Key points: The ingestion of protein potentiates the stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis rates after an acute bout of resistance exercise. Protein supplementation (eating above the protein Recommended Dietary Allowance) during resistance training has been shown to maximize lean mass and strength gains in healthy young and older adults. Here, contractile, oxidative, and structural protein synthesis were assessed in skeletal muscle in response to a moderate or higher protein diet during the early adaptive phase of resistance training in middle-aged adults. The stimulation of myofibrillar, mitochondrial or collagen protein synthesis rates during 0–3 weeks of resistance training is not further enhanced by a higher protein diet. These results show that moderate protein diets are sufficient to support the skeletal muscle adaptive response during the early phase of a resistance training programme. Abstract: Protein ingestion augments muscle protein synthesis (MPS) rates acutely after resistance exercise and can offset age-related loss in muscle mass. Skeletal muscle contains a variety of protein pools, such as myofibrillar (contractile), mitochondrial (substrate oxidation), and collagen (structural support) proteins, and the sensitivity to nutrition and exercise seems to be dependent on the major protein fraction studied. However, it is unknown how free-living conditions with high dietary protein density and habitual resistance exercise mediates muscle protein subfraction synthesis. Therefore, we investigated the effect of moderate (MOD: 1.06 ± 0.22 g kg−1 day−1) or high (HIGH: 1.55 ± 0.25 g kg−1 day−1) protein intake on daily MPS rates within the myofibrillar (MyoPS), mitochondrial (MitoPS) and collagen (CPS) protein fractions in middle-aged men and women (n = 20, 47 ± 1 years, BMI 28 ± 1 kg m–2) during the early phase (0–3 weeks) of a dietary counselling-controlled resistance training programme. Participants were loaded with deuterated water, followed by daily maintenance doses throughout the intervention. Muscle biopsies were collected at baseline and after weeks 1, 2 and 3. MyoPS in the HIGH condition remained constant (P = 1.000), but MOD decreased over time (P = 0.023). MitoPS decreased after 0–3 weeks when compared to 0–1 week (P = 0.010) with no effects of protein intake (P = 0.827). A similar decline with no difference between groups (P = 0.323) was also observed for CPS (P = 0.007). Our results demonstrated that additional protein intake above moderate amounts does not potentiate the stimulation of longer-term MPS responses during the early stage of resistance training adaptations in middle-aged adults.
- deuterium oxide
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