TAURINE HELPS BRANCH-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS HELP MUSCLES RECOVER FROM INTENSE EXERCISE
By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, February 13, 2014, abstracted from “Additional Effects of Taurine on the Benefits of BCAA Intake for the Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness and Muscle Damage Induced by High-Intensity Eccentric Exercise” in the 2013 issue of Advances in Experimental Biology
Intense exercise can cause muscle soreness for days afterwards. This condition is called delayed onset muscle soreness and is one of the major reasons that beginning exercisers avoid regular exercise or stop their exercise programs, but it also can adversely affect athletic performance. So ways to help decrease delayed onset muscle soreness could be very valuable.
Now a new study (1) suggests that Taurine, an amino acid found in high amounts in muscle (2) and shown to reduce cell damage in rats (3, 4, 5) may help with delayed onset muscle soreness.
In the study, 36 untrained male volunteers between the ages of 18 and 26 were equally divided into four groups:
– Taurine Group: 2 grams of Taurine given 3 times per day after each meal
– Branch-Chain Amino Acids Group: 3.2 grams of 3 amino acids (Isoleucine/Leucine/Valine in a 2:1 mixture) given 3 times per day after each meal
– Taurine plus Branch-Chain Amino Acids Group
– Placebo: 800 milligrams of artificial sweetener given 3 times per day after each meal
This was done for 2 weeks, after which each subject completed an exercise where they resisted a force with their biceps muscle at 90% of their maximum strength for 5 seconds at a time as the muscle slowly lengthened (called an “eccentric contraction”), as done in previous studies (6). They performed an eccentric contraction, which induces more delayed onset muscle soreness and cell damage than concentric (muscle-shortening) exercise (7). The subjects then provided blood samples and completed a visual analog scale, as done in previous studies (8). They used the scale to rate their muscle soreness, ranging from 0 (“no soreness”) to 100 (“extremely sore”) every day for the next 4 days.
By the end of the fourth day, those in the Taurine-plus-branch-chain amino acids saw a 36.9% decrease in their muscle soreness on the visual analog scale with the greatest statistical significance (38 to 24, p < 0.01) compared to the the branch-chain amino acid group that saw a 53.7% decrease but was less statistically significant (41 to 19, p < 0.05). The taurine-only group saw a 45.7% decrease (46 to 25, p < 0.05) and the placebo group saw a 40.8% decrease (54 to 32, p < 0.01) but had a 33% higher level of soreness on day 4 compared to the taurine-plus-branch-chain amino acid group (32 vs. 24, p < 0.01). As for blood markers of muscle soreness, researchers measured levels of an enzyme called lactate dehydrogenase. Those in the taurine-plus-branch-chain amino acid group saw a 66.7% increase by day 4 (150 to 250 International Units/Liter, p < 0.05) while the taurine-only group saw a 71.8% increase (160 to 275 IU/L, p < 0.05). The branch-chain amino acid group saw an 80.6% increase (155 to 280 IU/L, p < 0.01) while the placebo group saw a 100% increase by day 4 (175 to 350 IU/L, p < 0.01). For the researchers, “additional supplement of taurine with branch-chain amino acids would be a useful way to attenuate DOMS and muscle damages induced by high-intensity exercise.” Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Hauppauge, NY. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his website at www.PitchingDoc.com
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