Sunday, March 7, 2010

Protein Protection

If you've been racing hard in the OCBC bike race today or trained really hard earlier in the day (in anticipation of other races later in the season) read on for some simple dietary intervention that can help maintain your immune function (prevent you from getting sick).

There is much research to show that combining carbohydrate (CHO) and protein after heavy exercise can aid in replenishing your glycogen stores and tissue repair.

There is also growing research evidence that protein may aid immune recovery and also lower the risk of respiratory tract infections. Not any protein but protein in the form of branch chain amino acids and glutamine.

Researchers in the study below studied a group of competitive runners after a 2 hour run. The control group was given water immediately after and 1 hour post exercise. The "immediate feeding" group were given a CHO-protein solution straight after exercise plus water 1 hour later while the "delayed feeding" group received water straight after the run and the CHO-protein solution an hour later.

Results showed that consuming the CHO-protein mix straight after the exercise had a significant effect on neutrophil degranulation. On what you said. This is the marker used in tracking susceptibility to infection. It is very common to find a drop in neutrophil degranulation after tough bouts of exercise which means you are more likely to fall sick. This means that you can avoid that by some quick and smart refueling.

Here's the suggested mix from the research, consume 1.2 grams of CHO per kg of body mass while adding 0.4 grams protein per kg body mass. For a 65kg athlete, that means you will need 78 grams of CHO & 26 grams of protein.


Costa RJS, Oliver SJ et al (2009). Influence of Timing of Post-exercise Carbohydrate-Protein Ingestion on Selected Immune Indices. International J of Sport Nutrition & Ex Metabolism. 19(4) : 366-384.

*Picture from Flickr

No comments:

Post a Comment