In a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Texan researchers report that supplementation with the essential amino acids (the amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body) preserve muscle mass during prolonged periods of inactivity. Therefore, supplementation would be beneficial for preventing muscle loss during illness or injury in athletes.
In this study, 13 healthy male volunteers, all confined to bed for 28 days, were given either a drink containing essential amino acids and carbohydrates or a placebo three times a day. Using data produced by state-of-the-art muscle-protein synthesis measurements, biopsies, magnetic resonance and X-ray imaging, and strength tests, the researchers found that the supplemented group retained all of their original leg muscle mass while the members of the placebo group lost about a pound of leg muscle on average. Those given the supplements also lost only about half as much leg strength as those given the placebo.
This research underlines the importance of supplementation even during an extended layoff from training due to illness or injury. By supplementing with proteins that contain a high concentration of essential amino acids such as VP2 Whey Isolate and Muscle XGF, muscle loss can be prevented during those times when something prevent you from getting to the gym.