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26-Feb-2020 11:03

However, as is often the case with matters of human physiology, it is just not that simple as there are recognized flaws inherent in using nitrogen balance as an indicator of protein metabolism.

Flaws which may have led to the erroneous interpretation of data from studies concluding that strength trained athletes have higher than normal protein requirements.[15,16,17] For example, a study of novice bodybuilders found them to be in positive nitrogen balance, (between 12 and 20 grams of nitrogen per day), while consuming 2.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.[15] A figure very close to the 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight informally recommended.

Which, as we will see, makes no recommendations for higher protein requirements for those regularly engaged in resistance training.

[1] Truth be told, there is little scientific consensus that consistently higher than normal intakes of protein are necessary for muscle growth and nothing in the form of peer reviewed studies that validate a need for protein supplements of any kind.[2] In this article we take a look at the science behind protein intake requirements for athletes regularly engaged in high intensity resistance exercise- what we know and what we don’t know and explore the evidence that more protein does not necessarily mean better results.

The other problem with recommending a much higher protein intake for resistance trained athletes is the fact that your body uses LESS protein as you become more experienced in weight training and increase muscle mass.

Given our bodies’ ability to survive in harsh environments, it would be naïve to think that the ability to build muscle- itself an important adaptation for survival, would be contingent on the availability of an increased supply of protein every several hours.

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Taking this into consideration, it is plausible to suggest that some increase in macronutrient consumption, protein especially, might be in order to retain lean tissue mass and maintain nitrogen balance [10,11] and it very well might be- to a small degree.

Thanks for reading and do be sure to forward this article to anyone who you think might find it to be of interest.

The belief that large and steady amounts of protein are a necessity if you want to build a sizable amount of muscle mass has been popularized for the past few decades by muscle and fitness magazines owned by companies that were also in the business of manufacturing protein supplements.

The problem with this train of thought is it doesn’t consider fully how our body works and that all of studies that usually cited in defense of higher protein intakes for athletes have focused solely on nitrogen balance as a measure of precise protein requirements, which as we will see can be problematic.

Nitrogen is a major component of amino acids and so nitrogen going in and coming out of the body have commonly been used as an indicator of protein metabolism, determining whether the body is in an anabolic or catabolic state.[13] Positive nitrogen balance is associated with increased growth and protein synthesis, (anabolism), whereas negative nitrogen balance is associated with an environment where protein breakdown exceeds protein synthesis (catabolism) as is the case of injury, illness and overtraining.

Taking this into consideration, it is plausible to suggest that some increase in macronutrient consumption, protein especially, might be in order to retain lean tissue mass and maintain nitrogen balance [10,11] and it very well might be- to a small degree.

Thanks for reading and do be sure to forward this article to anyone who you think might find it to be of interest.

The belief that large and steady amounts of protein are a necessity if you want to build a sizable amount of muscle mass has been popularized for the past few decades by muscle and fitness magazines owned by companies that were also in the business of manufacturing protein supplements.

The problem with this train of thought is it doesn’t consider fully how our body works and that all of studies that usually cited in defense of higher protein intakes for athletes have focused solely on nitrogen balance as a measure of precise protein requirements, which as we will see can be problematic.

Nitrogen is a major component of amino acids and so nitrogen going in and coming out of the body have commonly been used as an indicator of protein metabolism, determining whether the body is in an anabolic or catabolic state.[13] Positive nitrogen balance is associated with increased growth and protein synthesis, (anabolism), whereas negative nitrogen balance is associated with an environment where protein breakdown exceeds protein synthesis (catabolism) as is the case of injury, illness and overtraining.

Skeletal muscle is made of protein- stores of amino acids, (which are the molecular building blocks of protein), that act as reservoirs of energy and nitrogen that help us survive periods of disease, starvation and injury.