A sports drink containing protein with
carbohydrate improves performance and decreases muscle injury, according to the
results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial reported in the July issue
of Science & Medicine in Sports & Exercise.
studies have shown that carbohydrate sports drinks containing carbohydrate and
electrolytes are more effective than water in improving hydration and increasing
endurance. This study compared Gatorade to Accelerade, a new protein-containing
study provides further confirmation of the value of adding protein to a
conventional carbohydrate electrolyte sports drink,” lead author Michael J.
Saunders, PhD, from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, says in
a new release, “Our results suggest that athletes in all sports, including
running, cycling, soccer and tennis where endurance and recovery are critical
would benefit from a protein-containing sports drink such as “Accelerade”
this study, 15 male cyclists rode a cycle ergometer at 75% peak oxygen
consumption per unit time (VO2peak) to voluntary exhaustion, followed
by a second ride 12 to 15 hours later at 85% VO2peak to exhaustion.
At baseline, mean VO2peak was 52.6 +/- 10.3 ml/kg/minute. Subjects
were randomized to receive sports drinks containing carbohydrate only (7.3%) or
carbohydrate and protein (7.3% and 1.8 % concentrations). Because the drinks
were matched for carbohydrate content, the carbohydrate-only drink had 20% lower
total energy content.
15 minutes of exercise, the cyclists drank 1.8 ml/kg body weight of assigned
sports beverage and they drank 10 ml/kg body weight immediately following
exercise. Subjects were blinded to treatment beverage and they repeated the same
protocol seven to 14 days later with the other beverage.
the first ride, at 75%2peak, the cyclists rode 29% longer with the
carbohydrate-only plus protein drink than with the carbohydrate-only drink
(106.3 +/- 45.2 vs. 82.3 +/- 32.6 minute: P<.05). In the second ride, at 85%
VO2peak, the cyclist rode 40% longer with the carbohydrate-only plus
beverage than with the carbohydrate-only beverage (43.6 +/- 12.5 vs. 31.2 +/-
postexercise plasma creatine kinase (CK) levels, indicating muscle damage, were
83% lower after the carbohydrate-only plus protein trial than after the
carbohydrate-only trial (216.3 +/- 122.0 vs. 1318.1 +/- 1935.6 U/L). Exercising
levels of VO2, ventilation, heart rate, ratings of perceived
exertion, blood glucose, or blood lactate were similar with both treatments.
main study limitation is the inability to distinguish the effect of protein per
se from that of added energy. The authors recommend further research to
determine if these effects were the result of higher total energy content of the
carbohydrate-only plus protein beverage or of specific protein-mediated
we did not evaluate the impact of a carbohydrate-protein sports drink on every
day athletes and weekend warriors, the fact that Accelerade significantly
reduced muscle damage would be a great advantage because muscle soreness is a
frequent post-exercise complaint,” Dr. Saunders says.