News in brief: BCAA, Citrulline Malate and Red Wine

This is a first for me on this site. Rather than an article focusing on one particular subject or topic, a ‘News in brief’ update will feature several topics that I have deemed interesting enough for a paragraph or two, but not interesting enough for me to dedicate an entire article to. There is so much science I read on a daily basis that I want to tell you about, but I am restricted in that I can’t make it interesting enough (some of it is horrendously dull) to warrant a complete update. So without further ado, let me present the first installment of (hopefully) many.

Branch chain amino acids ease muscle soreness

A few articles ago I discussed “the chief” branch chain amino acid (BCAA) leucine. Today I will discuss them as a collective entity because the researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK did just that while looking into their effects on muscle soreness. They had some guys perform heavy negatives on the leg extension with half of the twenty-four man group receiving BCAA right before, a little time after the exercise, and then a couple more doses over the day. A similar protocol was followed for two days after.

The supplementation did not affect the men’s ability to produce force with the muscle, which was pretty much screwed in both groups after the exercise (which is really of no surprise to anyone that has done a lot of heavy negatives). But the BCAA did help reduce muscle soreness from the exercise. This suggests that BCAA may be an ideal supplement for performance athletes.

Source: Jackman SR, Witard OC, Jeukendrup AE, Tipton KD. Branched-chain amino acid ingestion can ameliorate soreness from eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 May;42(5):962-70.

Citrulline Malate the ergogen

Citrulline malate (CM) is the amino acid citrulline bonded to the organic Krebs cycle intermediary malic acid. Citrulline is heavily involved in the urea cycle in the kidneys, helping to remove the build-up of ammonia and being converted to arginine in the process which releases nitric oxide (NO). NO is a second messenger in the body, helping promote blood flow, increase nutrient uptake and a whole host of other things. Citrulline also promotes bicarbonate re-absorption by the kidneys which can help buffer against any change in pH that ammonia build-up can cause, especially during exercise.

Researchers in Ireland gave study participants a fairly large 8g dose of CM prior to one of the two workouts they participated in. By taking the CM, the participants were able to achieve more reps during the workout, and reported significant decreases in muscle soreness from training. The only side effect, stomach discomfort, which I’d expect to experience myself too if I took an eight-gram dose!

Source: Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline Malate Enhances Athletic Anaerobic Performance and Relieves Muscle Soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr 7.

Red wine the sexual lubricant

As you will note in the references below, this is a slightly old article from mid-2009 that I have been sitting on for a while. That is because I was trying to write an article that is both informative and yet entertaining. But ultimately, it just tells us what we’ve known for a long time – red wine makes the women randy.

Yes, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a paper investigating almost eight-hundred women who filled in a Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire. Now, in the sub-header I refer to red wine as a “sexual lubricant”, which you no doubt read in jest as a figure of speech, but as it happens there is a physical truth to this. This is because the women who drank red wine on a daily basis had higher levels of sexual desire, lubrication and generally had better sex lives than those who were essentially tee-total. They do not discuss it in the paper, but I imagine the well-known effect that (any) alcohol has on abolishing inhibitions probably helps a lot in this regard. Nevertheless, next time you’re in a bar laying down your best lines on a lovely lady who just so happens to be drinking the red stuff, there’s a pretty decent chance that you may be getting lucky if you hit the right notes.

Source: Mondaini N, Cai T, Gontero P, Gavazzi A, Lombardi G, Boddi V, Bartoletti R. Regular moderate intake of red wine is linked to a better women’s sexual health. J Sex Med. 2009 Oct;6(10):2772-7.

About the Author

Matt Cahill has worked extensively in the nutritional supplement field, and is the former CEO of Designer Supplements. During his time in the field has researched and developed prohormones, testosterone boosters, and other related compounds, both for his own company and others.