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Soy & Electrolytes: Two Supplements with Specific Exercise Benefits

Soy: For Exercise Recovery & Body Composition (33 to 40 grams daily)

In one preliminary study, older men participating in a 12-week strength training program took a liquid supplement containing 10 grams of protein (part of which was soy protein), 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fat either immediately following exercise or two hours later. Men taking the supplement immediately following exercise experienced significantly greater gains in muscle growth and lean body mass than those supplementing two hours later, but strength gains were no different between the two groups.

However, a controlled study of female gymnasts found that adding soy protein (0.45 grams per pound of body weight per day) to a diet that was adequate in protein during a four-month training program did not improve lean body mass compared with a placebo.

No research has compared different sources of protein to see whether one source, such as soy protein, has a better or more consistent effect on exercise recovery or the results of strength training.

Electrolytes: For Ultra-Endurance Competition (Refer to label instructions)

Electrolyte replacement is not as important as water intake in most athletic endeavors. It usually takes several hours of exercise in warm climates before sodium depletion becomes significant and even longer for depletions of potassium, chloride, and magnesium to occur. Nonetheless, commercial sports drinks containing sodium and potassium may help to replace electrolytes lost in sweating during prolonged exercise, and will often make it easier to drink adequately as well as to retain more fluid.

Some athletes participating in several hours of exercise have developed a potentially dangerous condition called hyponatremia (low blood sodium levels) even when electrolyte-containing sports drinks were used. This condition may be caused by fluid retention due to excessive drinking combined with natural reductions in kidney function during exercise, so some authorities caution against overdrinking during exercise, especially if the exerciser notices that his or her body weight goes up after prolonged physical activity.


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