Did you know that a football team has an average of 50 injuries per sporting season? In fact, the risk of injury is an inevitable occurrence and inherent in any type of sport, leading to extremely negative physical and psychological consequences for the athlete. Usually a sports injury is accompanied by a stop or decrease in intensity and frequency of physical activity, or even total or partial immobilization of the affected limb. The result? Decreased muscle mass, strength and functional capacity of the muscle, with increased inflammation . In fact, during the first two weeks, a loss of 150-400g of muscle tissue may occur.
The mechanism responsible for changes at muscle level is the balance between muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein degradation (MPB). During periods of injury, there is a decrease in fasting MPS, a transient increase in MPB and increased anabolic resistance . These changes are accompanied by an increase in local adiposity and a decrease in insulin sensitivity .
It is understood, therefore, that all the nutritional strategies that allow mitigating these effects, will accelerate the recovery , reduce the time and the impact of the stop.
The first concern is to ensure a positive energy intake, even if this guarantees the gain of some fat mass, since an energy deficit can reduce MPS by 20-30%, leading to greater muscle loss. [3,4]
Regarding protein intake, the goal is to increase their daily intake to 2-2.5 g protein / kg body weight , evenly distributed in 5-6 meals. The goal is to maximize protein synthesis, attenuate muscle loss and ensure that tissue regeneration is not compromised. The intake of meat, fish, eggs, milk proteins (whey and casein or soy, represent good dietary options that allow to maximize the MPS and consequently prevent the loss of lean mass.
Nutrition Strategies for Recovery
There are also some supplements that can help with the recovery process :
1 – Creatine : intake of 20 g / day (divided into 4 doses) for 5 days, followed by continuous intake of 5 g / day seems to decrease muscle atrophy and increase strength gain and functional capacity during rehabilitation . ].
2 – HMB : supplementation with 3 g / day HMB is effective in preventing muscle damage induced by exercise and in preserving muscle mass .
3 – Omega-3 : supplementation with 4g / day seems to increase sensitivity to amino acids, helping counterbalance anabolic resistance .
4 – Vitamin D : The prevalence of deficiency in vit. D is high, reaching 84%. The vit. D exerts a regulatory effect on the flow of calcium, mineral homeostasis and signaling metabolic pathways that control protein anabolism in muscle tissue. The deficiency in vit. D is associated with faster muscle loss, decreased muscle strength and contractile capacity. Supplementation is advised, especially during the winter and spring, or in athletes who spend a lot of time indoors without sun exposure .