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Study Says Combining a Daily Protein Shake With Exercise Doesn’t Just Make You Stronger, It Makes You Smarter Too


It is well known that exercise stimulates the brain and the body. The cognitive and physical benefits of a regular training regimen have now been found to be strongest when a protein shake is included as part of that routine.

Sarah Cervantes

Researchers at the University of Illinois studied the effects of a 12-week exercise regimen on 148 active-duty Air Force airmen, half of whom also received a twice-daily nutritious drink that included protein; the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA; lutein; phospholipids; vitamin D; B vitamins and other micronutrients; along with a muscle-promoting compound known as HMB.

Both groups improved in physical and cognitive function, with additional gains among those who regularly consumed the nutritional drink, the team reports.

The findings, which appear in the journal Scientific Reports, show that pThe participants were randomly assigned to the two groups. The exercise regimen combined strength training and high intensity interval aerobic fitness challenges. One group received the nutritional drink and the other had a placebo drink that lacked the added nutrients. Neither the researchers nor the participants knew who received the nutrient-fortified drink or the placebo.

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“The exercise intervention alone improved strength and endurance, mobility and stability, and the participants also saw increases in various measures of cognitive function. They had better episodic memory and processed information more efficiently at the end of 12 weeks. And they did better on tests that required them to solve problems they had never encountered before, an aptitude called fluid intelligence. ” He said Aron barbey, a teacher of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who led the study with a postdoctoral researcher Christopher Zwilling.

“Those who also took the nutritional supplement saw all these improvements and more. For example, they were better able to retain new information in their working memory and had faster responses on fluid intelligence tests than those who took the placebo, ”said Barbey.

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Physical power increased in both groups as a result of physical training, Zwilling said.

“Power is a measure of physical fitness that is based on several factors, such as how fast a participant can pull a heavy sled a given distance, the distance a weighted ball can be thrown, and the amount push-ups, pull-ups or sit-ups that you can perform in a set period of time, ”he said.

Physical training reduced the participants’ body fat percentage and increased their oxygen uptake efficiency, or VO2 max. Airmen also performed better than initially on several measures of cognitive function. The most notable of these was an increase in the precision of his answers to problems designed to measure fluid intelligence.

“But we also wanted to know if taking the supplement conferred an advantage beyond the effect of exercise,” Zwilling said. “We saw that it did, for example, in relation to heart rate at rest, which fell more in those who took the supplement than in those who did not.”

Participants who consumed the nutritional drink also saw greater improvements in their ability to retain and process information. And their reaction time on fluid intelligence tests improved more than that of their peers who took the placebo, the researchers found.

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There you go Enriched protein shakes to accompany exercise aren’t just good for the body. They are also great for the brain.

(Source: University of Illinois)

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