The road to recovery may be paved with chicken.
OK, this is not the Chik-fil-A cow trying to get you eat more chicken or embed them in road tar; a new study report was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) showing improved physical recovery from a dietary supplement derived from chicken parts.
BioCell® is a chicken sternum extract that contains hydrolyzed type II collagen and assorted glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) such as chondroitin and hyaluronic acid (HA). It has long been studied for joint health support, but this new pilot study focused on muscle recovery from strenuous exercise. Tim Ziegnenfuss, Ph.D., and his team from the Center for Applied Health Sciences, Ohio, conducted the proof of concept study for BioCell.
“The extracellular matrix (ECM) of muscle, tendon, and ligament is sensitive to exercise-induced mechanical stimuli," he wrote. “Exercise-induced muscle damage is associated with not only myofibrillar injury, but also the involvement of connective tissue elements such as collagen, proteoglycans (PG), tendon and ligament."
To investigate the functional and molecular impact BioCell has on musculoskeletal recovery from intense exercise, Ziegenfuss and his team studied eight healthy, recreationally active subjects between 20 and 38 years old. The subjects were randomized in a double blind design to take 3 grams of either BioCell or placebo per day for six weeks. Then subjects undertook an “upper bod, muscle-damaging resistance exercise"— eight sets of barbell bench press at 75-percent of body weight load to exhaustion with a 4/0/X repetition tempo and 90 seconds rest between sets. Then, 72 hours after the first challenge, they did the same weight-lifting exercise to test recovery of function.
First off, the research team found the supplementation regimen significantly limited the post-exercise increase in serum markers for muscle damage, including creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase and C-reactive protein (CRP). You can check out the exact numbers on these results at the journal’s website.
The other major finding from the study was the performance during recovery, which improved with the BioCell supplementation. The decrease in bench press repetitions to failure was lower in the supplement group than in the placebo group: 49 percent vs. 60 percent, respectively, during the first exercise challenge, and 43 percent vs. 55 percent, respectively, during the final exercise challenge.
Thus, the researchers concluded BioCell “may favorably impact key biochemical markers of connective and skeletal muscle tissue damage and enhance stress resilience following intense resistance exercise." They noted BioCell was well-tolerated and showed no adverse side effects.