Protein Gurus – Part 2

Another great article on Muscle Protein Synthesis (Researchers Point to the Optimal Protein Dose, Timing & Distribution to Maximize Muscle). They have the following takeaways from the scholars:

  1. Muscle protein synthesis is an anabolic response that occurs in response to protein feeding and resistance training. On the protein front, it specifically relates to leucine intake. To maximize the MPS response, ~2.5g of leucine is required. This is known as the “leucine threshold”.

  2. To maximize the muscle protein synthesis response over the course of a day, it seems that 3–4 evenly spaced meals that surpass the leucine threshold is a prudent strategy.

  3. A meal containing 0.4 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (g/kg BW) from a high-quality protein source will allow an individual to hit the leucine threshold. For most people this is somewhere between 20–40g.

  4. The best sources of protein for this purpose are animal proteins (particularly whey protein) due to their high branched-chain amino acid composition. Plant-based protein sources will mean a higher protein intake is needed to hit the required level of leucine.

  5. When MPS is “spiked” in response to a protein feeding, it will drop back to baseline within 2–3 hours. This drop will occur regardless of whether protein or amino acids continue to be fed and leucine remains high. This is potentially due to high demand of ATP required by cells for MPS (i.e. MPS is an energy-expensive process and the cell will stop MPS to conserve energy).

  6. MPS is only a proxy measure for muscle hypertrophy, not an exact correlate. Net muscle protein balance (MPS vs. muscle protein breakdown) matters more. And further, there are many other factors than influence actual hypertrophy outside of MPS and MPB.

  7. Of all the macronutrients, it seems that timing and distribution (versus simply total daily intake) is most important when it comes to protein. However, there are pragmatic examples of scenarios where we may not theoretically maximize MPS, yet still preserve and/or build plenty of muscle mass. For example, daily intermittent fasting.

The whole article is worth reading.



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