Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2019) 18, 523 - 536

Review article
Protein-Based Supplementation to Enhance Recovery in Team Sports: What is the Evidence?
Athanasios Poulios1, Kalliopi Georgakouli1, Dimitrios Draganidis1, Chariklia K. Deli1, Panagiotis D. Tsimeas1, Athanasios Chatzinikolaou2, Konstantinos Papanikolaou1, Alexios Batrakoulis1, Magni Mohr3,4,5, Athanasios Z. Jamurtas1, , Ioannis G. Fatouros1
Author Information
1 University of Thessaly, School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Karies, Trikala, Greece
2 Democritus University of Thrace, School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Komotini, Greece
3 Centre of Health Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
4 Center for Health and Human Performance, Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
5 Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, SDU Sport and Health Sciences Cluster (SHSC), University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

Athanasios Z. Jamurtas
✉ Athanasios Jamurtas School of Physical Education & Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Karies, Trikala 42100, Greece
Publish Date
Received: 23-02-2019
Accepted: 14-05-2019
Published (online): 01-08-2019
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Protein supplementation is a major nutritional practice among professional and amateur team-sport athletes representing a market of $5 billion in the USA alone. This practice, however, may not be supported by evidence-based science. Our objective as to present a thorough review of literature investigating the effects of protein supplementation on performance recovery and exercise-induced muscle damage following team-sport activity. PubMed-derived, full English language articles investigating the effects of protein-based supplementation/feeding on skeletal muscle performance, muscle damage and inflammatory status during recovery following team-sport activity were included. Studies investigated professional or amateur team-sport athletes participating in regular training and competition as well as examining the impact of protein supplementation on performance, muscle damage/soreness and inflammatory markers after team-sport activity. Finally, ten articles (150 participants) met the inclusion criteria. Experimental designs were evaluated for confounders. All protocols employing team-sport activity increased systemic muscle damage indicators and inflammatory markers and deteriorated performance during recovery. Protein-based supplementation attenuated the rise in muscle damage markers and enhanced performance recovery in six (60% of the studies included) and three (30% of the studies included) out of 10 studies, respectively. In contrast, immunity and muscle soreness remained unaffected by protein ingestion, independent of dosage and distribution pattern. In conclusion, there are limited and inconsistent data showing that protein supplementation may enhance performance recovery following team-sport activity despite an attenuation of indirect markers of muscle damage. Interpretation of results is limited by small sample sizes, high variability in tested supplements, participants’ training level, length of recovery periods, absence of direct measurement of myofibrillar disruption, protein turnover and protein metabolism, and lack of dietary monitoring during experimentation.

Key words: Nutrition, exercise performance, muscle damage, amino acids, anabolism, supplementation

           Key Points
  • Protein supplements facilitate muscle repair and mitigate muscle damage markers during recovery.
  • Protein supplementation attenuate inflammatory responses, however it is not combined with enhanced performance measures
  • The lack of direct markers to determine EIMD, makes it clear that future researches should incorporate muscle protein synthesis and breakdown measurements.
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