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Metabolism. 2011 Oct;60(10):1406-15. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2011.02.007. Epub 2011 Apr 12.

Effect of carbohydrate-protein supplementation postexercise on rat muscle glycogen synthesis and phosphorylation of proteins controlling glucose storage.

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  • 1Exercise Physiology and Metabolism Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


To examine whether addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle glycogen synthesis, we compared the muscle glycogen concentrations of rats that had been depleted of their muscle glycogen stores with a 3-hour swim and immediately supplemented with a placebo (Con), carbohydrate (CHO), or carbohydrate plus protein supplement (C+P). Rats were given either 0.9 g carbohydrate per kilogram body mass for the CHO group or 0.9 g carbohydrate + 0.3 g protein per kilogram body mass for the C+P groups. Muscle samples of the red and white quadriceps were excised immediately, 30 minutes, or 90 minutes postexercise. Glycogen concentration of the C+P group was greater than that of the CHO group at 90 minutes postexercise in both red (C+P, 28.3 ± 2.6 µmol/g vs CHO, 22.4 ± 2.0 µmol/g; P < .05) and white (C+P, 24.9 ± 2.4 µmol/g vs CHO, 17.64 ± 1.5 µmol/g; P < .01) quadriceps. Protein kinase B phosphorylation was greater in the C+P-30 group (the number following treatment group abbreviation refers to time [in minutes] of euthanasia following exercise) than the sedentary control and exercised control groups in red quadriceps at 30 minutes and in white quadriceps at 90 minutes postexercise. This difference was not observed in the CHO group. Phosphorylation of glycogen synthase was significantly reduced 30 minutes postexercise and returned to baseline levels by 90 minutes postexercise in both CHO- and C+P-supplemented groups, with no difference between supplements. These results demonstrated that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement will enhance the rate of muscle glycogen restoration postexercise and may involve facilitation of the glucose transport process.

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