Protein supplementation increases muscle mass – but there’s a catch

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protein-builds-muscle(NaturalHealth365)  You’ve probably heard that protein is necessary for building muscle. But you may wonder, does consuming extra protein really build muscle, and if so, how?

That’s what a recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine set out to determine.

The researchers found that protein can indeed increase muscle – but there’s a catch.

While protein builds muscle, there is more to the story, study finds

To understand the study findings, let’s review how protein works to build muscle.  Protein is a vital macronutrient for any healthy diet since muscles require daily protein intake to rebuild themselves.  Getting enough protein also helps increase your bone density.

This is because muscles are composed of myosin and actin protein filaments, which produce muscle contractions by interacting with each other.  These protein filaments would eventually become damaged from the constant stress of movement if they didn’t receive a daily supply of protein.

Muscle protein turnover is a constant process involving the building and degrading muscle fibers.  So to build more muscle mass than it loses, your body needs to get adequate dietary protein.  But that’s not all.  It also needs to be in an anabolic state.

So if you’re looking to increase your muscle mass and size, protein intake can help.  However, there’s another critical piece to the puzzle.

What’s the best way to maximize muscle-building?

The recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine sought to prove whether protein supplementation boosts muscle mass and strength.  The researchers found that protein supplementation significantly increased muscle size and strength, but only alongside resistance exercise training.

And this makes sense since resistance is one of the most powerful ways to trigger an anabolic state, which is essential to building muscle.  Muscle fibers become damaged when they undergo mechanical resistance, such as weightlifting.  This is a good thing, as your body responds by building more muscle.

So when you put your muscles under stress, it helps them get bigger and stronger – as long as you have enough protein intake.  And augmenting your dietary intake with protein supplementation can improve muscle-building results.

How much protein do you need to build muscle?

So how much extra protein is necessary to build muscle mass when combined with exercise training?  Experts disagree, but the amount needed depends on factors like age, weight, and activity level.  But if you’re doing athletic training, a good guideline is about 1.2-1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

You also need to make sure you’re getting high-quality protein.  Protein is made up of twenty amino acids, nine of which your body can’t make on its own.  This means you need to consume them in your diet.  Animal proteins contain all nine, yet you can also get them from a carefully planned plant-based diet.

So if you’re looking to build muscle, it’s worth looking into protein supplementation to help you get results.  But remember, it will only make a difference when combined with resistance exercise.

Sources for this article include:

LiveScience
BJSM.BMJ.com
Frontiersin.org


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