The fate of dietary protein in the gut is determined by microbial and host digestion and utilization. Fermentation of proteins generates bioactive molecules that have wide-ranging health effects on the host. The type of protein can affect amino acid absorption, with animal proteins generally being more efficiently absorbed compared with plant proteins. In contrast to animal proteins, most plant proteins, such as pea protein, are incomplete proteins. Pea protein is low in methionine and contains lower amounts of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which play a crucial role in muscle health. We hypothesized that probiotic supplementation results in favorable changes in the gut microbiota, aiding the absorption of amino acids from plant proteins by the host. Fifteen physically active men (24.2 ± 5.0 years; 85.3 ± 12.9 kg; 178.0 ± 7.6 cm; 16.7 ± 5.8% body fat) co-ingested 20 g of pea protein with either AminoAlta™, a multi-strain probiotic (5 billion CFU L. paracasei LP-DG® (CNCM I-1572) plus 5 billion CFU L. paracasei LPC-S01 (DSM 26760), SOFAR S.p.A., Italy) or a placebo for 2 weeks in a randomized, double-blind, crossover design, separated by a 4-week washout period. Blood samples were taken at baseline and at 30-, 60-, 120-, and 180-min post-ingestion and analyzed for amino acid content. Probiotic administration significantly increased methionine, histidine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, tyrosine, total BCAA, and total EAA maximum concentrations (Cmax) and AUC without significantly changing the time to reach maximum concentrations. Probiotic supplementation can be an important nutritional strategy to improve post-prandial changes in blood amino acids and to overcome compositional shortcomings of plant proteins. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: ISRCTN38903788.
- Amino acid absorption
- Muscle health