Does protein distribution affect muscle mass?

When it comes to gaining new muscle mass, protein intake is one of the most important variables to consider. Frequent discussions range from protein, protein source and bioavailability to refractory periods and protein distribution.

This article gives a brief overview of what is currently available and offers clear and concise recommendations for optimization Protein distribution all day and maximize your results.

The role of protein in the functions of the body

Protein performs various functions in the body including, but not limited to Growth and maintenance of tissue,1catalyze biochemical reactions,2Restoration of injuries,3 and normal Immune function.4th

Of particular interest, however, is its role in the synthesis of skeletal muscles. Muscle protein synthesis (MPS)5 is the process by which our body synthesizes new muscle tissue. It is a primary variable that galvanizes Remodeling of the fabric.

Muscle protein breakdown (MPB)6th is an oppositional effect in which muscle proteins are broken down. This effect occurs through autophagy, calpain, and the ubiquitin proteasome systems.6th

The balance between these two processes determines whether a person gains, maintains, or loses muscle mass.

  • When the rate of MPS exceeds MPB, new muscle is accumulated.
  • When MPB outperforms MPS, muscle loss is observed.

Optimize muscle building

ON 2019 paper7th by Iraki et al. established recommendations for natural Bodybuilders in the low season.

The authors reiterate what the greater body of evidence suggests: Total protein intake is a more important determinant of new muscle mass development than protein distribution.

Currently, research suggests that a protein intake of 1.6 to 2.2 g / kg per day is enough to optimize muscle growth.7th

However, if protein, Caloriesand all Resistance exercise With the protocol standardized we still see a slight benefit in optimizing protein distribution throughout the day.

One of the more obvious reasons for this is the refractory period of MPS. The Leucine The threshold value describes the amount of leucine that is required for stimulation within a protein stimulation MPS8th maximum.

A: Changes in muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein breakdown (MPB) in response to feeding (i.e. amino acids). B: Changes in MPS and MPB in response to resistance training and feeding. The chronic use of these anabolic stimuli as in B leads to muscle hypertrophy8th.

Protein quality and bioavailability are beyond the scope of this article, but in general the following is observed animal protein seems superior vegetable proteins in most cases.

However, some non-animal sources of protein are of high quality. If this is the topic that you want to dig into, then you can start reading this paper, and This one here, and This one here. But I digress.

Assuming a sufficient amount of protein is consumed, we will maximize the MPS response (approximately 20-40 g). This reaction comes with the so-called “muscle-full effect”, as described by Schönfeld et al. in his Paper 2018.9

Once MPS is maximally stimulated, there is essentially a refractory period during which MPS cannot be maximally stimulated again.

ON 2017 paper10 by Kirksick et al. found “Taking a 20-40 g protein dose (0.25-0.40 g / kg body mass / dose) from a high-quality source every three to four hours seems to have the most favorable influence on MPS rates compared to other eating habits associated improved body composition and performance results. “10

Does protein distribution affect muscle mass accumulation? Yes, but the effect is small. However, I would caution against assuming that small is not meaningful. Its worth is relative to the individual and their goals.

Hypothetically, an increase of 1% in hypertrophy For an elite bodybuilder, the difference can be between 1st and 5th place.

For the average person, the extra effort may not be worth the relatively small impact on results. It is up to each individual to decide whether the investment is worthwhile. Good luck!


1. Bosses JD, Dixon BM. “”Dietary Protein to Maximize Strength Training: A Review and Examination of Protein Proliferation and Change Theories. ” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012, September 8; 9 (1): 42.

2. Cooper GM. “”The central role of enzymes as biological catalysts“The Cell: A Molecular Approach. 2nd Edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2000.

3. Yeung SE, Hilkewich L., Gillis C., Heine JA, Fenton TR. “”Protein intake is associated with reduced length of stay: A comparison between improved recovery after surgery (ERAS) and conventional care after elective colorectal surgery. ” At J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jul; 106 (1): 44- 51.

4. Li P, Yin YL, Li D, Kim SW, Wu G.Amino acids and immune function. ” Br J Nutr. 2007 Aug; 98 (2): 237- 52.

5. PJ Atherton and K. Smith, “Muscle Protein Synthesis in Response to Diet and Exercise. ” The Journal of Physiology, Vol 59-.5 1049-57.

6. Kevin D. Tipton, D. Lee Hamilton, Iain J. Gallagher, “To evaluate the role of muscle protein breakdown in response to diet and exercise in humans. ” Sports medicine (Aukland, NZ). Vol 48, 2018. Suppl 1, 53-64.

7. Juma Iraki, Peter Fitschen, Sergio Espinar, and Eric Helms, “Off-Season Diet Recommendations For Bodybuilders: A Narrative Overview. ” Sport (Basel, Switzerland.), Flight. 7.7 154, June 26, 2019.

8. Burd NA, Tang JE, Moore DR, Phillips SM. “”Exercise Training and Protein Metabolism: Influences of Contraction, Protein Intake, and Gender Differences. ” J. Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 May; 106 (5): 1692-1. 701

9. Schönfeld, BJ, Aragon, AAHow much protein can the body use to build muscle in a single meal? Implications for Daily Protein Distribution. ” J Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 10 (2018).

10. Kerksick CM, Arent S., Schönfeld BJ, Stout JR, Campbell B., Wilborn CD, Taylor L., Kalman D., Smith-Ryan AE, Kreider RB, Willoughby D., Arciero PJ, VanDusseldorp TA, Ormsbee MJ , Wildman R., Greenwood M, Ziegenfuss TN, Aragon AA, Antonio J. “State of the International Society for Sports Nutrition: Nutrient Timing. ” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017, August 29; 14:33.

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