Does Protein Distribution Effect Muscle Mass?

When it concerns the accretion of brand-new muscle mass, protein consumption is among the main variables to think about. Typical conversations vary from just how much protein, protein source and bioavailability, refractory durations, and protein circulation.


This post will provide a short distillation of the presently readily available proof and deal clear and succinct suggestions to enhance protein circulation throughout the day and optimize your outcomes.



Protein’s Function in the Body’s Functions

Protein serves numerous functions in the body, consisting of however not restricted to development and upkeep of tissue,1 catalyze biochemical responses,2 healing from injury,3 and regular immune function.4


However of specific interest is its function in the synthesis of skeletal muscle. Muscle protein synthesis (MPS)5 is the procedure by which our bodies manufacture brand-new muscle tissue. It’s a main variable that galvanizes tissue improvement.


Muscle protein breakdown (MPB)6 is an oppositional result where muscle proteins break down. This result happens through autophagy, and calpain, and the ubiquitin-proteasome systems.6


The balance in between these 2 procedures figured out whether a person will get, preserve, or lose muscle mass.


  • When the rate of MPS surpasses, MPB brand-new muscle is accumulated.
  • When MPB surpasses MPS, muscle loss is observed.


Enhance Muscle Mass Gains

A 2019 paper7 by Iraki et al. recognized suggestions for natural bodybuilders in the offseason.


The authors repeat what the bigger body of proof recommends: overall protein consumption is a more considerable identifying consider establishing brand-new muscle mass than protein circulation.


Presently, the research study recommends a protein consumption of 1.6-2.2 g/kg each day suffices to enhance muscular gains.7


Nevertheless, when protein, calories, and any resistance workout procedure are standardized, we still see a small advantage when protein circulation is enhanced throughout the day.



Among the more apparent factors for this is the refractory duration of MPS. The leucine limit explains the quantity of leucine needed within a protein feeding to promote MPS8 maximally.


Does Protein Distribution Effect Muscle Mass? - Fitness, immune system, resistance training, protein, hypertrophy, Elite Programming, leucine, protein synthesis, bodybuilder, calorie burning, rebuilding, The Recovery Guide

A : modifications in muscle protein synthesis (MPS) and muscle protein breakdown (MPB) in action to feeding (i.e., amino acids). B : modifications in MPS and MPB in action to resistance workout and feeding. Persistent application of these anabolic stimuli, as in B , leads to muscle hypertrophy8.


Protein quality and bioavailability aren’t the topics of this post, however usually, what’s observed is animal-based protein appears to be remarkable to plant-based proteins most of the times.


However, several non-animal-based protein sources are high quality. If you’re interested in diving into this topic, you can get started by reading this paper, and this one, and this one. But I digress.


Assuming a sufficient quantity of protein is consumed, we maximize the MPS response (roughly 20-40 g). This response comes with what’s known as the “muscle full effect,” as described by Schoenfeld et al. in his 2018 paper.9


Essentially, once MPS is maximally stimulated, there is a refractory period by which MPS can’t be maximally stimulated again.


A 2017 paper10 by Kirksick, et al. found “Ingesting a 20-40 g protein dose (0.25-0.40 g/kg body mass/dose) of a high-quality source every three to 4 h appears to most favorably affect MPS rates when compared to other dietary patterns and is associated with improved body composition and performance outcomes.”10


So does protein distribution affect the accretion of muscle mass? Yes, it does, however the effect is small. Nevertheless, I would caution against assuming that small is synonymous with not meaningful. Its value is relative to the individual and their goals.


Hypothetically speaking, a 1% increase in hypertrophy for an elite bodybuilder may be the difference between 1st and 5th place.


For the average individual, the extra effort may not be worth the relatively small result on results. It’s up to each private to identify whether the financial investment deserves it. All the best!



1. Bosse JD, Dixon BM. “Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Sep 8;9(1):42.

2. Cooper GM. “The Central Role of Enzymes as Biological Catalysts.” The Cell: A Molecular Method. Second edition. Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates; 2000.

3. Yeung SE, Hilkewich L, Gillis C, Heine JA, Fenton TR. “Protein intakes are associated with reduced length of stay: a comparison between Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) and conventional care after elective colorectal surgery.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jul; 106(1): 44-51.

4. Li P, Yin YL, Li D, Kim SW, Wu G. “Amino acids and immune function.” Br J Nutr. 2007 Aug; 98(2): 237-52.

5. P. J. Atherton and K. Smith, “Muscle protein synthesis in response to nutrition and exercise.” The Journal of Physiology, Vol 59-.5 1049-57.

6. Kevin D. Tipton, D. Lee Hamilton, Iain J. Gallagher, “Assessing the Role of Muscle Protein Breakdown in Response to Nutrition and Exercise in Humans.” Sports Medication (Aukland, N. Z.). Vol 48, 2018. Suppl 1, 53-64.

7. Juma Iraki, Peter Fitschen, Sergio Espinar, and Eric Helms, “Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review.” Sports (Basel, Switzerland.), Vol. 7.7 154, 26 Jun 2019.

8. Burd NA, Tang JE, Moore DR, Phillips SM. “Exercise training and protein metabolism: influences of contraction, protein intake, and sex-based differences.” J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009 May;106(5):1692-701.

9. Schoenfeld, B.J., Aragon, A.A. “How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 10 (2018).

10. Kerksick CM, Arent S, Schoenfeld BJ, Stout JR, Campbell B, Wilborn CD, Taylor L, Kalman D, Smith-Ryan AE, Kreider RB, Willoughby D, Arciero PJ, VanDusseldorp TA, Ormsbee MJ, Wildman R, Greenwood M, Ziegenfuss TN, Aragon AA, Antonio J. “International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Aug 29;14:33.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.