by Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.
More and more athletes are consuming protein and carbohydrate drinks after exercise to help rebuild muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) and protein. But do they work?
A study by Dr. S. L. Miller and colleagues from University of Texas Branch, Galveston, TX, investigated whether consuming a drink containing carbohydrate and the amino acid phenylalanine, a drink containing only the amino acid phenylalanine, or a simple carbohydrate drink after weight training to see which beverage was more effective in stimulating insulin and adding in the uptake of amino acids for protein synthesis. The mixed drink of carbohydrate and phenylalanine stimulated muscle protein synthesis and prevented muscle breakdown better than a standard carbohydrate drink or amino acid drink.
This research supports other research showing that a carbohydrate and protein drink is most effective in stimulating muscle growth and also glycogen storage.