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Open AccessArticle

Post-Game High Protein Intake May Improve Recovery of Football-Specific Performance during a Congested Game Fixture: Results from the PRO-FOOTBALL Study

School of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, Karies, 42100 Trikala, Greece
Faculty of Natural and Health Sciences, University of the Faroe Islands, Jónas Broncksgøta 25, 3rd Floor, Tórshavn 100, Faroe Islands
Center of Health and Human Performance, Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sports Science, University of Gothenburg, 411 20 Gothenburg, Sweden
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, SDU Sport and Health Sciences Cluster (SHSC), University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense, Denmark
Surgery Department, General Hospital of Thessaloniki “Agios Dimitrios”, 546 34 Thessaloniki, Greece
Dipartimento di Scienze Motorie e del Benessere, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope”, 80133 Napoli, Italy
School of Physical Education and Sports Science, Democritus University of Thrace, 69100 Komotini, Greece
Institute of Nutritional Science, Nestlé Research Centre, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Experimental Myology and Integrative Physiology Cluster, Plymouth Marjon University, Plymouth PL6 8BH, UK
Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4SB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(4), 494;
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein for Post-Exercise Recovery and Performance)
The effects of protein supplementation on performance recovery and inflammatory responses during a simulated one-week in-season microcycle with two games (G1, G2) performed three days apart were examined. Twenty football players participated in two trials, receiving either milk protein concentrate (1.15 and 0.26 g/kg on game and training days, respectively) (PRO) or an energy-matched placebo (1.37 and 0.31 g/kg of carbohydrate on game and training days, respectively) (PLA) according to a randomized, repeated-measures, crossover, double-blind design. Each trial included two games and four daily practices. Speed, jump height, isokinetic peak torque, and muscle soreness of knee flexors (KF) and extensors (KE) were measured before G1 and daily thereafter for six days. Blood was drawn before G1 and daily thereafter. Football-specific locomotor activity and heart rate were monitored using GPS technology during games and practices. The two games resulted in reduced speed (by 3–17%), strength of knee flexors (by 12–23%), and jumping performance (by 3–10%) throughout recovery, in both trials. Average heart rate and total distance covered during games remained unchanged in PRO but not in PLA. Moreover, PRO resulted in a change of smaller magnitude in high-intensity running at the end of G2 (75–90 min vs. 0–15 min) compared to PLA (P = 0.012). KE concentric strength demonstrated a more prolonged decline in PLA (days 1 and 2 after G1, P = 0.014–0.018; days 1, 2 and 3 after G2, P = 0.016–0.037) compared to PRO (days 1 after G1, P = 0.013; days 1 and 2 after G2, P = 0.014–0.033) following both games. KF eccentric strength decreased throughout recovery after G1 (PLA: P=0.001–0.047—PRO: P =0.004–0.22) in both trials, whereas after G2 it declined throughout recovery in PLA (P = 0.000–0.013) but only during the first two days (P = 0.000–0.014) in PRO. No treatment effect was observed for delayed onset of muscle soreness, leukocyte counts, and creatine kinase activity. PRO resulted in a faster recovery of protein and lipid peroxidation markers after both games. Reduced glutathione demonstrated a more short-lived reduction after G2 in PRO compared to PLA. In summary, these results provide evidence that protein feeding may more efficiently restore football-specific performance and strength and provide antioxidant protection during a congested game fixture. View Full-Text
Keywords: protein supplementation; football; in-season; field activity; performance; congested fixture protein supplementation; football; in-season; field activity; performance; congested fixture
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Poulios, A.; Fatouros, I.G.; Mohr, M.; Draganidis, D.; Deli, C.K.; Papanikolaou, K.; Sovatzidis, A.; Nakopoulou, T.; Ermidis, G.; Tzatzakis, T.; Laschou, V.C.; Georgakouli, K.; Koulouris, A.; Tsimeas, P.; Chatzinikolaou, A.; Karagounis, L.G.; Batsilas, D.; Krustrup, P.; Jamurtas, A.Z. Post-Game High Protein Intake May Improve Recovery of Football-Specific Performance during a Congested Game Fixture: Results from the PRO-FOOTBALL Study. Nutrients 2018, 10, 494.

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