University of Newcastle researchers test supplement to aid muscle recovery

Positive: Professor Hugh Dunstan said CSIRO's On-Prime accelerator program helped his team gather market evidence. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
Positive: Professor Hugh Dunstan said CSIRO's On-Prime accelerator program helped his team gather market evidence. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

UNIVERSITY of Newcastle researchers have developed a supplement that will rapidly replace the six key amino acids lost during exercise and hope to have it on supermarket shelves within the next year.

Professor Hugh Dunstan and his colleagues Professor Tim Roberts, Dr Margaret Macdonald and Stephen Davidson said the supplement aims to enhance muscle recovery and improve general wellbeing.

“What we’ve done is work out exactly what is lost through the burning of energy and lost in sweat and other waste product pathways and try to develop a product that replaces precisely what is lost,” Professor Dunstan said.

“The body naturally breaks down its own existing proteins during the day and this occurs more avidly during exercise to provide the nutrients that the body needs.

“But if you’re doing that a lot, working hard, have long days or are doing very extensive exercise training then that protein breakdown is a larger component of your day and eventually people get to a stage where they’re exhausted, overworked and need to have a rest to recover.

“If you keep doing this you will reach a stage where you do become more susceptible to injury, where you get soft tissue damage, sprains and twists and so forth.

“So by reducing the protein turnover in a day, by circumventing it with this supplement, you can actually maintain yourself in a much better condition.

“It’s about optimising sustained performance by accelerating the body’s natural processes of recovery and reducing fatigue. Nothing can make you run faster, but it will let you run your best for longer.”

Professor Dunstan said his team’s research was the first that had identified the six amino acids as being necessary for recovery. “They’re used in many areas of metabolism so they’re actually being utilised at a disproportionately higher rate.” 

The team has applied for a patent for its composition formula. It is testing the prototype and modes of delivery with horses in the Hunter and plans similar testing with humans. 

Professor Dunstan said as well as helping athletic people, it may also assist the inactive to work more efficiently and ease into exercise regimes.