Three Nutrients That Accelerate Knee Surgery Recovery
With any knee surgery there may be muscle loss, more specifically, loss in quadriceps muscle strength. As this muscle is so critical to knee joint strength and stability, maintaining muscle strength is key to a swift recovery. Two ways to do this are through exercise and nutrition. With post-op exercise being the domain of your healthcare professional, let’s look at one proven nutritional approach to slowing down muscle loss and maintaining that critical ‘quad’ strength.
Research has shown that specific nutrients are effective in maintaining muscle mass and strength. In a 2015 study, researchers sought to determine if supplementing with HMG, Arginine and Glutamine (all three of which promote protein synthesis) could enhance the recovery of quadriceps strength in patients who underwent knee surgery. The study found conclusive evidence that consuming HMB, Glutamine and Arginine together, supresses the loss of muscle strength which frequently occurs after knee surgery.
So what are these nutrients? HMB is a metabolite of the amino acid Leucine, which stimulates an increase in lean body mass and muscle strength in healthy adults. It has also been shown that when HMB is consumed before bed, reduction in muscle mass is slowed due to its anti-catabolic (muscle breakdown) properties. Arginine is an essential amino acid which improves wound healing and protein synthesis. Glutamine, also an essential amino acid, has been shown to improve wound healing and protein synthesis while also having anti-catabolic properties.
Taken together these nutrients can preserve lean muscle mass and accelerate your recovery. Yet another reason why protein supplementation after surgery, a time when your body’s demand for protein will be higher than normal, is such an excellent idea.