Isolate Whey Protein Promotes Fluid Balance and Endurance Capacity Better Than Isolate Casein and Carbohydrate-Electrolyte Solution in a Warm, Humid Environment

Nutrients. 2023 Oct 16;15(20):4374. doi: 10.3390/nu15204374.


Protein ingestion is known to enhance post-exercise hydration. Whether the type of protein (i.e., whey, casein) can alter this response is unknown. Accordingly, this study aimed to compare the effects of the addition of milk-derived whey isolate or casein protein to carbohydrate-electrolyte (CE) drinks on post-exercise rehydration and endurance capacity. Thirty male soldiers (age: 24 ± 2.1 y; VO2max: 49.3 ± 4.7 mL/kg/min) were recruited. Upon losing ~2.2% of body mass by running in warm and humid conditions (32.3 °C, 76% relative humidity [RH]), participants ingested either a CE solution (66 g/L carbohydrate [CHO]), or CE plus isolate whey protein (CEW, 44 g/L CHO, 22 g/L isolate whey), or CE plus isolate casein protein (CEC, 44 g/L CHO, 22 g/L isolate casein) beverage in a volume equal to 150% of body mass loss. At the end of the 3 h rehydration period, a positive fluid balance was higher with CEW (0.22 L) compared to CEC (0.19 L) and CE (0.12 L). Overall mean fluid retention was higher in CEW (80.35%) compared with the CE (76.67%) and CEC trials (78.65%). The time of the endurance capacity test [Cooper 2.4 km (1.5 miles) run test] was significantly higher in CEC (14.25 ± 1.58 min) and CE [(12.90 ± 1.01 min; (p = 0.035)] than in CEW [(11.40 ± 1.41 min); (p = 0.001)]. The findings of this study indicate that the inclusion of isolate whey protein in a CE solution yields superior outcomes in terms of rehydration and enhanced endurance capacity, as compared to consuming the CE solution alone or in conjunction with isolate casein protein.

Keywords: fluid retention; net fluid balance; rehydration.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caseins*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates* / pharmacology
  • Electrolytes
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance
  • Whey Proteins
  • Young Adult


  • Whey Proteins
  • Caseins
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Electrolytes

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.