Background: We examined the effects of short-term consumption of whey protein isolate on muscle proteins and force recovery after eccentrically-induced muscle damage in healthy individuals.
Methods: Seventeen untrained male participants (23 ± 5 yr, 180 ± 6 cm, 80 ± 11 kg) were randomly separated into two supplement groups: i) whey protein isolate (WPH; n = 9); or ii) carbohydrate (CHO; n = 8). Participants consumed 1.5 g/kg.bw/day supplement (~30 g consumed immediately, and then once with breakfast, lunch, in the afternoon and after the evening meal) for a period of 14 days following a unilateral eccentric contraction-based resistance exercise session, consisting of 4 sets of 10 repetitions at 120% of maximum voluntary contraction on the leg press, leg extension and leg flexion exercise machine. Plasma creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels were assessed as blood markers of muscle damage. Muscle strength was examined by voluntary isokinetic knee extension using a Cybex dynamometer. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA with an alpha of 0.05.
Results: Isometric knee extension strength was significantly higher following WPH supplementation 3 (P < 0.05) and 7 (P < 0.01) days into recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage compared to CHO supplementation. In addition, strong tendencies for higher isokinetic forces (extension and flexion) were observed during the recovery period following WPH supplementation, with knee extension strength being significantly greater (P < 0.05) after 7 days recovery. Plasma LDH levels tended to be lower (P = 0.06) in the WPH supplemented group during recovery.
Conclusions: The major finding of this investigation was that whey protein isolate supplementation attenuated the impairment in isometric and isokinetic muscle forces during recovery from exercise-induced muscle injury.