James L. - 42763 N - Nutr Bull 2012 ; 37(3) : 257-61.

Milk ingestion in athletes and physically active individuals

Milk is a cheap drink that naturally contains nutrients in similar amounts as found in typical carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drinks, as well as providing some protein (36 g/l). While there is little information about the ingestion of milk during exercise, the available evidence suggests that milk might enhance certain aspects of recovery when ingested after resistance and endurance exercise. The protein content of milk means that ingestion of milk immediately after resistance exercise acutely increases muscle protein synthesis, and if used chronically during a resistance training programme, milk ingestion enhances lean mass gains and fat mass losses compared with other protein sources (e.g. soy protein) or ingestion of carbohydrate. Ingesting milk after muscle damaging exercise also appears to alleviate some of the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage, while the electrolytes naturally occurring in milk, as well as the milk protein, appear to enhance rehydration after endurance exercise. In summary, milk appears to be an appropriate post-exercise drink for athletes and physically active individuals that are not intolerant to lactose and/or dairy. Milk might enhance some aspects of recovery after exercise and it appears that the proteins contained in milk are responsible for most of these enhancements.