What good is a workout routine if you don’t get the right nutrients to rebuild the muscle any exercise inevitably breaks down? In these studies, whey protein, vitamin D and curcumin improved muscle recovery and boosted strength.
HMB with whey protein
Athletes often use whey protein to build lean muscle mass, but long recovery times after intense exercise can slow the process. In this study, 13 resistance-trained men, average age 23, took whey protein twice per day with or without hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) plus isomaltulose—a less-sweet natural sugar in honey and cane.
The men took the supplements two weeks before, then during three test days, followed by two more supplement days while resting. The test was one day of heavy resistance work and two days of metabolic resistance training.
Compared to whey protein alone, the men who took HMB had fewer signs of muscle damage and better athletic performance during the testing. After the test, men on HMB had less muscle soreness the first resting day, and had greater vertical jumping power on the first and second resting days.
Reference: Journal of the American College of Nutrition; 2015, Vol. 34, No. 2, 91-9
Vitamin D in young adults
Most vitamin D muscle studies have focused on older adults, but this review of seven studies covered 310 men and women aged 22 to 32. Participants in the studies took a placebo or vitamin D in doses of 4,000 IU per day up to 60,000 IU per week, and lasted from four weeks to six months.
Overall compared to placebo, those taking vitamin D saw greater improvements in upper and lower limb muscle strength. The average level of vitamin D at the start of all the studies was 12.3 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL); below the 20 ng/mL doctors believe is the minimum adequate level.
Reference: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport; 2015, Vol. 18, No. 5, 570-80
Curcumin reduced inflammation after exercise, showed less muscle damage
Serious and recreational athletes use resistance training to increase lean muscle mass in the hope of improving athletic performance over the long term. But the immediate effects one or two days after a weight-resistance workout can be muscle soreness that limits performance and further training. To counter these effects, athletes often use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, but these have serious side effects for some.
In this study, 28 people began taking a placebo or 400 mg of bioavailable curcumin per day, two days before through four days after an intense leg-press exercise designed to induce muscle damage. Both groups saw an increase in creatine kinase (CK), an enzyme that rises with muscle damage, but the curcumin group had 45 percent lower levels of CK compared to placebo.
Two signs of inflammation were also lower for curcumin compared to placebo, which doctors said may translate to faster muscle recovery and improved athletic performance sooner.
Reference: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta; June, 2016, Vol. 5, 72-8
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult a healthcare provider before starting a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications. For example, curcumin thins blood.
Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.