The synergistic stimulating effect of combined intake of carbohydrate and protein on plasma insulin concentration has been reported previously. However, it remains unclear whether the amount of protein ingested after exercise affects the concentrations of plasma insulin and amino acids. This study of trained men compared the effects of post-exercise co-ingestion of carbohydrate plus different amounts of whey protein hydrolysates (WPHs) with carbohydrate alone on (1) blood biochemical parameters of carbohydrate metabolism during the post-exercise phase, and (2) endurance performance. Eight trained men exercised continuously for 70 min. Immediately after exercise and 30, 60, 90, and 120 min later, the participants received supplements containing: (1) 17.5 g carbohydrate, (2) 3.0 g WPHs and 17.5 g carbohydrate (L-WPH), or (3) 8.0 g WPHs and 17.5 g carbohydrate (H-WPH). After a 2-h recovery period, the participants performed an endurance performance test. The concentrations of blood glucose were lower and plasma insulin significantly higher in the H-WPH trial compared with the carbohydrate trial. The concentrations of plasma amino acids were increased in a dose-dependent manner following ingestion of different amounts of WPHs with carbohydrate. Endurance performance was not significantly different between the three trials. Co-ingestion of carbohydrate and H-WPH was more effective than ingestion of carbohydrate alone for stimulating insulin secretion and increasing the availability of plasma amino acids. These results suggest that plasma concentrations of amino acids during the recovery period are determined by the amount of dietary protein ingested, and that it is necessary to increase the concentration of plasma amino acids above a certain level to stimulate insulin secretion.
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