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Milk May Provide Boost to Muscles after Exercise

According to a study recently published in the August issue of Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, consuming milk after exercise could aid in the recuperation of muscles.

The researchers found that the proteins and carbohydrates (CHO) in milk may help reduce exercised-induced muscle damage (EIMD), which leads to the degradation of protein structures within the muscle.

Four groups of six healthy males were used in this study. Each of the participants induced EIMD by exercising and were then asked to consume either semi-skimmed milk, a milk-based carbohydrate-protein supplement (milk-based CHO-P), water or a sports drink.

Delayed-onset muscle soreness, isokinetic muscle performance, creatine kinase, and myoglobin were analyzed immediately before, 24 hours and 48 hours after exercise to measure muscle damage.

The researchers found milk and milk-based supplements to be superior in aiding muscle recovery and increasing muscle performance when compared to water or sports drinks.

For instance, peak performance and the total amount of work accomplished in a given exercise set was significantly higher after 48 hours in the groups that consumed milk or milk based supplements. They also found that creatine kinase and myoglobin levels were significantly lower after 48 hours.

Creatine kinase is an enzyme found in the muscle and the brain and increased levels indicate damage to muscles. Myoglobin is a protein which is released from damaged muscle tissue and can therefore also be measured as an indicator of muscle damage.

This is not the first study to explore the potential for milk as a post exercise recovery aid but it is the first to specifically explore milk's ability to decrease muscle damage following exercise.

Today, milk has won favor among many athletes. At the recent Beijing Olympic's Michael Phelps could be seen drinking milk in the place of sports drinks throughout his historic performance that resulted in 8 gold medals.
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