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Effects of Whey Protein Alone or as Part of a Multi-ingredient Formulation on Strength, Fat-Free Mass, or Lean Body Mass in Resistance-Trained Individuals: A Meta-analysis

Overview of attention for article published in Sports Medicine, September 2015
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (96th percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (68th percentile)

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1 news outlet
1 blog
46 tweeters
2 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page
3 video uploaders


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Effects of Whey Protein Alone or as Part of a Multi-ingredient Formulation on Strength, Fat-Free Mass, or Lean Body Mass in Resistance-Trained Individuals: A Meta-analysis
Published in
Sports Medicine, September 2015
DOI 10.1007/s40279-015-0403-y
Pubmed ID

Fernando Naclerio, Eneko Larumbe-Zabala


Even though the positive effects of whey protein-containing supplements for optimizing the anabolic responses and adaptations process in resistance-trained individuals have been supported by several investigations, their use continues to be controversial. Additionally, the administration of different multi-ingredient formulations where whey proteins are combined with carbohydrates, other protein sources, creatine, and amino acids or derivatives, has been extensively proposed as an effective strategy to maximize strength and muscle mass gains in athletes. We aimed to systematically summarize and quantify whether whey protein-containing supplements, administered alone or as a part of a multi-ingredient, could improve the effects of resistance training on fat-free mass or lean body mass, and strength in resistance-trained individuals when compared with other iso-energetic supplements containing carbohydrates or other sources of proteins. A structured literature search was conducted on PubMed, Science Direct, Web of Science, Cochrane Libraries, US National Institutes of Health clinicaltrials.gov, SPORTDiscus, and Google Scholar databases. Main inclusion criteria comprised randomized controlled trial study design, adults (aged 18 years and over), resistance-trained individuals, interventions (a resistance training program for a period of 6 weeks or longer, combined with whey protein supplementation administered alone or as a part of a multi-ingredient), and a calorie equivalent contrast supplement from carbohydrates or other non-whey protein sources. Continuous data on fat-free mass and lean body mass, and maximal strength were pooled using a random-effects model. Data from nine randomized controlled trials were included, involving 11 treatments and 192 participants. Overall, with respect to the ingestion of contrast supplements, whey protein supplementation, administered alone or as part of a multi-ingredient, in combination with resistance training, was associated with small extra gains in fat-free mass or lean body mass, resulting in an effect size of g = 0.301, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.032-0.571. Subgroup analyses showed less clear positive trends resulting in small to moderate effect size g = 0.217 (95 % CI -0.113 to 0.547) and g = 0.468 (95 % CI 0.003-0.934) in favor of whey and multi-ingredient, respectively. Additionally, a positive overall extra effect was also observed to maximize lower (g = 0.316, 95 % CI 0.045-0.588) and upper body maximal strength (g = 0.458, 95 % CI 0.161-0.755). Subgroup analyses showed smaller superiority to maximize strength gains with respect to the contrast groups for lower body (whey protein: g = 0.343, 95 % CI -0.016 to 0.702, multi-ingredient: g = 0.281, 95 % CI -0.135 to 0.697) while in the upper body, multi-ingredient (g = 0.612, 95 % CI 0.157-1.068) seemed to produce more clear effects than whey protein alone (g = 0.343, 95 % CI -0.048 to 0.735). Studies involving interventions of more than 6 weeks on resistance-training individuals are scarce and account for a small number of participants. Furthermore, no studies with an intervention longer than 12 weeks have been found. The variation regarding the supplementation protocol, namely the different doses criteria or timing of ingestion also add some concerns to the studies comparison. Whey protein alone or as a part of a multi-ingredient appears to maximize lean body mass or fat-free mass gain, as well as upper and lower body strength improvement with respect to the ingestion of an iso-energetic equivalent carbohydrate or non-whey protein supplement in resistance-training individuals. This enhancement effect seems to be more evident when whey proteins are consumed within a multi-ingredient containing creatine.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 162 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 4 2%
United States 1 <1%
Norway 1 <1%
Netherlands 1 <1%
New Zealand 1 <1%
Unknown 154 95%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 46 28%
Student > Bachelor 32 20%
Researcher 20 12%
Unspecified 16 10%
Other 11 7%
Other 37 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 38 23%
Sports and Recreations 34 21%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 26 16%
Nursing and Health Professions 23 14%
Unspecified 22 14%
Other 19 12%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 52. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 11 May 2019.
All research outputs
of 13,047,699 outputs
Outputs from Sports Medicine
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Sports Medicine
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Altmetric has tracked 13,047,699 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 97th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,170 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 31.1. This one has done well, scoring higher than 83% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 247,907 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 45 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 68% of its contemporaries.