Animal protein is assumed to be better than protein derived from plants for muscle protein synthesis because of its complete essential amino acid profile. Although most proteins derived from plants are lacking in 1 or more essential amino acids needed for optimal repair and growth of muscle, a randomized controlled study shows that proteins derived from plants can still generate a strong anabolic response.
The study revealed that consuming 30 grams of protein derived from potato concentrate after performing resistance exercise strongly improved rates of muscle protein synthesis to levels that were not different from the response after the consumption of an equal amount of protein derived from milk concentrate.
According to the researchers, exercise’s anabolic response depends on the stimulus of the exercise and the postprandial increase in circulating amino acids. Protein derived from plants is generally believed to have less anabolic properties, because of their incomplete amino acid profile and reduced digestibility. The study shows that the consumption of 30 g of protein derived from potatoes will support muscle repair and growth at rest and during exercise recovery.
The results show that protein derived from potato concentrate can be used for increasing rates of muscle protein synthesis while at rest as well as during post-exercise recovery at rates that are not different from the consumption of an equal amount of protein derived from milk.
For this randomized, double-blind study, 24 young, healthy 20 to 28-year-old males were recruited.
- They performed resistance exercise randomly with either the dominant or non-dominant leg on a seated knee-extension machine after a supine leg press machine warm-up.
- Muscle biopsies were obtained from each leg and blood samples were taken after they had rested for 10 minutes.
- Straight after the biopsies were obtained, 12 individuals consumed 30 grams of protein derived from potatoes while the other 12 individuals consumed an equal amount of protein derived from milk.
- After consumption, blood samples were collected over 5 hours to establish concentrations of blood amino acid, insulin, and glucose.
- 2nd and 3rd muscle biopsies were obtained to establish rates of muscle protein synthesis at rest as well as during exercise recovery.
The study found that muscle protein synthesis during exercise was strongly stimulated after the consumption of 30 g of protein derived from potatoes.
The results of the study showed that high-quality protein derived from plants which includes protein from nutrient-dense sources such as potatoes can have a place in sports nutrition.
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