Improvements in muscle size and strength aren’t realized during exercise. That happens during recovery. Milk and other formulations of dairy products have been shown to support this process with amino acids from protein, but what about active adults who are sensitive to lactose? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that special formulations might produce similar results.

Researchers had 10 healthy young men take part in 3 glycogen-depleting cycling sessions a week apart. After each session, subjects got 2 hours to recover before saddling up for a ride to exhaustion at 70% of exercise capacity. During that recovery window they were given water, lactose-free milk or a sports drink. After drinking milk, subjects were able to ride an average of 70 minutes before reaching exhaustion. It was about 52 minutes with a sports drink and 36 minutes with water.

True Strength Moment: From these results, it appears that essential amino acids from a complete dairy protein help with recovery whether lactose is present or not. If you’re sensitive to this component of milk and milk-based products, find a formulation with low to no lactose to see if it supports recovery from your workouts.

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