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It is a commonly held belief that athletes, particularly body builders, have greater requirements for dietary protein than sedentary individuals. However, the evidence in support of this contention is controversial. This book is the latest in a series of publications designed to inform both civilian and military scientists and personnel about issues related to nutrition and military service.

Among the many other stressors they experience, soldiers face unique nutritional demands during combat. Of particular concern is the role that dietary protein might play in controlling muscle mass and strength, response to injury and infection, and cognitive performance. The first part of the book contains the committee's summary of the workshop, responses to the Army's questions, conclusions, and recommendations. The remainder of the book contains papers contributed by speakers at the workshop on such topics as, the effects of aging and hormones on regulation of muscle mass and function, alterations in protein metabolism due to the stress of injury or infection, the role of individual amino acids, the components of proteins, as neurotransmitters, hormones, and modulators of various physiological processes, and the efficacy and safety considerations associated with dietary supplements aimed at enhancing performance.


Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 1999. The Role of Protein and Amino Acids in Sustaining and Enhancing Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

448 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-06346-3
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-17281-3
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xviii
Executive Summary 1-16
I Committee Summary and Recommendations 17-18
1 Committee Review 19-76
2 Responses to Questions, Conclusions, and Recommendations 77-82
II Authored Papers and Workshop Discussions 83-84
3 Protein and Amino Acids: Physiological Optimization for Current and Future Military Operational Scenarios 85-92
4 Overview of Garrison, Field, and Supplemental Protein Intake by U.S. Military Personnel 93-108
5 The Energy Costs of Protein Metabolism: Lean and Mean on Uncle Sam's Team 109-120
6 Regulation of Muscle Mass and Function: Effects of Aging and Hormones 121-136
7 Effects of Protein Intake on Renal Function and on the Development of Renal Disease 137-154
8 Infection and Injury: Effects on Whole Body Protein Metabolism 155-168
9 Inherent Difficulties in Defining Amino Acid Requirements 169-216
10 Amino Acid Flux and Requirements: Counterpoint Tentative Estimates are Feasible and Necessary 217-242
11 Physical Exertion, Amino Acid and Protein Metabolism, and Protein Requirements 243-254
12 Skeletal Muscle Markers 255-278
13 Alterations in Protein Metabolism Due to the Stress of Injury and Infection 279-284
Discussion I 285-288
14 Amino Acid and Protein Requirements: Cognitive Performance, Stress, and Brain Function 289-308
15 Supplementation with Branched-Chain Amino Acids, Glutamine, and Protein Hydrolysates: Rationale for Effects on Metabolism and Performance 309-330
16 Dietary Supplements Aimed at Enhancing Performance: Efficacy and Safety Considerations 331-340
Discussion II 341-346
Appendixes 347-348
A Workshop Agenda 349-352
B Biographical Sketches 353-368
C Acronyms and Abbreviations 369-372
D Proteins and Amino Acids - A Selected Bibliography 373-410
E Protein and Energy Content of Selected Operational Rations 411-412
Index 413-429

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