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Several different proteins and their analogues have been assessed for their role in relieving exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) and recovery. While whey protein hydrolysate (WPH) supplementation has shown promise, evidence is lacking for women.
A study by Brown et al assessed if whey protein supplementation benefits women following repeated-sprint exercise. For the study, 20 physically active females received whey protein supplement or isoenergetic carbohydrate (CHO) for 4 days post-EIMD. Muscle soreness, limb girth, flexibility, muscle function, and creatine kinase were measured before, immediately after, and 24, 48, and 72 h post-exercise.
Investigators noted time effects for all the parameters studied except limb girth. Flexibility was shown to improve beyond baseline measures with whey protein supplementation by 72 h; however, it did not recover in the CHO group. Of note, reactive strength index was higher through the course of recovery in the whey protein group compared with CHO group. Whey protein group also had greater reductions in creatine kinase compared with CHO at 48 h post-EIMD.
The study thus suggested that 4-day supplementation with whey protein reduces symptoms of EIMD and enhances recovery of muscle function among physically active females.
- Brown MA, Stevenson EJ, Howatson G.Whey protein hydrolysate supplementation accelerates recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in females. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2018 Apr;43(4):324-330.