Jordan Stevenson’s MSc Thesis Proposal

Title: “The Effects of Essential and Non-Essential Amino Acids on Post-Exercise Muscle Collagen Synthesis in Young Men: a Randomized Controlled Trial”

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Cameron Mitchell
Committee Members: Dr. Michael Koehle, Dr. Alex Scott (Physical Therapy)
Chair: Dr Bill Sheel


Background: Collagen is a major structural protein in skeletal muscle extracellular matrix (ECM) which surrounds myofibers. Recent work suggests that ECM synthesis within muscle, termed muscle collagen synthesis (MCS), may be sensitive to amino acid supplementation after exercise. While the synergistic effects of the consumption of essential amino acids (EAA) such as leucine and resistance exercise (RE) are known to increase myofibrillar protein synthesis (MyoPS) in skeletal muscle, it is currently unknown whether MCS shares common nutritionally regulated pathways with MyoPS. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine which amino acids are affecting acute muscle collagen synthesis in response to supplementation and exercise.

Methods: This randomized controlled trial will involve thirty recreationally active males aged 18 – 35. Participants will complete an acute bout of unilateral resistance exercise and plyometric jumping prior to consuming a supplement containing 48 mg of vitamin C and 15 g of either: an EAA, collagen peptide, or maltodextrin supplement. The three treatment arms will serve to address the effects of EAA and the activation of the mTOR pathway on MCS, assess the effects of non-essential amino acids on MCS independent of the mTOR pathway, and control for the effects of exercise alone, respectively. Muscle biopsies, blood samples, and a phenylalanine tracer isotope infusion will be used to measure MyoPS and MCS.

Significance: Potential differences in MCS between the three treatment arms may further our understanding of the fundamental mechanisms regulating MCS.