Objective: The aim of the present study was to examine cerebral oxygenation during high-intensity exercise in elite basketball players who consumed supplements with different whey protein contents after a short postexercise recovery to determine whether changing whey protein content in carbohydrate-based supplementation influences cerebral hemodynamic response when the supplement was consumed during a 2-h recovery after a 1-h exercise challenge.
Methods: This was a randomized, counterbalanced crossover study. Fifteen Division 1 collegiate basketball players (18-20 y) consumed 6.25 kcal/kg of either high-protein (36% protein in total calorie) or an isocaloric low-protein (12% protein in total calorie) control supplement in a carbohydrate-based drink immediately after a 1-h cycling (70% of maximal oxygen consumption [VO2max]). After a 2-h rest, the athletes were challenged on a cycloergometer at 80% VO2max. Blood perfusion (total hemoglobin) and oxygen saturation of frontal brain were continuously measured by near-infrared spectroscopy during the cycling.
Results: Before the cycloergometer test, high-protein supplementation increased peak insulin response and lowered glucose increases during the recovery compared with the low-protein trial. High-protein supplementation enhanced increases in cerebral oxygen saturation (P < 0.01) and attenuated increases in cerebral blood perfusion (total hemoglobin; P < 0.01) during the cycloergometer exercise; and resulted in a 16% longer cycling time (from 474 ± 49 s to 553 ± 78 s, P < 0.05), compared with the low-protein trial.
Conclusion: Enhanced fatigue recovery after consumption of a high-protein supplement is associated with enhanced cerebral oxygenation against exercise challenge, which spares brain blood demand for periphery.
Keywords: Endurance performance; Frontal brain; Hemodynamic; NIRS; Whey protein.
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