Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Whey Protein increases Glucose carriers for greater muscle glycogen replenishment. By Veeraj Vic Goyaram

Supplement Research Update

Whey Protein increases Glucose transporters for greater muscle glycogen replenishment
By Veeraj Vic Goyaram
I am very pleased to report this study because it involves Glucose Transporters in skeletal muscle, the same molecules that I do research in.  In this study, researchers from the University of Campinas in Sao Paulo showed how whey protein improves glycogen (stored muscle carbohydrate) replenishment following exercise, allowing improved recovery. They showed that this happens by improved activity of glucose transporters named GLUT4 in a rat model which received whey protein following exercise.

What is GLUT4?
The main transporter of glucose in muscle is Glucose Transporter 4 (GLUT4). GLUT4 is found inside the cell in the resting state of the cell. After a meal or after an exercise bout, these GLUT4 molecules move to the surface of the cell  where they take up glucose from the bloodstream. The fact that exercise can do this is fantastic news for diabetics and exercising individuals because it means better blood glucose control and muscle glycogen replenishment, respectively. If you need more info on the topic please contact me.
In the right picture you can see that the GLUT4 molecules (stained in green) have moved to the surface of the cell following exercise or a meal. This movement allows glucose to be taken up by the cell from the bloodstream. 

What the researchers did
The researchers, Morato and colleagues had three groups of rats fed experimental diets containing  (A) Casein, (B) Whey Protein and (C) Whey protein Hydrolysate. The animals were subjected to exercise protocol (60min of treadmill running at a speed of 15m/min) and then sacrificed 16 hours later. Their muscles were taken out and analysed.

What was found and what are the implications?
  • In rats fed Whey protein and Whey protein hydrolysate, GLUT4 levels on the cell membrane was higher following after exercise compared to rats fed casein. 
  • This increased level of GLUT4 at the cell surface membrane allowed more glucose to be taken up after exercise for better recovery and the replenishment of muscle glycogen used during exercise.
  • This research study shows the importance of taking a whey protein supplement post training although further research is needed in this topic in human athletes and in diabetics because the latter have reduced GLUT4 movement to the cell membrane.
Exercise increased GLUT4 protein levels in the muscle cell membrane in
all rats. However, this increase was more pronounced in rats fed whey protein and whey protein hydrolysate than rats fed casein

Anything you don't understand or want to know more? 
Please free to drop me a line on vicgoyaram@gmail.com. Don't go ask the wrong persons. 


Morato PN, Lollo PC, Moura CS, Batista TM, Camargo RL, Carneiro EM, Amaya-Farfan J. Whey protein hydrolysate increases translocation of GLUT-4 to the plasma membrane independent of insulin in wistar rats. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 30;8(8):e71134.

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My Bio: I am a Mauritian originally from Roche Bois, Port Louis and now based in Cape Town, South Africa where I am busy with my postgraduate studies in molecular biology of exercise. My research, supervised by Prof. Edward Ojuka, looks at the influence of nutrition and exercise in gene expression in muscle, research which is relevant and applicable to exercising individuals, sports persons and diabetic individuals. The knowledge that I share with you stems from my 18 years of experience in bodybuilding and 8 years (and counting) of university education in the field. I have also published work in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism (2013), International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (2013) and co-authored two book chapters on exercise and diabetes. I also presented my research work at the 2012 International Sports and Exercise Nutrition Conference (UK). I am grateful to each and everyone at the UCT Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. "Knowledge without sharing is worth nothing"
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