My laboratory is working to define protein and amino acid requirements and the interrelationship between dietary protein and carbohydrates in adult health. Our research is focused on the impact of diet and exercise on adult health problems of obesity, type 2 diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome. Exercise is of obvious importance to health in maintenance of lean body mass, energy expenditure and weight control. Surprisingly little is known about amino acid requirements during exercise or the impact of amino acids on metabolic regulation. We have helped to define roles of the branched chain amino acids (BCAA) in skeletal muscle metabolism. BCAA provide an important energy source for muscle during exercise and also serve as a critical regulator of muscle protein synthesis during recovery. During exercise, oxidation of BCAA increases, resulting in production of the amino acid alanine and a rapid decline in plasma levels of BCAA. Amino acid supplements prevent this decline in plasma amino acids, enhance recovery of muscle protein synthesis and interact with insulin to help stabilize blood glucose. We are continuing this research to define mechanisms for control of muscle protein synthesis and differences in dietary protein needs for men versus women and for adults with sedentary versus active lifestyles.
Honors and Awards
American Men and Women of Science
Who's Who in Science and Engineering
BioServ Award from the American Institute of Nutrition
Shannon Award from the National Institute of Health