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Dairy Proteins May Protect Muscles Following A Workout

Working out stresses your muscles and can potentially do damage if you're not careful to take care of your body post-workout. A new, as yet unpublished study presented at Experimental Biology May 3, 2012 suggests that consuming a supplement consisting of a protein blend could provide your muscles with much needed amino acids, thereby protecting them from damage.

The University of Texas based researchers recruited 20 young adults for their double-blind, randomized clinical trial. The participants consumed either a 17.5g whey supplement or 20g of the trial supplement one hour after they completed high-intensity leg resistance exercise. The trial supplement consisted of 25% isolated soy protein, 25% whey protein and 50% casein.

Muscle biopsies were conducted before the supplements were administered and then again at two different times: “early,” which was defined as 1-3 hours after exercise, and “late,” which was defined as 3-5 hours after exercise.

The researchers noted that the supplement blend provided amino acid delivery to the participants' muscles up to 5 hours after ingestion, meaning that the supplement blend better protects your muscles from damage than whey protein alone.

These effects are probably a result of the different rates of digestion for the different types of protein. Whey is processed by the body quickly, providing immediate nutrition, while soy is processed a bit later. Casein takes the longest to work its way through the digestive system.

It takes at least 24-48 hours for muscles to recover after resistance training. Therefore when a person consumed the trial supplement post-workout, their muscles received important nutrients over an extended period of time to feed their muscles until their next meal.

75% of the proteins used in this trial were dairy-based, adding yet more evidence to the claim that dairy proteins are essential for muscle health. Dairy products have also been linked with bone health, diabetes prevention, weight loss, and improved mental function.

If you’re looking to add more dairy to your diet, make sure you stick to the low-fat dairy products as the high fat content of “whole milk” products could reduce the positive benefits.

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