Brazilian soccer championships involve a large number of teams and are known to cause stress and loss of muscle mass besides other negative physical consequences. This study was designed to compare the effects produced by three types of protein supplements on body composition, biochemical parameters and performance of a top Brazilian professional soccer team during an actual tournament. Twenty-four athletes assessed as having a normal nutrient intake were divided into three groups according to supplementation. Immediately after each daily training, the athletes received 1 g × kg-1 of body weight × day-1 of either whey protein (WP), hydrolyzed whey protein (HWP) or casein (CAS) for eight weeks. Before and after the experimental period, anthropometric characteristics, physical performance by the yo-yo and 3000m tests, and several biochemical variables in blood (uric acid, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, creatinine, glucose) were measured. While no improvement in physical performance was observed with regard to the applied treatments, casein supplementation resulted in muscle mass increase (p<0.039), while WP and HWP favoured the maintenance of the initial muscle mass. Moreover, the eight-week intervention was found to cause no abnormalities in biochemical and anthropometric variables monitored, but instead, the intervention showed to be positive in comparison to the adverse anthropometric changes, when no supplementation was made. It was concluded that supplementation immediately after training sessions with any of the three sources of protein during the competitive period is beneficial and safe, as well as capable of sustaining or even increasing muscle mass.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.