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Diverse characteristics of the urinary excretion of amino acids in humans and the use of amino acid supplementation to reduce fatigue and sub-health in adults

Journal article
Authors R. H. Dunstan
D. L. Sparkes
M. M. Macdonald
X. J. De Jonge
B. J. Dascombe
Johan Gottfries
Carl-Gerhard Gottfries
T. K. Roberts
Published in Nutrition Journal
Volume 16
Issue 19
ISSN 1475-2891
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Language en
Keywords Sub-health, Fatigue, Amino acids, Nutritional supplement, Collagen turnover, Urine, symptom expression, protein-turnover, andropause, histidine, requirements, epidemiology, association, metabolism, nutrition, children, Nutrition & Dietetics
Subject categories Epidemiology, Nutrition and Dietetics


Background: The excretion of amino acids in urine represents an important avenue for the loss of key nutrients. Some amino acids such as glycine and histidine are lost in higher abundance than others. These two amino acids perform important physiological functions and are required for the synthesis of key proteins such as haemoglobin and collagen. Methods: Stage 1 of this study involved healthy subjects(n = 151) who provided first of the morning urine samples and completed symptom questionnaires. Urine was analysed for amino acid composition by gas chromatography. Stage 2 involved a subset of the initial cohort (n = 37) who completed a 30 day trial of an amino acid supplement and subsequent symptom profile evaluation. Results: Analyses of urinary amino acid profiles revealed that three groups could be objectively defined from the 151 participants using k-means clustering. The amino acid profiles were significantly different between each of the clusters (Wilks' Lambda = 0.13, p < 0.0001). Cluster 1 had the highest loss of amino acids with histidine being the most abundant component. Cluster 2 had glycine present as the most abundant urinary amino acid and cluster 3 had equivalent abundances of glycine and histidine. Strong associations were observed between urinary proline concentrations and fatigue/pain scores (r =.56 to.83) for females in cluster 1, with several other differential sets of associations observed for the other clusters. Conclusions: Different phenotypic subsets exist in the population based on amino acid excretion characteristics found in urine. Provision of the supplement resulted in significant improvements in reported fatigue and sleep for 81% of the trial cohort with all females reporting improvements in fatigue.

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