Alpha keto acids fighting ammonia in the body
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/27/2012 -- Researchers from two major universities (the University of Ulm in Germany and Southeast University in Nanjing, China) explained that resistance to exercise may occur because of a buildup of ammonia in the body. This is known as hyperammonemia.
Their hypothesis is that alpha-keto acids fight this hyperammonemia because they are nitrogen-free sources of amino acids. Alpha-keto acids are converted to amino acids in the body. This conversion is known as transamination, which reduces the level of ammonia in the body.
They tested their hypothesis by giving untrained men daily supplements of alpha-keto acids for five weeks. They found that taking the daily supplements increased tolerance for exercise as well as training effects. The stress recovery rate after exercise also improved as a result of the alpha-keto acids.
This was a relatively small study, with 33 untrained young adult males. The subjects of the study engaged in physical exercise for four weeks. The subjects were placed in one of three groups. Each was given either alpha-ketoglutarate (0.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day), branched-chain keto acids (0.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day), or an isocaloric placebo. There was an additional week where the subjects did not receive any supplements, and were simply observed to see if the benefits of the earlier four weeks lasted.
The results showed that the subjects who received the alpha-ketoglutarate or the branched-chain keto acids had significant improvements in training volume, maximum power output, and muscle torque, in comparison to the subjects who received the placebo.
Additionally, the group that received the placebo reported higher levels of fatigue, stress, and emotional exhaustion than the other two groups.
The researchers feel that further studies are needed to determine whether the alpha-keto acids affect the homeostasis of amino acids and/or the metabolization of ammonia during and after exercise.
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