Physical performance and regeneration after exercise is enhanced by the ingestion of proteins and carbohydrates. These nutrients are generally consumed by athletes via whey protein and glucose-based shakes. In this study, effects of protein and carbohydrate on skeletal muscle regeneration, given either by shake or by a meal, were compared. 35 subjects performed a 10 km run. After exercise, they ingested nothing (control), a protein/glucose shake (shake) or a combination of white bread and sour milk cheese (food) in a randomized cross over design. Serum glucose (n = 35), serum insulin (n = 35), serum creatine kinase (n = 15) and myoglobin (n = 15), hematologic parameters, cortisol (n = 35), inflammation markers (n = 27) and leg strength (n = 15) as a functional marker were measured. Insulin secretion was significantly stimulated by shake and food. In contrast, only shake resulted in an increase of blood glucose. Food resulted in a decrease of pro, and stimulation of anti-inflammatory serum markers. The exercise induced skeletal muscle damage, indicated by serum creatine kinase and myoglobin, and exercise induced loss of leg strength was decreased by shake and food. Our data indicate that uptake of protein and carbohydrate by shake or food reduces exercise induced skeletal muscle damage and has pro-regenerative effects.
Keywords: carbohydrates; endurance exercise; food; inflammation; protein; protein shake; skeletal muscle damage.