Muscle Repair is one of the latest additions to Mike Chang’s line of supplements, the other being Muscle Protein. From an ingredients standpoint, Muscle Repair is similar to other recovery supplements, with everything from sugar to BCAAs and antioxidants…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
GLYCOGEN REPLENISHMENT COMPLEX:
Glycogen is the body’s primary source of stored energy which tends to get depleted by exercise, depending on the degree of intensity and duration. Simple carbs are an excellent way to replenish lost glycogen immediately after exercise and is perhaps the only part of the day when we’d actually recommend taking in 20g of pure sugar.
Mike Chang’s Muscle Repair contains 26g of sugar in total which is certainly an effective, but not quite excessive, dose.
WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE:
Whey comes in several forms, the most common of which is Whey Concentrate because it’s the cheapest. This is the least processed form and tends to be 70-80% protein by weight. Ideally, we’d like to see Whey Protein Isolate or, at the very least, a mixture. However, given that Mike Chang isn’t exactly known for formulating top quality products, it makes sense they he opted to use Whey Concentrate.
Muscle Repair contains 18g of protein (from Whey Concentrate), a moderately effective (but again, not excessive) dose.
BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs):
The Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) consist of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, and are commonly found in a 2:1:1: ratio because Leucine is the most potent with regards to protein synthesis.
A 2004 study conducted by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences found that BCAA requirement was significantly increased by exercise and that supplementation had “beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis”.
A second study, published in the “American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism”, found that while BCAA intake did not seem to affect amino acid concentration during exercise, it did have a protein-sparing effect during recovery.
Given that Mike Chang’s Muscle Repair also contains 18g of Whey Concentrate, which we can assume contains some BCAAs, we wouldn’t really consider BCAAs a “key” ingredient, although they may help a little.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid (your body can make it) that is involved in a variety of bodily functions, from immune health, to providing a back-up fuel-source for the brain. Aside from its general physiological roles, supplemental Glutamine has shown a lot of promise when it comes to fighting exercise induced immune system suppression.
Our immune systems ultimately benefit from regular exercise, but in the short-term, exercise actually temporarily lowers our immune defenses, thus making us more susceptible to infection during that time-frame. This temporary compromise of the immune system has been proven to correlate with lower levels of glutamine. For this reason, it is suggested that increased uptake of glutamine may help keep the immune system strong post-exercise. In addition, lower glutamine levels have been recorded in over-trained athletes, suggesting that higher levels of glutamine may help to prevent overtraining. Ultimately, while Glutamine may not live up to all the hype, it certainly appears beneficial for exercise recovery making it a welcome addition to Mike Chang’s Muscle Repair (although we question the amount present).
Considered a beta-amino acid, Taurine plays a variety of roles in the body. It is most concentrated in the brain and liver, but is found in some amount virtually everywhere in the body.
A 2004 study showed that Taurine may decrease exercise induced DNA damage, as well as “enhance the capacity of exercise due to its cellular protective properties”.
In a 2011 study, Taurine was shown to significantly decrease oxidative stress in skeletal muscle following exercise.
Although Taurine may also be able to directly improve performance under certain circumstances, it can reliably reduce muscle damage, making it a fine addition to any post-workout recovery supplement. Mike Chang does not disclose the amount of Taurine in Muscle Repair, but given its position (at the end of the proprietary blend, before ALA), we’d estimate the dose is less than optimal.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID:
Alpha Lipoic Acid is a versatile antioxidant with a variety of general health implications. Although it has not been studies extensively with regards to excerise/muscle recovery, it stands to reason that ALA could function similarly to other antioxidants, possibly reducing muscle damage.
ALA has been shown, in multiple studies, to augment the absorption of Creatine when coingested with sugar, but since Muscle Repair contains no Creatine, it seems Mike Chang isn’t concerned with these findings.
We have our doubts about the amount of Alpha Lipoic Acid present in Muscle Repair, but given Mike Chang’s lack of transparency on this one, it’s impossible to say for sure.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Muscle Repair is comprised of some pretty standard post-workout ingredients (sugar, protein, Glutamine,etc.), the combination of which may certainly assist with muscle recovery. However, at $60 for 20 servings, the formula is insanely over-priced compared to similar (and often better) post-workout recovery supplements we’ve reviewed. On a cost basis alone we have to recommend passing on this one, but even at a lower price, the formula isn’t something to get excited about.
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