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Deep Dive: Evaluating the relationship between training status and optimal protein intake

According to this recent meta-analysis, whether or not more protein is better for lean body mass may come down to resistance training status.

Study under review: Dose-response relationship between protein intake and muscle mass increase: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Introduction

Beyond strength and looking good, having more muscle is associated with improved quality of life[1] and reduced all-cause mortality[2], especially in the context of aging. Muscle tissues are also associated with better blood sugar control[3], so low muscle mass is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes[4] and age-related physical decline[5].

One way to help maintain or boost muscle is by ensuring adequate protein intake. But how much is “enough,” exactly? Many studies have attempted to answer this question. Based on nitrogen balance studies, your body needs, on average, 0.66 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day (g/kg BW/d) to not break down muscles and other tissues for amino acids. Based on this data, the recommended intake is at least 0.83 g/kg BW/day. However, a newer technique called the indicator of amino acid oxidation method[6] (IAAO), suggests that this number could significantly underestimate the actual requirements. Older adults may need up to 1.29 g/kg BW/day. For bodybuilders, the requirements [7]could be up to 2.2 g/kg BW/day.

What was studied?

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What were the findings?

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The bigger picture

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Frequently asked questions

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What should I know?

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