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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2008 Jul;105(1):274-81. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00935.2007. Epub 2008 May 8.

Protein-containing nutrient supplementation following strength training enhances the effect on muscle mass, strength, and bone formation in postmenopausal women.

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Institute of Sports Medicine, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Bispebjerg Bakke 23, DK-2400 Copenhagen NV, Denmark.


We evaluated the response of various muscle and bone adaptation parameters with 24 wk of strength training in healthy, early postmenopausal women when a nutrient supplement (protein, carbohydrate, calcium, and vitamin D) or a placebo supplement (a minimum of energy) was ingested immediately following each training session. At inclusion, each woman was randomly and double-blindedly assigned to a nutrient group or a placebo (control) group. Muscle hypertrophy was evaluated from biopsies, MRI, and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans, and muscle strength was determined in a dynamometer. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured using DEXA scans, and bone turnover was determined from serum osteocalcin and collagen type I cross-linked carboxyl terminal peptide. The nutrient group improved concentric and isokinetic (60 degrees /s) muscle strength from 6 to 24 wk by 9 +/- 3% (P < 0.01), whereas controls showed no change (1 +/- 2%, P > 0.05). Only the nutrient group improved lean body mass (P < 0.05) over the 24 wk. BMD responded similarly at the lumbar spine but changed differently in the two groups at the femoral neck (P < 0.05) [control: 0.943 +/- 0.028 to 0.930 +/- 0.024 g/mm(3) (-1.0 +/- 1.4%); nutrient group: 0.953 +/- 0.051 to 0.978 +/- 0.043 g/mm(3) (3.8 +/- 3.4%)] when adjusted for age, body mass index, and BMD at inclusion. Bone formation displayed an interaction (P < 0.05), mainly caused by increased osteocalcin at 24 wk in the nutrient group. In conclusion, we report that nutrient supplementation results in superior improvements in muscle mass, muscle strength, femoral neck BMD, and bone formation during 24 wk of strength training. The observed differences following such a short intervention emphasize the significance of postexercise nutrient supply on musculoskeletal maintenance.

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