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How Protein Builds Muscle (No Broscience) – Thomas DeLauer
Once protein is converted to individual amino acids, they are absorbed into the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract and head into the bodies main processor, the liver (travel from your GI tract to your liver)
Your DNA acts as a site foreman: it calls up specific amino acids and directs their deployment. Your muscle repair team uses the fresh supply of aminos to weave myofibrils (bundles of protein filaments), which are critical to muscle contraction
Your DNA acts as a construction foreman: it calls up specific amino acids, directs their deployment, and assigns their roles
The ‘muscle fiber work crew’ uses the supply of amino acids to weave myofibrils; these are bundles of the protein filaments myosin and actin, which are critical to muscle contraction
When muscles undergo intense exercise, as from resistance training, there is trauma to the muscle fibers that is referred to as muscle injury or damage
This disruption to muscle cell organelles activates satellite cells, which are located on the outside of the muscle fibers between the basal lamina (basement membrane) and the plasma membrane (sarcolemma) of muscles fibers to proliferate to the injury site
Carbohydrates and fats are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen – in contrast, protein also contains nitrogen, so the nitrogen that we get through our diet has to come from protein
As protein is broken down by the body, most of the protein derived nitrogen has to be excreted in the urine or it would accumulate and become toxic
It’s fairly easy to measure nitrogen in food and urine – by doing so, we can calculate a balance:
nitrogen balance = nitrogen intake – nitrogen excretion
If nitrogen intake is bigger than nitrogen excretion, we are in a positive nitrogen balance
This indicates that your body stores more protein than it’s losing and provides a general view that the body is in an anabolic or catabolic state
Synthesis vs Breakdown of Protein
Muscle protein synthesis, this means the creation of new muscle tissue from amino acids
The opposite of this process is called muscle protein breakdown, sometimes referred to as muscle proteolysis or muscle degradation – breakdown of skeletal muscle proteins to liberate amino acids
If muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown, the wall will become larger (your muscles are growing)
If muscle protein breakdown exceeds muscle protein synthesis, the wall is shrinking (you’re losing muscle mass)
The sum of these two processes determines your net balance
Exercise has a profound effect on muscle growth, which can occur only if muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown; there must be a positive muscle protein balance
How Much Protein Do You Need & Anabolic Window
A study published in the Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology found that muscle protein synthesis is elevated in humans by 50% at 4 hours following a bout of heavy resistance training, and by 109% at 24 hours following training.
Optimal Protein Intake
This study, published in The Journal of Applied Physiology, found no differences in muscle mass or strength gains in bodybuilders (training 1.5 hours per day, 6 days per week) consuming either 0.61g/lb or 1.19g/lb over a 4-week period – based on nitrogen balance data, the authors recommended 0.75g/lb
And lastly, in a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers looked at cutting weightlifters and they still found 0.73g/lb was sufficient to maintain lean body mass