAT immediately and 1 h following a resistance training bout increased NOLD as compared with a placebo.

Anabolic Processes During Recovery

Protein during post-exercise may aid in

muscle recovery/repair. Carbohydrate alone may be just as effective. If helpful, only 0.1 g/kg of protein every 1-2 hours is needed. The type of protein seems to not influence protein synthesis Good sources are milk, tuna, peanut butter, etc.

Key Topics
Protein intake

Amino acid pool Transamination Function of proteins related to exercise