Connect
To Top


Enzymes Expedite Recovery


Need to recover more quickly? Then you’d better add proteases to your pillbox. Proteases such as bromelain, derived from pineapple, apparently work by blocking inflammatory metabolic reactions. Another protease, papain, derived from the papaya plant, is a component of meat tenderizers. Inasmuch as your goal isn’t to “tenderize” your meat, let’s instead look at the effects of protease supplementation on muscle soreness and recovery.

A recent study had test volunteers perform isokinetic extension and flexion of the quadriceps muscles on a Biodex machine, followed by testing of aerobic power. They were randomly assigned to groups that took 5.83 grams daily of either a cellulose placebo or a proteolytic supplement containing fungal proteases, bromelain and papain for a period of 21 days. After the supplementation period subjects donated blood samples before performing a 45-minute downhill run.

The downhill run emphasized negative, or eccentric, muscle contractions, which typically produce a high degree of what is known clinically as delayed-onset muscle soreness. Here’s what they found: The group that took the protease supplement recovered better, as measured by a higher force production after the run. The authors concluded that “protease supplementation seems to attenuate muscle strength losses after eccentric exercise by regulating leukocyte activity and inflammation.”1

The study confirms earlier research that examined the effects of a protease supplement on muscle damage and delayed-onset muscle soreness. In that clinical trial all subjects were tested for unilateral isometric forearm flexion strength, hanging joint angle, relaxed-arm circumference, subjective-pain rating, plasma creatine kinase activity and myoglobin concentration. The testing occurred before, immediately after and up to 72 hours after a bout of eccentric exercise. During the tests one group got a protease supplement, and the other took a microcrystalline cellulose placebo.

Overall, isometric forearm flexion strength was 7.6 percent greater for the protease group than for the placebo group. Clearly, those findings show that the protease supplement may be useful for reducing strength loss immediately after eccentric exercise and for aiding short-term strength recovery.2

So what’s the best protocol for protease supplements? Using a five-to-six gram dose of bromelain and papin for at least three weeks seems to be an effective strategy. If you combine those enzymes with a protein-containing shake postworkout, not only will you enhance force recovery, but the protein you take in will also increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis needed to foster gains in muscle fiber size.

Interestingly, those enzymes have had a long medical history. Some have claimed, for instance, that bromelain can “treat” arthritis, menstrual pain and autoimmune disorders. Papain can be found in teeth-whitening agents. Imagine that: whiter teeth to go along with enhanced muscle recovery.

Editor’s note: Jose Antonio, Ph.D., is the CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (www.theissn.org); also check out his site www.TheWeekendWorkout.com.

References

1 Buford, T.W., et al. (2009). Protease supplementation improves muscle function after eccentric exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. In press.

2 Beck, T.W., et al. (2007). Effects of a protease supplement on eccentric exercise-induced markers of delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle damage. J Strength Cond Res. 21:661-7.

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Muscle Gain

  • Turning Weak Points Into Highlights

    . . We are all unique in our own special ways. This is not just a quick personal development pep talk,...

    ironashleyJuly 5, 2019
  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Mass Gain Supplements

    . . Scrolling through any bodybuilding, weightlifting forum or page as a relative beginner can be quite a daunting experience. In...

    irongraphicsJune 14, 2019
  • Staying on Track While Injured

    The last time I threw my back out was over two years ago while pushing my deadlift limits. I knew I...

    irongraphicsJune 10, 2019
  • Ready-To-Drink Supplement Conundrum

    Years ago, one of the biggest supplement scams was a ready-to-drink creatine serum. This was before it was widely known that...

    Cindy MamOctober 25, 2018
  • Lets Build Those Shoulders

    This unorthodox shoulder program will wake up your delts to become bigger, stronger, and healthier than ever.   Shoulders are tricky. One...

    Cindy MamOctober 11, 2018
  • Burn Fat, Keep Muscles

    Q: Right now my main goal is to burn bodyfat while keeping as much of the muscle I built over the...

    Cindy MamJune 4, 2018
  • Increase Your Gains With Bugs?

    Accelerate recovery and reduce inflammation by consuming fermented foods. By Nathane L. Jackson, RHN, CSCS   You’ve done the calorie math. You...

    Sharon OrtigasOctober 10, 2017
  • 11 Reasons You Need Creatine

    Creatine has so many potential benefits you may have never even considered. By Sarah Butcher   You already eat a healthy...

    Sharon OrtigasSeptember 29, 2017
  • 6 Weeks To Be Your Best!

    A raw, full-body six-week workout that will get your body rock solid. By Sarah L. Chadwell, NASM-CPT   Want to get...

    Sharon OrtigasSeptember 29, 2017