Overtraining and Whey Protein Supplements?


Advanced Health & Nutritional Sciences

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You may he able to better combat the physical and psychological stresses of overtraining with an easily accessible supplement. Recent research shows that whey protein can combat the immune suppression, fatigue and decreased energy that result from overtraining. In a pilot study by Douglas Kalman, MS. RD, and Peak Wellness, a research center in Greenwich, Connecticut, overtraining was induced for two weeks in a group of males with previous training experience. 'They exercised aerohically and circuit trained for a total of one hour, five times a week for two weeks, at 7(1-85% of their heart-rate maximums. Normally, overtraining is induced by increasing the training volume by 25%; in this case, it was increased by 166%! As Kalman stated, "It was a most challenging exercise regimen."

The subjects' clinically supervised diets comprised no more than 60% carbohydrates and their protein intake was no more than 1.7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (below 171 grams of protein per day). During the first week, there was no supplementation. The second week, the subjects took 60 grams of 92% pure whey protein, in two daily servings. This was the only change to their diets; their total protein ie remained the same. With the consumption of whey protein, the subjects showed psychological, physiological and physical improvements over the negative effects of the first week of overtraining. Their perceived levels of fatigue went down, and their energy levels went up. Through blood testing, the researchers found that the subjects' immune systems had returned to normal after the immunosuppression that had occurred with overtraining. Specifically, there was an enhanced response of neutrophils, lymphocytes and CD4s (cells that play a role in strengthening the body's resistance); gIntathinne reductase activity remained normal. In addition, there was an average drop in triglycerides of 55 points.

What's so special aboutwhey protein, as opposed to protein found in other supplements or in foods? Whey protein contains gamma glutamyl cysteinc residues, or moietes. Cysteine moietes help to increase intracellular glutathione (an antioxidant) production. When glutathione is low in cells, they tend to be immunocompromised. Higher levels of gIutathione tend to enhance the immune system. This would help counteract the upper-respiratory ailments associated with overtraining. Remember that it's very easy to overtrain it can occur if you're going to the gym more than four times a week and working out for more than U4 hours each time. Whey protein, with its immuno-enhancing properties, seems to help offset the effects of overtraining, bringing immune-system levels hack to normal, decreasing fatigue and increasing energy levels.

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