Purpose: Although acute prolonged strenuous exercise has been shown to increase markers of gastrointestinal permeability and damage, little is known regarding the efficacy of nutritional supplement interventions on the attenuation of exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome. This study addressed the effects of oral amino acid supplementation on markers of gastrointestinal permeability and damage in response to exercise. Methods: Sixteen active men aged 22.7 ± 2.6 years (mean ± standard deviation) completed placebo or cystine and glutamine supplementation trials in random order. Participants received either a placebo or cystine and glutamine supplements, three times a day for 5 days, separated by a 2-week washout period. On day 6, participants took their designated supplements 30 min before running at a speed corresponding to 75% of maximal oxygen uptake for 1 h, followed by a 4-h rest period. Blood samples were collected pre-exercise, immediately post-exercise, 30 min post-exercise, and 1, 2 and 4 h post-exercise on day 6. The plasma lactulose to mannitol ratio (L:M) and plasma intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (I-FABP) were used as markers of gastrointestinal permeability and damage, respectively. Results: Plasma L:M (linear mixed model, coefficient ± standard error: − 0.011 ± 0.004, P = 0.0090) and changes (i.e., from pre-exercise) in plasma I-FABP (linear mixed model, − 195.3 ± 65.7 coefficient ± standard error (pg/mL), P = 0.0035) were lower in the cystine and glutamine supplementation trial than in the placebo trial. Conclusion: Oral cystine and glutamine supplementation attenuated the markers of gastrointestinal permeability and damage after 1 h of strenuous running in young men. Trial registration number: UMIN000026008. Date of registration: 13 December 2018.
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