Consuming a protein drink immediately after weight-training exercise dramatically stimulates muscle growth and repair, according to a new report from researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
In the study, a group of athletes were given either a placebo drink (no protein, carbohydrate or fat), a carbohydrate drink (8 grams of carbohydrate) or a drink containing 10 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of fat immediately following intensive leg-training exercise.
Compared to the placebo, the carbohydrate drink did not alter whole-body protein synthesis during the recovery period; in contrast, the protein plus carbohydrate drink increased leg protein synthesis six-fold and whole-body protein synthesis by 15 percent.
"These findings suggest that the availability of amino acids (protein) is more important than the availability of energy (carbs) for post-exercise repair and synthesis of muscle proteins," concluded Dr. D.K. Levenhagen and colleagues.