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How much protein for an optimal anabolic response?

  • protein
  • Sports nutrition

We answer all your questions, especially those related to proteins. How much protein should you plan for for an optimal anabolic response?

How many grams of protein for an optimal anabolic response?

Medical research has shown that the most important factor in the progression of bodybuilding is protein.

In male bodybuilders, there is a direct correlation between protein intake and muscle mass gains (1).

This means that, for the same bodybuilding program, the higher the protein intake of a bodybuilder, the faster the hypertrophy of his type 2 fibers. Even more surprisingly, there is a lack of correlation between the rise in testosterone or growth hormone following training and the growth of type 2 fibers.

Proteins: a key element

Proteins are therefore a key element on which it is easy to play in order to progress. But how many grams of protein are needed, for an optimal anabolic response, especially, after training?

We often hear that a maximum absorption threshold exists at 30 g of protein per dose. A 2011 scientific study shatters this belief.

A comprehensive study on protein intake

Trained bodybuilders have ingested varying doses of whey protein isolate after thigh workouts. The level of anabolic response was then measured in their muscle fibers.

  • A first group of bodybuilders received 10 g of isolate every two hours.
  • A second group received 20 g of isolate every three hours.
  • A third group received 40 g of isolate every six hours (2).
Taking the 10 g of isolate did not affect muscle anabolism. It is therefore too low a dosage to have a positive impact on the muscles.


Taking 20 g increases the power of the anabolic response by 12 times within an hour of taking the first dose. Four hours after weight training, the repetition of the catches makes it possible to maintain a speed of muscle protein synthesis eight times greater than the placebo. But then the anabolic effect wears off.

Taking 40 g increases the level of anabolic response by 20 within an hour of taking. Seven hours after weight training, the repetition of the catches makes it possible to maintain an anabolism 12 times higher than a placebo. The anabolic effect is therefore both more powerful and more durable with 40 g than with other, more modest dosages.

This study proves that more than 30g of protein can be digested per intake and that this is very beneficial for recovery and muscle growth.

We also know that an intake of more than 40 g is beneficial in the morning or after a long period without eating (= more than 8 hours), because some of the proteins ingested will be assimilated by the intestine and will not go to muscles.

Scientific references

(1) West, Daniel. Retrospective Analysis Of Resistance Training-induced Strength And Hypertrophy: Separating The Wheat From The Hormone Chaff. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 41

(2) Areta, Jose L. Timing Of Post-exercise Protein Ingestion Alters Anabolic Signaling During Prolonged Recovery. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 136

Written on 12/31/2021 by Nutrimuscle Conseil
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