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Whey Protein and Its Impact on Satellite Cell Activity

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High volume of intense exercise overloads and on a microscopic level damages the muscle.  This damage instigates the muscle to repair, regenerate and grow back bigger and stronger.  In addition to an ideal exercise stimulus, proper nutrition helps to facilitate these processes.

A recent study published in the July 2014 issue of Amino Acids examined the impact of a hydrolyzed whey protein with carbohydrate in comparison to an isocaloric amount of just carbohydrate at promoting the activation and infiltration of satellite cells into muscle that was damaged during an intense bout of resistance training (Farup, Rahbek et al. 2014).  Satellite cells are a specialized family of cells that have studied by researchers for decades to determine the impact they may have on promoting growth and recovery.  For up to seven days after the intense bout of exercise, muscle biopsies, blood draws and other measurements were made by the team of researchers. In type II muscle fibers, the number of satellite cells nearly doubled 24 hours after the exercise and remained at that level through 48 hours.  In addition, similar increases in the number of satellite cells per muscle nucleus were seen in both groups, again illustrating positive changes.  The authors concluded that whey protein supplementation may accelerate satellite cell movement into muscle as part of the regeneration process after high-intensity exercise.

Farup, J., S. K. Rahbek, I. S. Knudsen, F. de Paoli, A. L. Mackey and K. Vissing (2014). "Whey protein supplementation accelerates satellite cell proliferation during recovery from eccentric exercise." Amino Acids.