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Case Report: Nutrient Supplement to Augment Walking Distance

The potential benefits of a nutrient supplement ingested after fatiguing ambulation on gait parameters over a 2-week period were described by Nash et al. (2007). Participants were randomized to receive either a blended drink containing whey protein and carbohydrate or a placebo control consisting of soy protein in the first 2 weeks of training. Following a 2-week washout period, participants returned to receive the other supplement. After 2-weeks of ingesting the whey protein and carbohydrate supplement post-exercise, participants were able to walk longer and farther than if they ingested the placebo control. Whey protein and carbohydrate supplements are commonly used to facilitate recovery following intense exercise in the able-bodied population. This is the first report to demonstrate the potential benefits of such nutrient supplementation in the SCI population.

Table 22: Nutrient Supplement to Augment Walking Distance

Author Year; Country
Research Design
ample Size




Nash et al. 2007



RCT w/crossover

Level 1


Population: 3 females and males; age 34-43 yrs; all participants had an incomplete SCI; C5-T4 lesion level; mean 11.3 yrs post-injury

Treatment: Blended drink containing 48 g of vanilla-flavored whey and 1g/kg of body weight maltodextrin.

Outcome Measures: Distance walked

1.     Ambulation time to fatigue was 17.8% longer (32.0 min vs 27.1 min) and distance walked to fatigue was 37.9% longer (470m vs 341m) with the whey and maltodextrin supplement than with the placebo soy drink.