Supplementing with keratin can increase lean body mass

A study carried out by researchers from the School of Sport and Exercise at Massey University in New Zealand found that keratin supplements can help increase lean body mass. Keratin is a protein derived from poultry feathers.

Published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the study evaluated the impact of soluble keratin supplementation compared to casein on physically active trained cyclists. To do this, the researchers enrolled 15 trained male cyclists aged between 18 and 50 years old. The participants regularly participated in endurance cycling exercise at least three times a week for three months before the study.

For a period of four weeks, one group of participants supplemented with keratin, while another group supplemented with casein. After this, they underwent an eight-week washout period. Then, the participants started supplementing again with the other ingredient for another four weeks. During the study period, the participants were asked to avoid taking any form of supplement.

Keratin and casein have different protein fractions, so the amount of supplement given in each intervention was calculated as providing the desired protein content. The two supplements were given in the form of protein bars of two different flavors, and the remainder of the protein requirement in powder form, which was mixed with water to make a drink.

The researchers also recorded the participants’ body composition, cycling performance, and blood and cardiorespiratory variables at the beginning and end of every trial period.

The results showed that keratin supplementation did not significantly affect total body mass, percentage of body fat, or performance measures, yet, it did significantly cause a greater increase in bone-free lean mass compared to casein.

With these findings, the researchers suggest that keratin may be a more effective supplement for increasing lean body mass in combination with an aerobic exercise program compared to casein supplements. Supplementation with keratin is especially beneficial to older people, athletes, and people in the recovery period of medical intervention.

More on keratin

Keratin is a protective protein that makes up the hair, skin, and nails, which is why some people believe that it can be beneficial for the hair, skin, and nails.

People who use keratin products on their hair report that their hair becomes smoother and easier to manage. Keratin does this by smoothing down the cells that overlap to form hair strands. Keratin is said to be absorbed by the hair cuticle, which results in fuller-looking and glossy hair. In addition, keratin is said to make curly and frizzy hair easier to style and straighter in appearance. Keratin is available in supplements and products, such as serums, shampoos, and conditioners.

Other ways to increase lean body mass

You can also increase lean body mass by following these tips:

  • Consume protein at the right time: Eating a high-protein meal during the early evening hours improves protein synthesis simulation and reduced appetite.
  • Drink a protein shake before bed: Drinking a protein shake before bed will minimize the rise in cortisol, a catabolic hormone that increases muscle protein breakdown.
  • Consume protein during workout: In addition to carbohydrates, which is the main energy source, it is recommended to also consume protein during a workout. This will prevent carbohydrates from cannibalizing muscle protein.
  • Supplement with glutathione and L-citrulline: A study published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that taking glutathione and L-citrulline together can increase muscle strength and lean mass.

Read more news stories and studies on the health benefits of keratin supplementation by going to

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