In a prior experiment by Australian researchers, it was shown that a
accelerated the repair of damaged tissue, providing evidence that increasing amino acid availability could be an effective approach to wound healing.
Exercise induced damage to muscles that must recover in much the same way wounds heal after injury. Therefore, it is possible that protein may help speed recovery from exercise.
The same researchers performed another study to test the effects of a hydrolyzed whey protein on recovery from exercise induced muscle damage. Young men performed an intense bout of damaging exercise induced by 100 eccentric knee extensions. They then consumed one of three substances — water, intact whey protein, and hydrolyzed whey protein — immediately after exercise and again 6 hours and 22 hours after exercise. After training, peak torque decreased to a similar extent in all groups (about 23 percent). Peak torque returned to baseline by 6 hours post-exercise in the hydrolyzed whey protein group, whereas peak torque remained below baseline for the entire 24 hour post-exercise recovery period.
Previous work has clearly shown that hydrolyzed whey protein promotes a rapid increase in protein synthesis and anabolic state. The results of this latest study indicate that an additional benefit of hydrolyzed whey protein is a more rapid recovery of muscle force generating capacity following damaging exercise compared to intact whey and placebo.
Reference: Buckley JD, Thomson RL, Coates AM, Howe PR, DeNichilo MO, Rowney MK. Supplementation with a whey protein hydrolysate enhances recovery of muscle force-generating capacity following eccentric exercise. J Sci Med Sport. 2010 Jan;13(1):178-81. Epub 2008 Sep 2.