Whether performing resistance training or aerobic exercise, muscle fibers are stressed and damaged, which can result in muscle soreness and inflammation that impedes muscle recovery. Proper muscle recovery helps repair damaged muscle tissue and prepare them for your next bout of exercise. Besides eating the right foods pre- and post-workout, research indicates that incorporating a few dietary supplements into your program can be an effective strategy for boosting muscle recovery and healing.
The compound creatine might have beneficial effects on muscle recovery, according to findings reported in the 2001 issue of the “Journal of Physiology.” Subjects consumed creatine monohydrate, a form of creatine, or a placebo daily while undergoing a physical exercise rehabilitation program after their right legs were immobilized in a cast for two weeks. Scientists discovered that the creatine group experienced more muscle power and regained more muscle mass compared to the placebo group.
In a 2004 study published in the journal of “Free Radical Biology and Medicine,” researchers studied the effects of vitamin E supplementation on exercise. Subjects ate a normal diet with or without vitamin C and E supplementation for six weeks while undergoing ultra marathon events. Scientists found in runners that vitamins C and E prevented an increase in lipid oxidation, which causes inflammation in the body that is normally associated with intense exercise. The study also revealed that the control group had lipid oxidation levels comparable to those who just had a heart attack. Researchers stated that vitamin E antioxidant properties are responsible for the results.
Victor Maridakis, a researcher in the department of kinesiology at the University of Georgia College of Education, and colleagues investigated the effects of caffeine consumption on exercise recovery, according to research published in the 2007 issue of the “Journal of Pain.” Participants ingested caffeine or a placebo before performing quadriceps exercises. Scientists observed that the caffeine group had significant reductions in muscle pain post-workout compared with the placebo group.
Protein for Recovery
Protein supplements may also aid in muscle recovery, according to a study in the 2002 "Journal of Applied Physiology." When tested against a carbohydrate supplement for muscle recovery, protein combined with carbohydrate showed greater effectiveness in replenishing muscle glycogen after strenuous exercise.
- Journal of Physiology: Oral Creatine Supplementation Facilitates the Rehabilitation of Disuse Atrophy and Alters the Expression of Muscle Myogenic Factors in Humans
- Free Radical Biology and Medicine: Antioxidant Supplementation Prevents Exercise-Induced Lipid Peroxidation, But Not Inflammation, In Ultramarathon Runners
- Journal of Pain: Caffeine Attenuates Delayed-Onset Muscle Pain and Force Loss Following Eccentric Exercise
- Journal of Applied Physiology: Early Postexercise Muscle Glycogen Recovery is Enhanced With a Carbohydrate-Protein Supplement