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Protein Supplements May Boost Muscle Growth Improve Heart Rate

Protein supplements are popular with athletes and body builders because they are thought to enhance muscle growth. A recent study suggests that consuming a protein supplement during intensive cycle training boosts muscle growth and improves heart rate but does not measurably affect performance.


Participants in the study included seven men and women who were given either supplemental carbohydrate (CHO) or an equal amount of carbohydrate with added protein (CP) equal to 0.94 g/kg/day of additional protein during and after intensive training. The CHO group consumed a commercially available carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage, while the CP group was given a consumed an identical beverage that also contained hydrolyzed whey protein isolate powder.


All of the participants underwent two 20-day training blocks. The first 10 days consisted of intensive cycle training, during which duration was increased to 220% of normal training levels. The second 10 days of training were at 65% of normal training levels.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted improvements in skeletal function and morphology in the CP group following training as well as improved heart rate. However, they did not note any differences in performance between the two groups.


Researchers from James Madison University conducted the study. It was published on September 7, 2016, in the journal Nutrients.


Protein functions as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is also a building block for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Previous studies suggest that consuming high amounts of protein may help build muscle and increase metabolism.

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