The Science Behind Protein Fuel


Protein supplementation after exercise or between exercise sessions enhances lean muscle mass and increases muscle protein synthesis and strength.


J Nutr. 2013 Apr;143(4):410-6. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.168021. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Protein blend ingestion following resistance exercise promotes human muscle protein synthesis.

Reidy PT1, Walker DK, Dickinson JM, Gundermann DM, Drummond MJ, Timmerman KL, Fry CS, Borack MS, Cope MB, Mukherjea R, Jennings K, Volpi E, Rasmussen BB.


High-quality proteins such as soy, whey, and casein are all capable of promoting muscle protein synthesis postexercise by activating the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTORC1) signaling pathway. We hypothesized that a protein blend of soy and dairy proteins would capitalize on the unique properties of each individual protein and allow for optimal delivery of amino acids to prolong the fractional synthetic rate (FSR) following resistance exercise (RE). In this double-blind, randomized, clinical trial, 19 young adults were studied before and after ingestion of ∼19 g of protein blend (PB) or ∼18 g whey protein (WP) consumed 1 h after high-intensity leg RE. We examined mixed-muscle protein FSR by stable isotopic methods and mTORC1 signaling with western blotting. Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis were collected at rest (before RE) and at 3 postexercise time points during an early (0-2 h) and late (2-4 h) postingestion period. WP ingestion resulted in higher and earlier amplitude of blood branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) concentrations. PB ingestion created a lower initial rise in blood BCAA but sustained elevated levels of blood amino acids later into recovery (P < 0.05). Postexercise FSR increased equivalently in both groups during the early period (WP, 0.078 ± 0.009%; PB, 0.088 ± 0.007%); however, FSR remained elevated only in the PB group during the late period (WP, 0.074 ± 0.010%; PB, 0.087 ± 0.003%) (P < 0.05). mTORC1 signaling similarly increased between groups, except for no increase in S6K1 phosphorylation in the WP group at 5 h postexercise (P < 0.05). We conclude that a soy-dairy PB ingested following exercise is capable of prolonging blood aminoacidemia, mTORC1 signaling, and protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle and is an effective postexercise nutritional supplement.

Metabolism. 2005 Feb;54(2):151-6.

The effect of resistance training combined with timed ingestion of protein on muscle fiber size and muscle strength.

Andersen LL, Tufekovic G, Zebis MK, Crameri RM, Verlaan G, Kjaer M, Suetta C, Magnusson P, Aagaard P.


Acute muscle protein metabolism is modulated not only by resistance exercise but also by amino acids. However, less is known about the long-term hypertrophic effect of protein supplementation in combination with resistance training. The present study was designed to compare the effect of 14 weeks of resistance training combined with timed ingestion of isoenergetic protein vs carbohydrate supplementation on muscle fiber hypertrophy and mechanical muscle performance. Supplementation was administered before and immediately after each training bout and, in addition, in the morning on nontraining days. Muscle biopsy specimens were obtained from the vastus lateralis muscle and analyzed for muscle fiber cross-sectional area. Squat jump and countermovement jump were performed on a force platform to determine vertical jump height. Peak torque during slow (30 degrees s-1) and fast (240 degrees s-1) concentric and eccentric contractions of the knee extensor muscle was measured in an isokinetic dynamometer. After 14 weeks of resistance training, the protein group showed hypertrophy of type I (18% +/- 5%; P < .01) and type II (26% +/- 5%; P < .01) muscle fibers, whereas no change above baseline occurred in the carbohydrate group. Squat jump height increased only in the protein group, whereas countermovement jump height and peak torque during slow isokinetic muscle contraction increased similarly in both groups. In conclusion, a minor advantage of protein supplementation over carbohydrate supplementation during resistance training on mechanical muscle function was found. However, the present results may have relevance for individuals who are particularly interested in gaining muscle size.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):161-8. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26401. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men.

Moore DR1, Robinson MJ, Fry JL, Tang JE, Glover EI, Wilkinson SB, Prior T, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM.


The anabolic effect of resistance exercise is enhanced by the provision of dietary protein.
We aimed to determine the ingested protein dose response of muscle (MPS) and albumin protein synthesis (APS) after resistance exercise. In addition, we measured the phosphorylation of candidate signaling proteins thought to regulate acute changes in MPS.
Six healthy young men reported to the laboratory on 5 separate occasions to perform an intense bout of leg-based resistance exercise. After exercise, participants consumed, in a randomized order, drinks containing 0, 5, 10, 20, or 40 g whole egg protein. Protein synthesis and whole-body leucine oxidation were measured over 4 h after exercise by a primed constant infusion of [1-(13)C]leucine.
MPS displayed a dose response to dietary protein ingestion and was maximally stimulated at 20 g. The phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 kinase (Thr(389)), ribosomal protein S6 (Ser(240/244)), and the epsilon-subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2B (Ser(539)) were unaffected by protein ingestion. APS increased in a dose-dependent manner and also reached a plateau at 20 g ingested protein. Leucine oxidation was significantly increased after 20 and 40 g protein were ingested.
Ingestion of 20 g intact protein is sufficient to maximally stimulate MPS and APS after resistance exercise. Phosphorylation of candidate signaling proteins was not enhanced
with any dose of protein ingested, which suggested that the stimulation of MPS after resistance exercise may be related to amino acid availability. Finally, dietary protein consumed after exercise in excess of the rate at which it can be incorporated into tissue protein stimulates irreversible oxidation.

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 Sep;107(3):987-92. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00076.2009. Epub 2009 Jul 9.

Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men.

Tang JE1, Moore DR, Kujbida GW, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM.


This study was designed to compare the acute response of mixed muscle protein synthesis (MPS) to rapidly (i.e., whey hydrolysate and soy) and slowly (i.e., micellar casein) digested proteins both at rest and after resistance exercise. Three groups of healthy young men (n = 6 per group) performed a bout of unilateral leg resistance exercise followed by the consumption of a drink containing an equivalent content of essential amino acids (10 g) as either whey hydrolysate, micellar casein, or soy protein isolate. Mixed MPS was determined by a primed constant infusion of l-[ring-(13)C(6)]phenylalanine. Ingestion of whey protein resulted in a larger increase in blood essential amino acid, branched-chain amino acid, and leucine concentrations than either casein or soy (P < 0.05). Mixed MPS at rest (determined in the nonexercised leg) was higher with ingestion of faster proteins (whey = 0.091 +/- 0.015, soy = 0.078 +/- 0.014, casein = 0.047 +/- 0.008%/h); MPS after consumption of whey was approximately 93% greater than casein (P < 0.01) and approximately 18% greater than soy (P = 0.067). A similar result was observed after exercise (whey > soy > casein); MPS following whey consumption was approximately 122% greater than casein (P < 0.01) and 31% greater than soy (P < 0.05). MPS was also greater with soy consumption at rest (64%) and following resistance exercise (69%) compared with casein (both P < 0.01). We conclude that the feeding-induced simulation of MPS in young men is greater after whey hydrolysate or soy protein consumption than casein both at rest and after resistance exercise; moreover, despite both being fast proteins, whey hydrolysate stimulated MPS to a greater degree than soy after resistance exercise. These differences may be related to how quickly the proteins are digested (i.e., fast vs. slow) or possibly to small differences in leucine content of each protein.


Ingestion of dietary protein prior to sleep may represent an effective dietary strategy to facilitate the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training and to further improve exercise training efficiency


Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jan 1;302(1):E52-60. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00321.2011. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

Intragastric protein administration stimulates overnight muscle protein synthesis in elderly men.

Groen BB1, Res PT, Pennings B, Hertle E, Senden JM, Saris WH, van Loon LJ.


The loss of skeletal muscle mass with aging has been attributed to an impaired muscle protein synthetic response to food intake. Therefore, nutritional strategies are targeted tomodulate postprandial muscle protein accretion in the elderly. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of protein administration during sleep on in vivo protein digestion and absorption kinetics and subsequent muscle protein synthesis rates in elderly men. Sixteen healthy elderly men were randomly assigned to an experiment during which they were administered a single bolus of intrinsically l-[1-(13)C]phenylalanine-labeled casein protein (PRO) or a placebo (PLA) during sleep. Continuous infusions with l-[ring-(2)H(5)]phenylalanine and l-[ring-(2)H(2)]tyrosine were applied to assess in vivo dietary protein digestion and absorption kinetics and subsequent muscle protein synthesis rates during sleep. We found that exogenous phenylalanine appearance rates increased following protein administration. The latter stimulated protein synthesis, resulting in a more positive overnight whole body protein balance (0.30 ± 0.1 vs. 11.8 ± 1.0 μmol phenylalanine·kg(-1)·h(-1) in PLA and PRO, respectively; P < 0.05). In agreement, overnight muscle protein fractional synthesis rates were much greater in the PRO experiment (0.045 ± 0.002 vs. 0.029 ± 0.002%/h, respectively; P < 0.05) and showed abundant incorporation of the amino acids ingested via the intrinsically labeled protein (0.058 ± 0.006%/h). This is the first study to show that dietary protein administration during sleep is followed by normal digestion and absorption kinetics, thereby stimulating overnight muscle protein synthesis. Dietary protein administration during sleep stimulates muscle protein synthesis and improves overnight whole body protein balance. These findings may provide a basis for novel interventional strategies to attenuate muscle mass loss.

J Physiol. 2001 Aug 15;535(Pt 1):301-11.

Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans.

Esmarck B1, Andersen JL, Olsen S, Richter EA, Mizuno M, Kjaer M.


1. Age-associated loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength can partly be counteracted by resistance training, causing a net synthesis of muscular proteins. Protein synthesis is influenced synergistically by postexercise amino acid supplementation, but the importance of the timing of protein intake remains unresolved. 2. The study investigated the importance of immediate (P0) or delayed (P2) intake of an oral protein supplement upon muscle hypertrophy and strength over a period of resistance training in elderly males. 3. Thirteen men (age, 74 +/- 1 years; body mass index (BMI), 25 +/- 1 kg m(-2) (means +/- S.E.M.)) completed a 12 week resistance training programme (3 times per week) receiving oral protein in liquid form (10 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat) immediately after (P0) or 2 h after (P2) each training session. Muscle hypertrophy was evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and from muscle biopsies and muscle strength was determined using dynamic and isokinetic strength measurements. Body composition was determined from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and food records were obtained over 4 days. The plasma insulin response to protein supplementation was also determined. 4. In response to training, the cross-sectional area of m. quadriceps femoris (54.6 +/- 0.5 to 58.3 +/- 0.5 cm(2)) and mean fibre area (4047 +/- 320 to 5019 +/- 615 microm(2)) increased in the P0 group, whereas no significant increase was observed in P2. For P0 both dynamic and isokinetic strength increased, by 46 and 15 %, respectively (P < 0.05), whereas P2 only improved in dynamic strength, by 36 % (P < 0.05). No differences in glucose or insulin response were observed between protein intake at 0 and 2 h postexercise. 5. We conclude that early intake of an oral protein supplement after resistance training is important for the development of hypertrophy in skeletal muscle of elderly men in response to resistance training.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Aug;44(8):1560-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824cc363.

Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery.

Res PT1, Groen B, Pennings B, Beelen M, Wallis GA, Gijsen AP, Senden JM, VAN Loon LJ.


The role of nutrition in modulating postexercise overnight recovery remains to be elucidated. We assessed the effect of protein ingestion immediately before sleep on digestion and absorption kinetics and protein metabolism during overnight recovery from a single bout of resistance-type exercise.
Sixteen healthy young males performed a single bout of resistance-type exercise in the evening (2000 h) after a full day of dietary standardization. All subjects were provided with appropriate recovery nutrition (20 g of protein, 60 g of CHO) immediately after exercise (2100 h). Thereafter, 30 min before sleep (2330 h), subjects ingested a beverage with (PRO) or without (PLA) 40 g of specifically produced intrinsically [1-C]phenylalanine-labeled casein protein. Continuous intravenous infusions with [ring-H5]phenylalanine and [ring-H2]tyrosine were applied with blood and muscle samples collected to assess protein digestion and absorption kinetics, whole-body protein balance and mixed muscle protein synthesis rates throughout the night (7.5 h).
During sleep, casein protein was effectively digested and absorbed resulting in a rapid rise in circulating amino acid levels, which were sustained throughout the remainder of the night. Protein ingestion before sleep increased whole-body protein synthesis rates (311 ± 8 vs 246 ± 9 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) and improved net protein balance (61 ± 5 vs – 11 ± 6 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) in the PRO vs the PLA experiment (P < 0.01). Mixed muscle protein synthesis rates were ∼22% higher in the PRO vs the PLA experiment, which reached borderline significance (0.059%·h ± 0.005%·h vs 0.048%·h ± 0.004%·h, P = 0.05).
This is the first study to show that protein ingested immediately before sleep is effectively digested and absorbed, thereby stimulating muscle protein synthesis and improving whole-body protein balance during postexercise overnight recovery.


Leucine stimulates muscle anabolism and improves endurance performance


Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Jul 14. [Epub ahead of print]

Protein-Leucine Fed Dose Effects on Muscle Protein Synthesis After Endurance Exercise.

Rowlands DS1, Nelson AR, Phillips SM, Faulkner JA, Clarke J, Burd NA, Moore D, Stellingwerff T.


Protein-leucine ingestion following strenuous endurance exercise accentuates muscle protein synthesis and improves recovery of muscle performance.
To determine if a low-dose protein-leucine blend ingested following endurance exercise enhances skeletal muscle myofibrillar protein fractional synthetic rate (FSR).
In a crossover design, twelve trained men completed 100 min of high-intensity cycling, then ingested either 70/15/180/30g protein/leucine/carbohydrate/fat (15LEU), 23/5/180/30g (5LEU) or 0/0/274/30g (CON) beverages in randomised order in 4 servings during the first 90 min of a 240-min recovery period. Muscle biopsies were collected at 30 and 240-min into recovery with FSR determined by L-[ring-C6]phenylalanine incorporation and mTORC1-pathway phosphorylation by Western blot.ResultsThe 33% (90%CL ±12%) increase in FSR with 5LEU (mean, SD, 0.080, 0.014%·h) vs. CON (0.060, 0.012%·h) represented near-maximal FSR stimulation. Tripling protein-leucine dose (15LEU, 0.090, 0.11%·h) negligibly increased FSR (13% ±12% vs. 5LEU). Despite similar FSR, mTORC1 phosphorylation only increased with 15LEU at 30-min, whereas p70S6K, rpS6, and 4E-BP1γ phosphorylation increased with protein-leucine quantity at one or both time points. Plasma leucine and essential amino-acid concentrations decreased during recovery in CON but increased with protein-leucine dose. Serum insulin was increased in 15LEU vs CON (60% ±20%), but was unaffected relative to 5LEU. Regression analysis revealed p70S6K-rpS6 phosphorylation moderately predicted FSR, but the associations with plasma leucine and essential amino acids were small.
Ingesting 23 g of protein with 5 g added leucine achieved near-maximal FSR after endurance exercise, an effect unlikely attributable to mTORC1-S6K-rpS6 signaling, insulin, or amino acids. Translating the effects of protein-leucine quantity on protein synthesis to optimizing adaptation and performance requires further research.

Am J Physiol. 1992 Nov;263(5 Pt 1):E928-34.

Leucine as a regulator of whole body and skeletal muscle protein metabolism in humans.

Nair KS, Schwartz RG, Welle S.

Leucine has been proposed as an in vivo regulator of protein metabolism, although the evidence for this in humans remains inconclusive. To test this hypothesis, we infused either L-leucine (154 +/- 1 x h-1) or saline intravenously in six healthy men in two separate studies. L-Leucine infusion increased plasma concentrations of leucine and alpha-ketoisocaproate from 112 +/- 6 and 38 +/- 3 mumol/l to 480 +/- 27 (P < 0.001) and 94 +/- 13 mumol/l (P < 0.001), respectively, without any significant change in circulating insulin or C peptide levels. Leucine infusion decreased plasma concentrations of several amino acids and decreased whole body valine flux and valine oxidation (using L-[1-13C]valine as a tracer) and phenylalanine flux (using [2H5]-phenylalanine as a tracer). According to arteriovenous differences across the leg, the net balance of phenylalanine, valine, and lysine shifted toward greater retention during leucine infusion, whereas alanine balance did not change. Valine release and phenylalanine release from the leg (estimated from the dilution of respective tracers) decreased, indicating inhibition of protein degradation by leucine infusion. We conclude that leucine decreases protein degradation in humans and that this decreased protein degradation during leucine infusion contributes to the decrease in plasma essential amino acids. This study suggests a potential role for leucine as a regulator of protein metabolism in humans.

J Nutr. 2006 Feb;136(2):533S-537S.

Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise.

Norton LE, Layman DK.

High-performance physical activity and postexercise recovery lead to significant changes in amino acid and protein metabolism in skeletal muscle. Central to these changes is an increase in the metabolism of the BCAA leucine. During exercise, muscle protein synthesis decreases together with a net increase in protein degradation and stimulation of BCAA oxidation. The decrease in protein synthesis is associated with inhibition of translation initiation factors 4E and 4G and ribosomal protein S6 under regulatory controls of intracellular insulin signaling and leucine concentrations. BCAA oxidation increases through activation of the branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKDH). BCKDH activity increases with exercise, reducing plasma and intracellular leucine concentrations. After exercise, recovery of muscle protein synthesis requires dietary protein or BCAA to increase tissue levels of leucine in order to release the inhibition of the initiation factor 4 complex through activation of the protein kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Leucine’s effect on mTOR is synergistic with insulin via the phosphoinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway. Together, insulin and leucine allow skeletal muscle to coordinate protein synthesis with physiological state and dietary intake.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Feb;38(2):268-75.

Effects of increasing insulin secretion on acute postexercise blood glucose disposal.

Kaastra B, Manders RJ, Van Breda E, Kies A, Jeukendrup AE, Keizer HA, Kuipers H, Van Loon LJ.

Coingestion of protein and/or free amino acids with carbohydrate has been reported to accelerate postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis due to an increase in the insulin response. To determine the extent to which the combined ingestion of carbohydrate and a casein protein hydrolysate with or without additional free leucine can increase insulin levels during postexercise recovery in endurance-trained athletes. To determine how this affects whole-body plasma glucose disposal during postexercise recovery. Fourteen male athletes (age: 24.3 +/- 0.8 yr; VO2max: 62.9 +/- 1.4 were subjected to three randomized crossover trials in which they performed 2 h of exercise (55% Wmax). Thereafter, subjects were studied for 3.5 h during which they ingested carbohydrate (CHO: 0.8, carbohydrate and a protein hydrolysate (CHO-PRO: 0.8 and 0.4, respectively), or carbohydrate, a protein hydrolysate, and free leucine (CHO-PRO-LEU: 0.8, 0.4, and 0.1, respectively) in a double-blind fashion. Continuous infusions with [6,6-H2] glucose were applied to quantify plasma glucose appearance (Ra) and disappearance rates (Rd). Plasma insulin responses were 108 +/- 17 and 190 +/- 33% greater in the CHO-PRO and CHO-PRO-LEU trial, respectively, compared with the CHO-trial (P < 0.01). Plasma glucose responses were lower in the CHO-PRO and CHO-PRO-LEU trial compared with the CHO-trial (35 +/- 5 and 42 +/- 11% lower, respectively; P < 0.01). Plasma glucose Ra and Rd were greater in the CHO versus the CHO-PRO and CHO-PRO-LEU trials (P < 0.05). Glucose Rd represented 100 +/- 0.03% of Ra in all trials. The combined ingestion of a protein hydrolysate and/or free leucine with carbohydrate (0.8 substantially augments insulin secretion, but does not affect plasma glucose disposal during the first 3.5 h of postexercise recovery in trained athletes.

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006 Aug;97(6):664-72. Epub 2005 Oct 29.

Effects of dietary leucine supplementation on exercise performance.

Crowe MJ, Weatherson JN, Bowden BF.

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA), particularly leucine, have been suggested to be ergogenic for both endurance and strength/power performance. This study investigated the effects of dietary leucine supplementation on the exercise performance of outrigger canoeists. Thirteen (ten female, three male) competitive outrigger canoeists [aged 31.6 (2.2) year, VO(2max) 47.1 (2.0) ml kg(-1) min(-1)] underwent testing before and after 6-week supplementation with either capsulated L: -leucine (45 mg kg(-1) d(-1); n = 6) or placebo (cornflour; n = 7). Testing included anthropometry, 10 s upper body power and work and a row to exhaustion at 70-75% maximal aerobic power where perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate (HR) and plasma BCAA and tryptophan concentrations were assessed. Leucine supplementation resulted in significant increases in plasma leucine and total BCAA concentrations. Upper body power and work significantly increased in both groups after supplementation but power was significantly greater after leucine supplementation compared to the placebo [6.7 (0.7) v. 6.0 (0.7) W kg(-1)]. Rowing time significantly increased [77.6 (6.3)-88.3 (7.3) min] and average RPE significantly decreased [14.5 (1.5)-12.9 (1.4)] with leucine supplementation while these variables were unchanged with the placebo. Leucine supplementation had no effect on the plasma tryptophan to BCAA ratio, HR or anthropometric variables. Six weeks’ dietary leucine supplementation significantly improved endurance performance and upper body power in outrigger canoeists without significant change in the plasma ratio of tryptophan to BCAA.


Branch chain amino acids and glutamine maximise recovery and improve immune function


J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2008 Sep;48(3):347-51.

Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system.

Negro M, Giardina S, Marzani B, Marzatico F.

Since the 1980’s there has been high interest in branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) by sports nutrition scientists. The metabolism of BCAA is involved in some specific biochemical muscle processes and many studies have been carried out to understand whether sports performance can be enhanced by a BCAA supplementation. However, many of these researches have failed to confirm this hypothesis. Thus, in recent years investigators have changed their research target and focused on the effects of BCAA on the muscle protein matrix and the immune system. Data show that BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis. Muscle damage develops delayed onset muscle soreness: a syndrome that occurs 24-48 h after intensive physical activity that can inhibit athletic performance. Other recent works indicate that BCAA supplementation recovers peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation in response to mitogens after a long distance intense exercise, as well as plasma glutamine concentration. The BCAA also modifies the pattern of exercise-related cytokine production, leading to a diversion of the lymphocyte immune response towards a Th1 type. According to these findings, it is possible to consider the BCAA as a useful supplement for muscle recovery and immune regulation for sports events.

J Appl Physiol. 2004 Aug;97(2):585-91. Epub 2004 Apr 23.

Chronic glutamine supplementation increases nasal but not salivary IgA during 9 days of interval training.

Krieger JW, Crowe M, Blank SE.

Clinical and Experimental Exercise Science Graduate Program, Washington State University, Spokane, PO Box 1495, Spokane, WA 99210-1495, USA. Oral glutamine supplementation during and after exercise abolishes exercise-induced decreases in plasma glutamine concentration but does not affect secretory IgA (sIgA) salivary output. Whether chronic glutamine supplementation during high-intensity interval training influences salivary and nasal sIgA concentration is unknown. The purpose of this study was examine the effects of chronic glutamine supplementation on sIgA during intense running training. Runners (n = 13, body mass 69.9 +/- 2.8 kg, peak whole body oxygen uptake 55.5 +/- 2, age 29.1 +/- 2.8 yr) participated in twice-daily interval training for 9-9.5 days, followed by recovery (5-7 days). Oral glutamine supplement (0.1 g/kg) or placebo was given four times daily for the first 14 days. After an overnight fast, venous blood, nasal washes, and stimulated saliva were collected at baseline (T1), midtraining (T2), posttraining (T3), and after recovery (T4). Mood states were assessed by using Profile of Mood States (POMS) inventories. We found that glutamine concentration in resting subjects decreased from T1 to T4 (P < 0.05) and was not altered by supplementation. Salivary IgA concentration and output were unchanged by training or supplementation. Mean nasal IgA across the study period was greater in runners receiving glutamine (264.7 +/- 35.0 microg/mg protein) vs. placebo (172.4 +/- 33.7 microg/mg protein; P < 0.05). POMS analyses indicated that vigor was lower at T3 vs. T1 (P < 0.05) and fatigue was higher at T2 vs. T1 and T4 (P < 0.05). We conclude that chronic glutamine supplementation during interval training results in higher nasal IgA than placebo but does not affect salivary IgA concentration or output.