Study findings pave the way for a new generation of muscle recovery supplements suitable for vegans and vegetarians

Has whey had its day? If a new study from the University of Maastricht is anything to go by, the protein source favoured by many athletes has a new rival in the form of hydrolysed wheat protein.

Plant-based proteins, like those found in wheat, have long been considered less potent in stimulating muscle growth than animal-sourced proteins like whey, largely because of their reduced digestibility and lower levels of amino acids like leucine.

Yet researchers showed that older athletes who consumed a large dose (35g) of wheat protein hydrolysate experienced a higher rise in postprandial blood amino acid concentrations than those who consumed the same amount of standard wheat protein or whey protein. What’s more, the findings revealed post-meal plasma leucine concentrations were also higher after the men had ingested the wheat protein hydrolysate.

It paves the way for a new generation of muscle recovery supplements suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

“Once freed from anti-nutritional compounds that interfere with protein digestion and absorption, purified plant-based proteins are likely to possess digestion and absorption kinetics that are not different from animal-derived proteins,” wrote the authors.

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