Animal protein is believed to be superior to plant protein for muscle protein synthesis due to its complete essential amino acid profile. While most plant-derived proteins lack one or more essential amino acids needed for optimal muscle repair and growth, a randomized controlled trial shows that plant-derived proteins can still generate a strong anabolic response.
The study found that consuming 30 grams of protein derived from potato concentrate after performing resistance exercise greatly improved the rate of muscle protein synthesis to levels no different from the response after consuming an equal amount of protein derived from milk concentrate.
According to the researchers, the anabolic response to exercise depends on the stimulus of the exercise and the postprandial increase in circulating amino acids. Plant-derived protein is generally believed to have fewer anabolic properties, due to their incomplete amino acid profile and reduced digestibility. The research shows that the consumption of 30 g of protein from potatoes supports muscle recovery and growth at rest and during exercise recovery.
The results show that protein from potato concentrate can be used to increase muscle protein synthesis both at rest and during exercise recovery at rates no different from consuming an equal amount of protein from milk.
For this randomized, double-blind study, 24 young, healthy men aged 20 to 28 years were recruited.
- They randomly performed resistance exercises with the dominant or non-dominant leg on a seated knee extension machine after warming up on a supine leg press machine.
- Muscle biopsies were taken from each leg and blood samples were taken after 10 minutes of rest.
- Immediately 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 for 5 hours to determine the concentrations of amino acid, insulin and glucose in the blood.
- 2nd and 3rd muscle biopsies were obtained to assess the rates of muscle protein synthesis at rest and during recovery from exercise.
The study showed that muscle protein synthesis during exercise was strongly stimulated after consumption of 30 grams of protein from potatoes.
The results of the study showed that high-quality protein from plants, including proteins from nutrient-rich sources such as potatoes, can find a place in sports nutrition.
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