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Muscle soreness

A NYT article reports that the soreness you get about 24 hours after a hard workout may be due to inflammation:

No one knows for sure exactly what does cause muscle soreness. But many scientists now think that the delayed pain is caused by microscopic tears in the muscles when a certain exercise or activity is new or novel. These tiny tears eventually produce inflammation, and corresponding pain, 24 to 36 hours later.
I don't know a single person who would have thought this was surprising. But oh well. What surprises me is that consuming the right carb/protein mix during and after excercise might limit soreness and improve performance:
Consuming protein, however, may help. In a report published in the July issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, scientists found that trained cyclists who consumed a carbohydrate and protein beverage during and immediately after a ride, were able to ride 29 percent longer during the first ride, and 40 percent longer in a second session than those consuming carbohydrates alone.
Does protein consumption alter the inflammatory response? Does it improve performance by some other mechanism? At any rate, I'd rather have a can of tuna than pop a Vioxx.