No Fear— Aminos are Here!
A significant fraction of individuals in the world of exercise partakes in essential amino acid (EAA) supplementation. These little building blocks of protein promote muscle performance, muscle recovery, and muscular gains. With this in mind, could EAA supplementation aid in recovery from a total knee replacement (TKR)?
A recent study was done to evaluate the effectiveness of EAA supplements on the lower limb muscles of those undergoing TKR. The patients received EAA supplementation a week prior to the operation to two weeks afterward. By measuring the rectus femoris (quad) muscle before and periodically beyond the operation, they were able to determine that there was significant growth in the musculature of the lower limb. Or at least, a significant reduction in post-surgery atrophy in those who took EAAs.
There is a universal dread when it comes to any orthopedic operation. Many fear pain, the recovery process, or that they will not progress to their normal selves (or full exercise capacity). Although my (Lucy) own lower limb operations were not as severe as a total knee replacement, I would have found comfort in knowing the resulting statistical significance of EAA supplementation usage for lower extremity operations. You can find more information on studies that find correlations between arthroplasties and protein here.
So, if a TKR or any knee surgery, is in your future, there are several ways you can promote muscle development before, during, and after surgery. Not only can you consume foods higher in protein—via lean meat, whey, or pea protein— but you can also confidently rely on EAA supplementation to aid in your recovery.
JBJS Mar. 2023
What is All This Fasting About?
There has been much talk about how mealtimes could be more related to weight loss as compared to tracking macros and calories. Many questions surround the topic: does the timing of caloric intake have any effect on energy, cardiovascular health, or sleep? Research suggests that intermittent fasting may indirectly align itself with circadian rhythms. Generally speaking, people live very cyclic lives and are likely unaware of the importance of circadian rhythms in relation to their health. The studies are suggesting that maintaining a consistent feeding window can improve efficiency in energy expenditure, quality of sleep (duration), and heart health.
Although there has not been much research done that specifically measures the effects intermittent fasting has on overweight/obese individuals, one study did find some significant results. The control group was on a Mediterranean diet and there were three other groups divided into 3 different eating windows (early fasting, late fasting, and free of choice). The fasting window was 16 hours which meant the feasting window was 8 hours. The study found that those who fasted, no matter the early/late/freedom, lost more weight and had more body composition changes as compared to those in the control group. However, those who lost weight by fasting also lost about a gram of muscle mass. This is not particularly appalling as a loss of muscle mass is a natural occurrence resulting from any kind of weight loss. If your interests take you further, find out more about how intermittent fasting relates to other “diets” here and here.
Overall, the results of intermittent fasting seem to be relatively positive and practical. It takes a lot of thinking out of the typical “dieting”: less counting and more development of a routine.
Medscape Nov. 2022