Beef extract linked to improved exercise performance, reduced fatigue

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock / Lisovskaya
iStock / Lisovskaya

Related tags: Protein, BCAA

Whey protein may be the most popular product of a cow used in the sports nutrition space, but researchers in Taiwan make the case for using beef extract.

In a study on mice, a group of researchers affiliated with several universities in Taiwan found that mice supplemented with beef extract orally exhibited increased endurance and grip strength at a dose-dependent manner, meaning the higher the dose, the better the improvement.

Mice given the beef extract also swam longer in a forced swimming test.

They also found that the group of mice supplemented with beef extract showed significantly decreased lactate and blood urea levels after exercise, which are markers of fatigue.

There were no other significant changes in body weight, skeletal muscle weight, or liver weight in the mice.

Translating results from mice to humans is not a straightforward one, so further research on humans needs to be conducted, but the researchers suggested, “Beef supplementation has a potential use for enhancing endurance or promoting physiological adaptation after intensive exercise training.”

Their study was funded  by the Council of Agriculture of Taiwan and published​ this week in the journal Nutrients​.

Potential mechanism

The researchers made their own beef extract using meat of Taiwan yellow cattle purchased from a local market. Analysis revealed that the resulting extract had 7.7g protein, 30 calories, and 18.6 mg/100g of BCAAs valine, leucine, and isoleucine.

A side outcome that the researchers looked at was how beef extract may affect the gut microbiota. Analysis of the guts of mice as well as their feces indicated no significant changes in their microbiota, so the researchers ruled out microbiome modulation as a potential cause for increased performance.

The findings, they argued, were in line with many other studies conducted on protein-rich foods. They postulated in their report that beef extract supplementation significantly reduced physiological fatigue by decreasing serum lactate, maintaining glucose levels and preserving muscle glycogen content.

Study details

Mice were divided into three groups—a control group not receiving beef extract, a low dose beef extract group, and a high dose beef extract group. Supplemented mice were fed the beef extract according to assigned doses once a day for 25 days.

At the end of the supplementation period, mice conducted several exercise tests, including a grip strength test one hour after the final administration of beef extract. The mice also conducted an acute exercise challenge on day 26, and a swimming exercise on day 28.

Source: Nutrients
Published online, doi: 10.3390/nu10111740
“Supplementation with Beef Extract Improves Exercise Performance and Reduces Post-Exercise Fatigue Independent of Gut Microbiota”
Authors: Tsung-Hsien Hsu, et al.

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