Talbott, S. M. (2004). Post-marathon recovery enhanced by a dietary supplement. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 854.

"Dietary supplements are routinely used by athletes in their quest for improved athletic performance. Recently, the concept of enhancing recovery following intense exercise has become more popular within the athletic community. Dietary supplementation with protein bars and carbohydrate beverages has been used effectively to promote immediate post-exercise recovery, but longer-term recovery strategies (days to weeks) have been used less frequently" (p. 127).

This study evaluated the effect of a post-exercise recovery supplement containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), glutamine, and beta-sitosterol, on measures of fatigue, mood, cold/flu symptoms, and muscle/joint pain during the critical two weeks following a marathon. Ss (M = 18; F = 7) were randomly assigned to receive the supplement (N = 14) or a matching placebo (N = 11) in a double-blind experimental design. Ss consumed eight capsules per day for 14 days immediately following completion of the Park City Marathon (average elevation 6,650 ft). The standardized Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire was used to measure psychological states during the 2-week period following the marathon. A standard health log recorded the daily occurrence and severity of cold/flu symptoms, gastrointestinal complaints, and degree of muscle/joint pain.

The supplement group had significantly lower scores for Tension, Fatigue, and Confusion, and higher scores for Vigor and Global Mood compared to the placebo group. There were no differences between groups on measures of Depression or Anger. On measures of cold/flu symptoms, 20% of Ss in the placebo condition reported symptoms, while none were reported by Ss in the supplement group. Reports of muscle/joint pain were reduced significantly (-51%) in supplement Ss compared to placebo Ss. Supplement Ss were able to resume normal training an average of five days earlier than placebo Ss.

Implication. Post-marathon supplementation of branched-chain amino acids, glutamine, and beta-sitosterol produced enhanced recovery and protection from illnesses.

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