NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Researchers report that HIV-positive women can significantly increases body cell mass (BCM), muscle mass, muscle strength and improve quality of life with resistance exercise, but not with whey protein supplementation.
Dr. Denise Agin and colleagues from St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York, began their study believing that both exercise and whey protein would increase BCM and that the combination might have an additive effect.
The researchers randomly assigned 37 HIV-infected women to a regime of whey protein supplementation, progressive resistance exercise or a combination of exercise and protein. Thirty women completed the 14-week trial, according to the report in the December issue of AIDS.
Women in the exercise program increased BCM an average of 0.74 kg (p = 0.03). These women also increased skeletal muscle an average of 1.2 kg (p < 0.001) and lowered fat an average 1.7 kg (p = 0.02). Strength also increased with exercise (range 40.6% to 95.3%, p < 0.001), and the quality of life physical activity score significantly increased (p = 0.02), the researchers found.
In contrast, women receiving whey protein gained an average of 3.6 kg in weight (p = 0.001) and an average of 2.5 kg of fat (p = 0.002). But, BCM and skeletal muscle did not change and the quality of life physical activity score significantly decreased (p = 01).
Women receiving both exercise and whey protein had increases in BCM (average 0.61 kg, p = 0.01) but no change in skeletal muscle. Strength improved in the same range as the exercise-only group.
"For BCM-wasted HIV-positive women, treatment with whey protein promoted weight and fat gain with little effect on physical function and quality of life, whereas resistance training increased BCM, skeletal muscle, muscle strength and quality of life leading to functional improvement," Dr. Agin's team notes.
"Contrary to our hypothesis, the coupling of whey protein and resistance exercise did not promote BMC accretion in excess of that achieved by resistance exercise alone."