Not a study here, but our own Dr Lonnie Lowery posted this in a past article:
“Everyone wants to know what the optimal dose of protein is,” said Lowery. “How much can you digest at once? Well, most people will say about 30 grams. But that’s usually based on a plausibility argument based around how much protein you should eat in a day broken down over six meals. Now we may know the actual answer to that question based on a new study.”
This year, Tarnopolsky’s lab did a study (2) to examine the effect of how different dosages of egg protein powder affected protein synthesis rates. Researchers had healthy men who had previous weight training experience perform intense resistance exercise and consume an egg protein drink that contained either 5, 10, 20, or 40 grams of protein.
Basically, Lowery explained that researchers found that increasing protein intake stimulated protein synthesis in a dose dependent manner up to 20 grams of protein, after which there was no further increase in protein synthesis. In other words, forty grams didn’t stimulate protein synthesis greater than 20 grams.
Researchers speculated that consuming 20 grams of protein five or six times daily would be the optimal measure to increase anabolism and muscle mass.
“Now,” says Lowery, “You may still want to eat more than that for volume purposes since you’ve got to eat something, but the answer to the question is 20 grams… at least with egg protein. And I bet we see different proteins tested over the next year.”
I asked Dr. Lowery how this new info is causing him to alter his own protein intake.
“I’ve actually cut back on the amount of protein I eat at any given time. I just make sure I spike it with leucine. I usually put a scoop and a half, about 7 or 8 grams, of leucine in just 20 grams of protein. But I’ve stopped sucking down 50 or 60 grams of protein at a time. I just don’t do that anymore; I don’t think it has that much benefit. Plus this prevents me from becoming a protein oxidizer or burner.”
I asked if this changed his total protein intake per day.
“For me, not that much really. Twenty to thirty grams every few hours, spiked with leucine. I’m getting between 180 and 210 grams per day.”
“Which brings me to another point,” continued the Doc. "There may be benefits to separating protein/leucine boluses.
Lowery was referring to the “protein pulse” approach that Biotest has been studying for some time now.
“There were a few French researchers ? the name I remember is El-Khoury ? who found about a 15% improvement in anabolism by taking a ‘pulse feeding’ approach to protein intake.”
Essentially, while traditional dogma has urged lifters to keep a steady-state flow of amino acids in the blood stream, the new thinking indicates that it might be best to let amino acid levels fall and then introduce a protein bolus.