Sports Medicine

, Volume 46, Issue 9, pp 1205–1212 | Cite as

What is the Optimal Amount of Protein to Support Post-Exercise Skeletal Muscle Reconditioning in the Older Adult?

  • Tyler A. Churchward-Venne
  • Andrew M. Holwerda
  • Stuart M. Phillips
  • Luc J. C. van Loon
Current Opinion


Hyperaminoacidemia following protein ingestion enhances the anabolic effect of resistance-type exercise by increasing the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and attenuating the exercise-mediated increase in muscle protein breakdown rates. Although factors such as the source of protein ingested and the timing of intake relative to exercise can impact post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rates, the amount of protein ingested after exercise appears to be the key nutritional factor dictating the magnitude of the muscle protein synthetic response during post-exercise recovery. In younger adults, muscle protein synthesis rates after resistance-type exercise respond in a dose-dependent manner to ingested protein and are maximally stimulated following ingestion of ~20 g of protein. In contrast to younger adults, older adults are less sensitive to smaller doses of ingested protein (less than ~20 g) after exercise, as evidenced by an attenuated increase in muscle protein synthesis rates during post-exercise recovery. However, older muscle appears to retain the capacity to display a robust stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in response to the ingestion of greater doses of protein (~40 g), and such an amount may be required for older adults to achieve a robust stimulation of muscle protein synthesis during post-exercise recovery. The aim of this article is to discuss the current state of evidence regarding the dose-dependent relationship between dietary protein ingestion and changes in skeletal muscle protein synthesis during recovery from resistance-type exercise in older adults. We provide recommendations on the amount of protein that may be required to maximize skeletal muscle reconditioning in response to resistance-type exercise in older adults.


Muscle Protein Synthesis Skeletal Muscle Protein Synthesis Muscle Protein Synthesis Rate Anabolic Resistance Stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Dr. Oliver Witard and Dr. Kevin Tipton for graciously sharing the raw FSR data from their published work [8], presented in Table 1.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This article was written according to the ethical standards of scientific writing and publishing.


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of interest

Tyler A. Churchward-Venne, Andrew M. Holwerda, Stuart M. Phillips, and Luc J.C. van Loon have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the contents of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tyler A. Churchward-Venne
    • 1
  • Andrew M. Holwerda
    • 1
  • Stuart M. Phillips
    • 2
  • Luc J. C. van Loon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Movement Sciences, NUTRIM School for Nutrition and Translational Research in MetabolismMaastricht University Medical Centre+ (MUMC+)MaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of KinesiologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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