Can adding protein to carbs affect recovery? 

Can adding protein to carbs affect recovery? 

We know that endurance exercise causes muscle damage, and we know carbohydrates are documented to improve endurance exercise performance, but some studies have suggested that combining carbohydrates with protein may be more effective than carbohydrates alone. [1]

A double blind crossover study done in 2023 looked at whether the combination of protein and carbs before exercise could help reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and performance. Researchers looked at 10 male recreational runners, who performed three separate treadmill testes in two phases – 60 minutes at 70% of VO2max, followed by a time-to-exhaustion run at 80% of VO2max.

Before each test, researchers had participants ingest a different combination of carb-carb or carb-protein 30 minutes before.

  • Carb-Carb: 0.4 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight, 30 minutes before phase 1 and again 30 minutes before phase 2
  • Protein-carb: 0.4 grams protein per kilogram body weight 30 minutes before phase 1 and 0.4 g carbs per kilogram body weight 30 min before phase 2
  • Carb-protein: 0.4 grams carbs per kilogram body weight 30 minutes before phase 1 and 0.4 grams protein per kilogram body weight 30 minutes before phase 2

The runners completed all three conditions in a randomly determined order, with a seven day washout period between each.

Researchers collected blood and urine samples before, immediately after, and 24 hours after exercise. The primary outcomes were markers of muscle damage: alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), creatine kinase (CK), and myoglobin (MB). The secondary outcomes were insulin, testosterone, cortisol, 3-methylhistidine (3-MH) (a marker of muscle protein breakdown), and muscle soreness (measured through a visual analog scale).

Although researchers did not find any differences in the time-to-exhaustion between any of the conditions, they did see an increase in ALT, AST, CK and MB immediately after exercise in all three.

  • ALT, AST, CK and MB levels were lower in the Protein-Carb condition, compared to the Carb-Carb, both immediately after and 24 hours after exercise
  • MB was also lower in the Carb-Protein condition 24 hours after exercise.
  • After 24 hours, 3-MH increased, but were lower in the Protein-Carb and Carb-Protein conditions, compared to the all carb condition.
  • Muscle soreness reportedly increased for all conditions 24 hours after exercse, but was lower in the Protein-Carb and Carb-Protein conditions, compared to all carb.

To read the full study, visit: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36250147/

References

  1. ^Saunders MJ, Kane MD, Todd MKEffects of a carbohydrate-protein beverage on cycling endurance and muscle damageMed Sci Sports Exerc.(2004 Jul)
0 Comments
Join The Conversation

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *