Bed rest, protein loss and the branched chain amino acids

T. P. Stein, M. D. Schluter, M. J. Leskiw, G. Boden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objectives of this study was to test the hypothesis that increasing the amount of the branched chain arnino acids (BCAAs) in the diet could attenuate the protein loss associated with bed rest. After a six day ambulatory period the subjects (n=20) were randomized into two groups depending on a defined formula diet and started on a six day period of bed rest. The diets were supplemented with either 30 mMpl.d-1 each of three non-essential amino acids, glycine, serine and alanine (control) or 30 mMol.d-1 each of the BCAAs. N balance and urinary 3 MeH excretion were determined for the entire 12 d period. The whole body protein synthesis rate (WBPSR) was determined by the single pulse 15N glycine method on ambulatory days 2 and 6 and on the 2nd and 6th day of bed rest. Results: Data are mean ±SEM with the number of subjects in (). During bed rest N balance was 25.8 ± 13.4 (10) mg N. kg-1 .d-1 for the control group and 67.4 ±11.2 (9) mg N. kg-1.d-1 (p<0.05) for the BCAA group, (ii) WBPSR was only decreased for the EAA treated group (p<0.05). (iii) Urinary 3 MeH excretion was unchanged for both groups. Conclusions: (i) BCAA supplementation attenuates the N loss during short-term bed rest and (ii) the mechanism appears to be via amino acid sequestration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A859
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 20 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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