This study tests the hypotheses that (a) a mixture of whey protein, amino acids (AA), and carbohydrates (CHO) stimulates net muscle protein synthesis to a greater extent than isoenergetic CHO alone after resistance exercise; and (b) that the stimulatory effect of a protein, AA, and CHO mixture will last beyond the 1 st hour after intake. Eight subjects participated in 2 trials. In one (PAAC), they ingested 77.4 g CHO, 17.5 g whey protein, and 4.9 g AA 1 hr after resistance exercise. In the other (CON), 100 g CHO was ingested instead. They received a primed constant infusion of L-[2H5]-phenylalanine, and samples from femoral artery and vein, and biopsies from vastus lateralis were obtained. The area under the curve for net uptake of phenylalanine into muscle above pre-drink value was 128 ±42 mg • leg-1 (PAAC) versus 32 ± 10 mg - leg-1 (CON) for the 3 hr after the drink (p = .04). The net protein balance response to the mixture consisted of two components, one rapid immediate response, and a smaller delayed response about 90 min after drink, whereas in CON only a small delayed response was seen. We conclude that after resistance exercise, a mixture of whey protein, AA, and CHO stimulated muscle protein synthesis to a greater extent than isoenergetic CHO alone. Further, compared to previously reported findings, the addition of protein to an AA + CHO mixture seems to extend the anabolic effect.
The authors are with the Metabolism Unit in the Department of Surgery at the Shriners Hospitals for Children/Galveston, University of Texas Medical Branch, 815 Market St., Galveston, TX 77550.