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Does whey supplementation help muscle function recover after lifting?

In this review, we cover the first meta-analysis examining whey protein’s impact on muscle function recovery after resistance training.

Study under review: The Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation on the Temporal Recovery of Muscle Function Following Resistance Training: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Introduction

A decrease in muscle function[1] normally occurs in the hours and days after strength training, as depicted in Figure 1. This persistent muscle fatigue can compromise subsequent athletic performance. Similarly, if the fatigue extends to the next training bout, the intensity and volume of the training can be negatively impacted, which may lead to diminished long-term strength and lean muscle gains.

Specific amino acids and protein are often used in an attempt to facilitate post-training improvements in muscle growth and strength. Mechanistically, these supplements are known to increase muscle protein synthesis[2], which may help to facilitate recovery and adaptation during the post-workout period. In particular, whey protein is considered to be a superior source[3] of protein, partly because of its amino acid profile and how rapidly it is digested and absorbed. If whey protein supplementation could mitigate post-resistance exercise fatigue, it could prove useful for athletes and individuals who train frequently.

In spite of the ubiquity of whey protein supplements, there had been no meta-analyses examining its effect on the restoration of muscle function, which was the motivation for the study under review.

Muscle strength is naturally reduced after resistance training, and protein supplements are often used to facilitate recovery and adaptation. Whey is a common high-quality protein source. This is the first meta-analysis examining its effects on post-workout fatigue.

Who and what was studied?

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Other Articles in Issue #43 (May 2018)