While whey protein supplementation helps athletes build lean body mass, progress can be stifled by overlooking a key facet of training: muscle recovery. New research from theJournal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN) tests a whey protein supplement fortified with compounds designed to aid in muscle recovery following highly demanding resistance exercise. The Addition of Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate and Isomaltulose to Whey Protein Improves Recovery from Highly Demanding Resistance Exercise is available now for free access. JACN is the official publication of the American College of Nutrition.

Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) is a metabolite of leucine, a branched-chain amino acid found in whey protein that activates key protein synthesis enzymes post-exercise. Recent studies of HMB supplementation support its ability to encourage synthesis and reduce breakdown of muscle protein. Isomaltulose is a slow-release carbohydrate believed to prevent glycogen depletion in endurance athletes. The study at hand set out to test the muscle recovery benefits of a supplement combining whey protein, HMB, and isomaltulose against whey protein alone.

A group of resistance-trained men ingested a whey protein, HMB, and isomaltulose supplement or just whey protein at intervals before, during, and following 3 consecutive days of intense resistance exercise. Treatment outcomes were evaluated using blood-based muscle damage markers and hormones, perceptual measures of muscle soreness, and counter-movement jump performance.

Conclusion: Researchers observed reductions in markers of muscle damage and improved athletic performance in subjects taking the whey protein, HMB, and isomaltulose supplement, suggesting that whey protein supplementation can be optimized for muscle recovery during intense conditioning by adding HMB and a slow-release carbohydrate.