Although the evidence for the benefits of recovery nutrition has been proven in many peer reviewed studies, we continue to learn more about the underlying science. The original research demonstrated that combining carbs and protein in a 4:1 ratio stimulated protein synthesis and repair following endurance exercise. These effects translated into enhanced endurance performance in a subsequent work out.
A recently published study looked at the impact of carbohydrate and protein consumption on post exercise muscle damage. The investigators analyzed blood levels of creatine kinase and myoglobin bio markers of muscle damage. What made this well designed study particularly interesting is the researchers also measured biological proteins produced by your body to fight inflammation. The researchers speculated that any reduction in muscle damage following exercise translates into more rapid regenerative effects and improved performance in a subsequent exercise bout.
Following an acute bout of endurance exercise, the protocol compared the effects of a carb/protein recovery beverage and consumption of food items that had a similar nutrient profile as the recovery beverage, to a control group that ingested nothing. In addition to measuring multiple markers of muscle damage and anti-inflammatory proteins, the researchers also measured leg strength 24 hours later. The groups receiving either the recovery drink or nutrient matched food items had a reduction in markers of muscle damage, an increase in anti-inflammatory proteins and an improvement in leg strength 24 hours later.
The bottom line – Confirmation once again that the right combination of nutrients following endurance exercise helps you recover faster and come back stronger.