When you hydrolyze whey protein, you’re breaking the amino acid components of protein into smaller chains. What does this mean for exercise recovery? A study published in The Journal of Nutrition offers some interesting findings.

Researchers had healthy young men in their late 20s consume 0.08 grams of either hydrolyzed whey or intact whey protein per kilogram of body weight. They found that both supplements increased blood concentrations of the BCAA leucine and the delivery of leucine to muscle.

Muscle protein synthesis, which plays a key role in building and maintaining muscle, also increased to a similar degree with both supplements, but phenylalanine utilization for synthesis remained elevated for around 3 hours with hydrolyzed whey compared to about 1 hour with intact whey protein.

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Creatine Boosts Muscle Strength

Creatine has been extensively researched and found to be a safe and useful supplement for building muscle size and strength. Like protein shakes, you won’t see results right away from supplementing with creatine. But a study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness suggests you could notice increased strength within 2 weeks.

Young male subjects supplemented with 0.07 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight daily during 8 weeks of resistance training. They trained 3 times each week and had strength assessed for 6 exercises every 2 weeks.

Compared to subjects who received a placebo, subjects supplementing with creatine realized significantly greater strength gains on the bench press, leg press and shoulder press after 2 weeks of training. After 8 weeks, members of the creatine group were significantly stronger than placebo users on 4 of the 6 exercises. Researchers theorized greater muscle damage in the creatine group might be the result of greater training intensity.

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Like whey protein, casein is a complete protein containing all of the Essential Amino Acids. Also like whey, casein is made from cow’s milk. One major difference is casein’s rate of digestion, which is much slower than whey. This is why many active adults consume a casein protein shake before bed. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests timing might not be as important as hitting a daily protein target.

Thirteen male subjects participated in a 10-week training program. All received 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight through foods. They also consumed 35 grams of casein protein per day. Some subjects drank their casein shakes at night while others consumed them during the day.

Compared to measurements taken before the program began, subjects gained an average of 2.8 kg of muscle mass with daytime casein and 2 kg with nighttime casein. Leg press strength increased 80.1 kg with daytime casein and 83.9 kg with nighttime casein. Bench press strength increased 12 kg for the daytime group and 8.3 kg for the nighttime group. These were not considered statistically significant differences.

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