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Effects of 21 days of bed rest and whey protein supplementation on plantar flexor muscle fatigue resistance during repeated shortening contractions.

Bosutti, Alessandra and Mulder, Edwin and Zange, Jochen and Bühlmeier, Judith and Ganse, Bergita and Degens, Hans (2020) Effects of 21 days of bed rest and whey protein supplementation on plantar flexor muscle fatigue resistance during repeated shortening contractions. European Journal of Applied Physiology. ISSN 1439-6319

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Abstract

PURPOSE:Space flight and bed rest (BR) lead to a rapid decline in exercise capacity. Whey protein plus potassium bicarbonate diet-supplementation (NUTR) could attenuate this effect by improving oxidative metabolism. We evaluated the impact of 21-day BR and NUTR on fatigue resistance of plantar flexor muscles (PF) during repeated shortening contractions, and whether any change was related to altered energy metabolism and muscle oxygenation. METHODS:Ten healthy men received a standardized isocaloric diet with (n = 5) or without (n = 5) NUTR. Eight bouts of 24 concentric plantar flexions (30 s each bout) with 20 s rest between bouts were employed. PF muscle size was assessed by means of peripheral quantitative computed tomography. PF muscle volume was assessed with magnetic resonance imaging. PF muscle force, contraction velocity, power and surface electromyogram signals were recorded during each contraction, as well as energy metabolism (31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) and oxygenation (near-infrared spectroscopy). Cardiopulmonary parameters were measured during an incremental cycle exercise test. RESULTS:BR caused 10-15% loss of PF volume that was partly recovered 3 days after re-ambulation, as a consequence of fluid redistribution. Unexpectedly, PF fatigue resistance was not affected by BR or NUTR. BR induced a shift in muscle metabolism toward glycolysis and some signs of impaired muscle oxygen extraction. NUTR did not attenuate the BR-induced-shift in energy metabolism. CONCLUSIONS:Twenty-one days' BR did not impair PF fatigue resistance, but the shift to glycolytic metabolism and indications of impaired oxygen extraction may be early signs of developing reduced muscle fatigue resistance.

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