All About Protein Absorption: This Is How You Maximize Muscle Protein Synthesis For Lean Muscle

There have been several claims that the body can absorb only a certain amount of protein per meal to enhance lean muscle tissue. Many popular magazines and books recommend an intake of 30-40g of protein per serving spread over 5-8 meals for optimal results.

However, Brad Schoenfeld’s study cited a spike in Muscle Protein Synthesis when adults consumed 20 – 25gms of high-quality protein. Further, if the amino acids are available in excess our body oxides the freely available Amino Acids to produce energy to perform actions.  Also, note that these findings were subject to fast disgesting proteins without incorporating other macronutrients.

Consumption of slower acting proteins sources, especially when taken with other macronutrients would delay the absorption and enhance the utilization of the amino acids.

Read the full article to know about the formula to determine your protein intake for muscle tissue building.

1. Protein Digestion & Absorption: Ever Wondered What Happens When You Consume Protein?


Peptide Bonds
Peptide Bonds In Amino Acid

Protein degradation occurs in the stomach. The stomach releases a hormone, pepsin which reacts with the polypeptide bonds and reduces stomach’s content to amino acids.  Then Amino acids move through the small intestine’s wall into the blood and transported to the liver for metabolism.

The liver is at the heart of protein metabolism. It has both anabolic and catabolic functions. The liver synthesizes the amino acids into large protein structures that circulate through the body performing a huge variety of tasks including stimulating the production of other proteins.

The subjects participating in one research carried out by Areta Et Al, consumed only Whey protein during their post workouts window. The study showed that it took 1 hour to digest 10 gms of whey protein. At this rate, it would take 2 hours to completely absorb a 20g dose of whey.  Thus, the body can only absorb a certain amount of protein before its too late.

For example, a cooked egg has an absorption rate of 3 gms per hour, meaning complete absorption of 20g of omelet would take 7 hours. This increases the attenuation of the muscle protein.

Muscle Protein Synthesis increases as the amino acids are rapidly available.  This leads to rapid oxidation of the freely available amino acids since the amino acids can’t be stored resulting in lower net protein balance. However, this isn’t the same case with the slow digesting protein sources.

Furthermore, it is speculated that the digestion of  Protein and absorption of Amino Acids is delayed in individuals eating large portions of mixed meals of whole protein along with carbohydrates and dietary fats compared to liquid proteins. Although, there are chances of delay in the release of amino acids into the blood.


Add a generous amount of carbs to reduce the proteolysis. This will slow down the amino acid utilization and body would receive amino acids continuously.

Determining An Individuals Protein Requirements

Protein requirements vary from person to person depending upon various factors like total lean mass, activity levels, type of exercises performed etc.

Total Lean Mass: Individuals with higher muscle mass would require more protein to maintain musculature and reduce the muscle protein break down.

Activity Levels: Individual protein requirements would vary depending upon the level of activities performed. Evidence shows that the more muscle mass activated during a workout the more would be the demand for Amino Acids.

Exercises Performed: One study shows that the individuals performing the whole body exercises requirement more amino acids than those who performed single muscle variations.

Furthermore, evidence indicates consuming 1.6g of protein daily helps in maximizing resistance trained gains in terms of Muscle Size and Strength i.e., during non-dieting phases.

It is, therefore, a relatively simple and elegant solution to consume protein at a target intake of 0.4 g/kg/meal across a minimum of four meals in order to reach a minimum of 1.6 g/kg/day – if indeed the primary goal is to build muscle. Using the upper CI daily intake of 2.2 g/kg/day over the same four meals would necessitate a maximum
of 0.55 g/kg/meal. This tactic would apply what is currently known to maximize acute anabolic responses as well as chronic anabolic adaptations.




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