Do Protein Supplements Improve Recovery? - Chromatography Investigates
Apr 16 2020
Going to the gym to build a beach body - or just to keep fit - is big business. In 2019 it was reported that there are more gyms and more gym memberships in the UK than there has ever been. Over 10 million people are members of gyms and the industry is worth some £5 billion - 1 in 7 of us belong to a gym. How many use a gym is another story of course.
And sitting right alongside gym-going and exercising is nutrition. To ensure you can exercise and perform at your best you have to fuel the body. This means making sure that there are enough carbohydrates, fats and proteins in your diet to make the most of your hard work. Nutrition is important not just for fuelling your exercise but in ensuring you can recover fully too. Ready for the next session.
Getting enough protein
When we carry out some form of resistance-based exercise, we can stimulate a bout of mixed-muscle and myofibrillar protein synthesis or myoPS. Myofibrillar protein synthesis is simply the rate at which protein is being made in muscle tissue. This is essential not only for building muscle mass, but also for muscle recovery and adaptation. This is because protein is the main building block of our muscles.
The way to rebuild your muscles after exercise is through nutrition - making sure you eat and drink the right foods at the right times. It is normally recommended that we eat or drink within 30 minutes of finished exercise as this is a golden period to aid recovery. Many nutritionists recommend a combination of carbohydrates and proteins to ensure the body can replace glycogen and repair damaged muscles. But can protein supplements help?
More than curds and whey
Well this is a difficult and controversial subject. But a recent paper published in the journal Nutrients suggests that in the case of resistance trained male athletes - the answer is no. A group of researchers from the University of Limerick and University of Nottingham set out to investigate the effect of whey protein supplementation on myofibrillar protein synthesis and muscle recovery. They investigated over a 7-day period of resistance training.
The participants both consumed a controlled diet over the period with a fixed number of calories and protein based on their weight. One group used a whey protein supplement and there was a control group. Muscle biopsies were taken before and after the exercise program. The group monitored the effect busing gas chromatography-pyrolysis-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-Pyr-IRMS) and by analysing muscle recovery using exercises. The use of chromatography in protein analysis is discussed in the article, Elimination of the Sample Solvent Effect when Analysing Water Solutions of Basic Peptides by HILIC. The team found that over an intense 7-day period of resistance training and whey protein supplementation that day-to-day measures of myoPS were not enhanced.
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