The effect of carbohydrate (CHO), or CHO supplemented with either sodium caseinate protein (CHO–C) or a sodium caseinate protein hydrolysate (CHO–H) on the recovery of skeletal muscle glycogen and anabolic signaling following prolonged aerobic exercise was determined in trained male cyclists [n = 11, mean ± SEM age 28.8 ± 2.3 years; body mass (BM) 75.0 ± 2.3 kg; VO2peak 61.3 ± 1.6 ml kg−1 min−1].
On three separate occasions, participants cycled for 2 h at ~ 70% VO2peak followed by a 4-h recovery period. Isoenergetic drinks were consumed at + 0 and + 2 h of recovery containing either (1) CHO (1.2 g kg −1 BM), (2) CHO–C, or (3) CHO–H (1.04 and 0.16 g kg−1 BM, respectively) in a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design. Muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis were taken prior to commencement of each trial, and at + 0 and + 4 h of recovery for determination of skeletal muscle glycogen, and intracellular signaling associated with protein synthesis.
Despite an augmented insulin response following CHO–H ingestion, there was no significant difference in skeletal muscle glycogen resynthesis following recovery between trials. CHO–C and CHO–H co-ingestion significantly increased phospho-mTOR Ser2448 and 4EBP1 Thr37/46 versus CHO, with CHO–H displaying the greatest change in phospho-4EBP1 Thr37/46. Protein co-ingestion, compared to CHO alone, during recovery did not augment glycogen resynthesis.
Supplementing CHO with intact sodium caseinate or an insulinotropic hydrolysate derivative augmented intracellular signaling associated with skeletal muscle protein synthesis following prolonged aerobic exercise.
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4E binding protein 1
Branched chain amino acids
Body mass index
CHO and sodium caseinate
CHO and sodium caseinate hydrolysate
- C max :
Maximal plasma concentration
Dipeptidyl peptidase 4
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry
Essential amino acids
Eukaryotic elongation factor 2
Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase
High performance liquid chromatography
- HRmax :
Maximum heart rate
Muscle protein synthesis
Mechanistic target of rapamycin
Respiratory exchange ratio
Rating of perceived exertion
Reverse phase ultra-performance liquid chromatography
Total amino acids
- VO2peak :
Peak oxygen consumption
- W max :
Maximum power output
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Dr. Will McCormack and Prof. Phil Jakeman (University of Limerick, Ireland) for technical assistance with the analysis of plasma amino acid concentrations.
This work was supported by Food for Health Ireland (F.H.I) and Enterprise Ireland (Grant No.: TC2013001).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interests.
Communicated by Anni Vanhatalo.
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Cogan, K.E., Evans, M., Iuliano, E. et al. Co-ingestion of protein or a protein hydrolysate with carbohydrate enhances anabolic signaling, but not glycogen resynthesis, following recovery from prolonged aerobic exercise in trained cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol 118, 349–359 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-017-3775-x
- Protein synthesis
- Sodium caseinate