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Enhanced Muscle Mass
Proteins are crucial for muscle growth and repair due to their role in protein synthesis. According to a review by Cermak, Res, & de Groot (2012), protein supplementation can enhance muscle mass and strength during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in healthy adults. Protein powders provide an easy and convenient way to ensure that the body gets the necessary quantity of this macronutrient to facilitate muscle growth.
Muscle Protein Synthesis
The main biological process involved here is Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS), which is the rebuilding of muscle tissue at the cellular level. A study by Phillips, Hartman, & Wilkinson (2005) suggests that post-exercise protein consumption increases muscle protein synthesis, which leads to muscle hypertrophy. In simple terms, consuming protein helps repair the exercise-induced damage to muscle fibers, promoting their growth.
A type of protein found commonly in protein powders is whey protein. As per a study by West, Burd, Coffey, et al. (2011), whey protein supplementation stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than other types of proteins, due to its rapid digestion and absorption, and its high content of leucine, a branched-chain amino acid that directly stimulates MPS.
Moreover, the timing of protein intake may influence its effectiveness on muscle development. A meta-analysis by Schoenfeld, Aragon, & Krieger (2013) concluded that consuming protein within a window of approximately 1-2 hours post-workout can maximize muscle protein synthesis.
However, it’s crucial to remember that protein powder alone doesn’t guarantee muscle growth. A balanced diet, proper training, and sufficient rest are equally important. A review by Morton, McGlory, & Phillips (2018) recommends combining protein supplementation with regular resistance exercise for optimum muscle protein synthesis and, thus, muscle growth. The authors also highlight the importance of spreading protein intake throughout the day to maximize its effects on MPS.