Supplement Savvy: More Questions, MOHR Answers - 11-23-04!

This week I'm again reporting on findings at a recent conference.

This week I'm again reporting on findings at a recent conference. This is where studies are published before they actually make it to full length papers. What that means for you is that you get cutting edge information as quickly as it comes out.

This information is intended to arm you with the latest and great research findings related to health, supplements, and building a bigger, leaner body.


Protein Supplementation


Response of net muscle protein to ingestion of whole proteins following exercise.

This group of researchers has previously presented data demonstrating that free amino acids provided after exercise stimulates protein synthesis. However, this is the first study of its kind to measure the effect of whole proteins and muscle protein balance.

After an initial exercise session, subjects consumed either placebo, 20g of whey protein or 20 g or casein protein. Not surprisingly, subjects who consumed the whey or casein proteins had a greater increase in protein synthesis following the exercise.

Take home message: be sure your post-workout meal contains some protein to ensure optimal protein synthesis in your muscles so they grow, grow, grow!


Effects of increased protein intake on postexercise muscle protein synthesis in endurance runners.

The Protein Factor!
Anyone serious about their health needs to ask themselves the following questions: exactly what protein sources are the best in terms of cellular repair, and exactly how much of this protein is adequate?
Next up was a study that entitled "Effects of increased protein intake on postexercise muscle protein synthesis in endurance runners." In simplest terms, the purpose of this study was to determine if habitual protein intake helps maintain a positive nitrogen balance. The three groups of subjects received either 0.8g/kg protein (which is the current RDA for sedentary individuals), 1.8g/kg protein, or 3.6g/kg protein.

The researchers found that nitrogen balance remained positive for all dietary interventions, with significant increases with each subsequent protein feeding (the more protein/kg bodyweight, the greater the nitrogen balance). The authors noted that more research is necessary to determine the relationship between dietary protein intake and protein utilization in runners.

Take home message: consume adequate amounts of dietary protein throughout the day; however, don't forget about the other important macronutrients too-carbohydrates and fats.


Dietary protein supplementation during military operational stress and underfeeding: effects on lean body mass.

Finally, the third study that has some merit for bb.com readers was entitled, "Dietary protein supplementation during military operational stress and underfeeding: effects on lean body mass." As we all know, military personnel engage in extremely vigorous physical training.

In fact, their energy needs are often so high, it is difficult to provide the proper nutrients to ensure they don't lose too much lean body mass. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to ascertain if consuming higher levels of protein attenuates the lean body mass losses associated with demanding exercise and underfeeding.

Now, although this might be a bit of a stretch, I am going to make the connection to bodybuilding because competitive bodybuilders also engage in demanding programs and are often underfed if they are preparing for a show. The outcome of the study was that even the higher protein groups were unable to maintain lean body mass during underfeeding.

Take home message: when cutting to get lean, do ensure that you consume adequate levels of protein, but also be sure to not go into too much of an energy deficit to preserve as much lean body mass as possible.


Supplements And Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Assuming many of you are like me, I actually enjoy the feeling of sore, stiff muscles after an intense workout. However, if there is something to do to reduce the sometimes very painful DOMS, which could improve subsequent workouts, I want to know about it!


Effect of vitamin C on free radicals and delayed onset muscle soreness following resistive exercise.

The first study was the "Effect of vitamin C on free radicals and delayed onset muscle soreness following resistive exercise." Hmmm, let's see if a little OJ can help in the recovery process. Sedentary male subjects (sedentary because this would really ensure DOMS was induced) were utilized in this protocol.

Subjects completed an eight-exercise circuit training routine using 73.5% of their 1 RM for each exercise. All subjects were then given either vitamin C or placebo to see if the vitamin C helped decrease DOMS or free radical levels (remember vitamin C is promoted as an antioxidant).

The researchers found that the vitamin C offered no additional benefit beyond the placebo.

Antioxidant supplementation has no effect on muscle damage following an ultramarathon run.

A similar study was presented next: "Antioxidant supplementation has no effect on muscle damage following an ultramarathon run." Contrary to the previous study, subjects were given either 400 IU's of vitamin E and 500 mg vitamin C or placebo for 6-weeks prior and 1 week after an ultramarathon (50k).

This protocol was used to ensure muscle damage was induced; however, just like the previous study discussed, the antioxidant supplementation (vitamin's E and C) provided no additional benefit in terms of reducing the severity of muscle damage.

Attending these two talks confirmed my initial suspicion; antioxidants don't do much in terms of providing some relief from DOMS. After this talk, I slowly limped out of the session because of a previous intense squat workout, hoping to pick up something new about supplements and metabolic rate.


Dietary Supplements And Metabolic Rate


Short-term creatine supplementation: effects on metabolic rate and respiratory exchange ratio.

First up was a study on creatine. Some may believe researching creatine is like beating a dead horse; however, there are still loads of research coming out of labs across the world.

One of the newer questions is the effect of creatine on metabolic rate -"Short-term creatine supplementation: effects on metabolic rate and respiratory exchange ratio" is one of those studies that also investigated this question.

Here the researchers provided either 5g/day of creatine or placebo for 5 days and measured body composition, resting metabolic rate and respiratory exchange ratio. This study found that creatine supplementation caused an increase in body mass (no surprise) but had no effect on resting metabolic rate or respiratory exchange ratio.


Effects of varying doses of fish oil supplementation on resting metabolic rate and body composition.

Next was the "Effects of varying doses of fish oil supplementation on resting metabolic rate and body composition." Fish oil supplementation has been shown to be beneficial for overall health; if there is also an improvement in body composition, it makes this supplement even more appealing.

Researchers provided subjects with 3, 6 or 9g/day of fish oil and measured resting metabolic rate (RMR), among other factors. The interesting finding was that RMR did increase significantly; albeit, this increase was highest in the low-dose of fish oil (3g/day).

More research is clearly necessary in this area to elucidate this potential connection. Regardless of RMR, the benefits of consuming fish and fish oil make it worthwhile to add to your arsenal.


Summary

Let's summarize what we've learned from this year's conference:

Consume protein in your post-workout meal (nothing new).
Athletes require above and beyond the RDA for protein with higher intakes (3.6g/kg) improving nitrogen balance more than lower intakes (1.8g/kg).
Total energy intake is crucial to preserve lean body mass; protein consumption cannot attenuate the muscles need for calories. When dieting, be sure you are not in too much of an energy deficit.
Vitamins E and C won't help with muscle recovery or reducing DOMS.
Creatine increases body mass but has no effect on RMR or respiratory exchange ratio.
Fish oil supplementation caused a significant increase in RMR with 3 g/day having the greatest increase.