Monday, June 13, 2016

40g Casein Build Lean Muscle Overnight: 27% Elevated MPS Even W/Out Training (30% W/ Ex) - And That in 70-Y+ Olds!

Pre-bed protein (meal or shake) is always a good idea, no matter if you're young or old, if you work out in the PM or not - you don't want to miss the increased overnight protein synthesis.
Gaining muscle over night? No news! You will probably remember the two previous articles on "pre-bed protein ingestion", i.e. "12-Week Study: 25g Bed-Time Protein Almost Doubles Size & Increases Strength Gains" (read it) and "3.2kg of Lean Mass Over Night W/ 40g of Slow Digesting Protein 30min Before Bed!? Over One Year, a Positive Nitrogen Balance and +20% FSR Could Make It Happen!" (read it), but still! With this being the first study to show that even (on average) 71-year-olds can "build muscle overnight" with nothing but 40g of casein being ingested ~30 minutes before they went to bed, it is probably the most impressive of the previously referenced studies.
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There is, allegedly, no long-term data (=actual gains) such as the increase in lean mass after 6-12 weeks, but with this study, which was actually designed to test the hypothesis that...
"[...] that physical activity can augment the impact of presleep protein ingestion on overnight muscle protein synthesis [in] 23 older men (71 6 1 y) who ingested 40 g casein protein intrinsically labeled with L-[1-13C]-phenylalanine and L-[1-13C]-leucine before going to sleep with (PRO+EX8; n = 11) or without (PRO; n = 12) a bout of physical activity being performed earlier in the evening" (Holwerda. 2016),
the study results (that were, by the way, only marginally in line with the scientists hypothesis from the previously cited introduction) exceed my personal expectations, significantly.
Figure 1: Overnight myofibrillar protein FSRs after PRO+EX (n = 11) or PRO (n = 12) presleep treatment in older men as calculated with L-[ring-2H5]-phenylalanine (A) or L-[1-13C]-leucine (B) as tracer. Values are means 6 SEMs. Data were analyzed with an unpaired Student s t test. *Different from PRO, P , 0.01. FSR, fractional synthetic rate; PRO, 40 g protein in rested state; PRO+EX, 40 g protein after resistance-type exercise (Holwerda. 2016)
Before we start discussing the results, though, let's take a look at what the authors of the study actually did: After their subjects had ingested the 40g of labelled casein (I cannot tell if that was micellar casein, but I can tell you that the scientists got it on the free market and that it was produced by Dr. Oetker, Germans and countrymen of the Dutch scientists will know the company), the authors measured the subjects' overnight protein digestion and absorption kinetics and myofibrillar protein synthesis rates by combining primed, continuous infusions of L-[ring-2H5]-phenylalanine, L-[1-13C]-leucine, and L-[ring-2H2]-tyrosine with the ingestion of intrinsically labeled casein protein.
Suggested Read for everyone w/ parents and grandparents: Creatine Will Protect Grandpa's Muscle Even if He Doesn't Train!? More Reasons "E-veryone" Could Take Creatine | more
What did the workouts look like? As you may have gathered by now only the PRO+EX group worked out before going to sleep at the lab. Here's what they did (keep in mind: the average age was 70 years!): "The physical activity protocol consisted of 60 min of moderate-intensity, lower-body, resistance-type exercise. After 15 min of self-paced cycling at 100 W with a cadence of 60–80 rpm, subjects performed 6 sets of 10 repetitions on the horizontal leg press machine (Technogym BV) and 6 sets of 10 repetitions on the leg extension machine (Technogym BV). The first 2 sets of both exercises were performed at 55% and 65% 1RM, respectively, and sets 3–6 were performed at 75% 1RM. Subjects were allowed to rest for 2 min between all sets" (Holwerda. 2016).
As the results in Figures 1-2 clearly indicate, the relatively high amount of protein ingested before sleep was
  • normally digested and absorbed, with 54% ± 2% of the protein-derived amino acids appearing in the circulation throughout overnight sleep, and
  • significantly boosted the overnight myofibrillar protein synthesis rates
In that, the increase in MPS was +31% (0.058% ± 0.002%/h compared with 0.044% ± 0.003%/h; P < 0.01; based on L-[ring-2H5]-phenylalanine) with exercise and at least +27% (0.074% ± 0.004%/h compared with 0.058% ± 0.003%/h; P < 0.01; based on L-[1-13C]-leucine) without exercise.
Figure 2: Eventually, it's the net balance that counts and this is where training provided a non-significant, but potentially still relevant difference (see Figure 3 for tracer incorporation) in the elderly subjects of the study at hand (Holwerda. 2016).
Accordingly, more dietary protein-derived amino acids were eventually incorporated into de novo myofibrillar protein (~new muscle mass) during overnight sleep in the PRO+EX than in PRO treatment (0.042 ± 0.002 compared with 0.033 ± 0.002 mole percent excess; P < 0.05).

This difference between the actual amount of the traced amino acids that ended up in the muscle, was not just statistically significant (see Figure 3, in bottom line). The 10% vs. 20% difference between the PRO and the PRO-EX group is also of potential practical relevance as it increased from - over weeks the muscle gains in the PRO-EX group can thus be expected to be significantly larger. Damas et al. (2016) have, after all, been able to show only recently that the (logical) correlation between acute increases in protein synthesis and lean muscle gains that has previously been doubted does exist - if you account for muscle damage (which is reduced after 1-3 weeks of training).
Figure 3: The incorporation of traced aminos shows that the advantage of working out before sleep may matter.
Bottom line: While working out pre-bed may be best, Holwerda et al. have proven that granny & grandpa will unquestionably benefit from consuming 40g of slow-digesting casein protein (probably micellar casein) 30 minutes before going to bed - "post-workout", or not.

With additional exercise, the net protein accrual, i.e. the actually relevant difference between the amount of amino acids that is eventually incorporated into the muscle and not broken down will be 20% higher (Figure 3), though - a stat. sign. and potentially relevant difference, neither your grand parents, nor you should miss. So what? Train - hit the weights at 2-5 (max!) times a week and inspire the rest of your family to do the same | Comment on Facebook!
  • Damas, Felipe, et al. "Resistance training‐induced changes in integrated myofibrillar protein synthesis are related to hypertrophy only after attenuation of muscle damage." The Journal of physiology (2016). Read the SuppVersity article about this study.
  • Holwerda. "Physical Activity Performed in the Evening Increases the Overnight Muscle Protein Synthetic Response to Presleep Protein Ingestion in Older Men." First published June 8, 2016, doi: 10.3945/​jn.116.230086 J. Nutr. jn230086.