November 11, 2017

The Effect of Supplementation with Branched-Chain Amino Acids on Cognitive Function in Active Dog

This study was to assess the effect of BCAA (mixture of 40% valine, 35% leucine, and 25% isoleucine) in a 7% carbohydrate solution) on the agility performance of dogs.

This study was to assess the effect of BCAA (mixture of 40% valine, 35% leucine, and 25% isoleucine) in a 7% carbohydrate solution) on the performance of dogs over an agility course that requires both physical and cognitive abilities.

 Total of 24 dogs were tested, and they were divided into two groups based on age;  young (1.5-3.5y) and senior (>8y). Four breeds of dogs were tested; Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever.

Dogs underwent 7 week of pretrial training over a standard, 7 obstacle agility course. In the real test, they underwent 3 consecutive standard course, followed immediately by 4th course in different area and with different configuration.

 Proportion of valine, leucine, isoleucine, and carbohydrate solution kept same as in human study. The ratio was based on 30kg Labrador. The only difference from human study was that BCAA was given only before exercise and not during it.

 Outcomes can be focused on two aspects of age and supplementation, or both.

1.       Senior dogs made fewer total errors than young dogs on round 4. Possible reason for this can be greater experience of senior dogs.

2.       Supplementation gave greater enhance in performance of senior dogs than that of young dogs.

3.       Mean error performance decreased the most in Cocker Spaniel and English Springer Spaniel. It increased the most in Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever. Ultimately the order of performance improvement is Cocker Spaniel, English Springer Spaniel, Labrador Retriever, and Golden Retriever.

4.       Loss of performance was greatly reduced for senior dogs that are supplemented.

5.       BCAA supplementation had less effect in younger dogs.

 In conclusion, BCAA supplementation helped dogs to sustain cognitive performance during exercise, therefore provide a cognitive and physical benefit to active dogs, particularly if they are senior.

 Study points out larger sample size as one of the possible improvements of this study. Larger sample size is needed to confirm the results.

 

​Reviewed by Yunji Baik

Full article: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/7/2069S.full.pdf+html?sid=c2453888-3054-469f-98e5-d6f45a256ed8