Dr. Dwayne Jackson

The Vital Science Blog

Starting Living Your Best

Milk your inflammation!

Chugging a protein shake right after training floods the body with essential amino acids, augmenting recovery and promoting increased muscle building. Milk proteins, like whey and casein, contain a robust and broad spectrum of amino acids, with a high level of the branched chain amino acids— leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Milk protein’s unmatched bioavailability and amino acid compliment provide all the necessary building blocks for muscular growth and amino acids needed to boost anabolism. 


But there seems to be more to it!


Recent work published in Amino Acids suggests that the enhanced recovery noted with postworkout milk protein supplementation may be due to more than simply providing ‘building blocks’ for muscle recovery and growth. In fact, the latest data suggest that milk protein taken immediately postworkout modifies the immune/inflammatory response from a bout of heavy resistance training. 


Using a randomized, placebo controlled, cross-over design, 10 resistance trained men completed a lower body workout immediately followed by drinking either a milk protein shake (containing 20g of amino acids) or a placebo. Subjects performed 10–12 repetitions at 70% of their 1 rep max (1RM), with a 1-min rest between sets. The protocol consisted of six sets of squats, and four sets of leg press, hamstring curls, leg extensions, and seated calf raises. During each trial, participants were spotted and encouraged to complete all repetitions for each set. As expected, in all subjects there was a similar postworkout rise in the plasma inflammatory cytokine,  Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNFα)—indicating a robust postworkout inflammatory response. Ingestion of the protein supplement attenuated plasma TNFα concentrations 30-min postworkout. Additionally, the postworkout protein supplement attenuated TNFr1 receptor expression on monocytes (i.e., immune cells) at 1 and 2-h postworkout. Together these data illustrate that postworkout milk protein supplementation can decrease inflammation associated with resistance training, thus enabling you to train harder, for longer, with less time needed for recovery. 

ACTION POINT: As always, we suggest using a milk protein supplement (consisting of 20-40 grams of whey, casein, or milk protein blend) 30 minutes to an hour before and immediately after training. 



Wells AJ, Jajtner AR, Varanoske AN, Church DD, Gonzalez AM4, Townsend JR, Boone CH, Baker KM, Beyer KS, Mangine GT, Oliveira LP, Fukuda DH, Stout JR, Hoffman JR. Post-resistance exercise ingestion of milk protein attenuates plasma TNFα and TNFr1 expression on monocyte subpopulations. Amino Acids. 2017 Aug;49(8):1415-1426.

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