THE RESEARCH ON HOW MUCH YOU CAN TAKE
How much protein you can consume has been hotly debated for decades and probably will continue to be because the questions are a double edge sword based on what result a person is looking for. If you consume a lot of protein at meals/daily and workout often, you are probably seeing a lot of benefit right now. That’s great but if you have consumed a high protein diet for many years, an increased risk of disease over those who do not consume a high protein diet will manifest in your bloodwork and how you feel. This is mainly due to inflammation in the bloodstream from excess undigested proteins. Basically, the question should be broken down into two separate parts;
- “How much protein can be consumed at one time and daily for muscle gains right now?”
2.“How much protein can be consumed at one time and daily for long term health and longevity?”
There needs to be two separate questions because one group will point to studies showing that it is beneficial for losing weight and increasing muscle density to take in large amounts of protein mainly because it keeps you anabolic (state of muscle growth) 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8 others point to the studies showing long term damage by taking in high amounts of protein (USC Study 11) and saying you can only absorb maximum 30 grams of protein at a time. 9,10 and 11.
Although you can argue back and forth all day long (and a lot of people do) based on different research studies, the end desire from both camps is to digest enough protein into useable amino acids that are delivered into the bloodstream for anabolism and to reduce the disease/aging affects that long term high protein intake causes. As you will read in this article, you can do both.
There is actual research that proves you can take in high amounts of protein and still keep your blood inflammatory markers low. Some will try to argue but the facts are clear and if all you want is health and fitness results right now and not set yourself up for pain later on, this should clear things up for you.
Part of the confusion stems from the governments RDAs recommending 0.36-0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight (0.8 g/kg to 1.2-1.8 g/kg) in daily protein intake. Then you have us sports enthusiasts who recommend 1-2g/lb (2.2 to 4.4 g/kg) and this includes the sport scientists. Who is right? Check out the answer and by the way, you will like it.
A recent study examined how much whey protein (any liquid protein) we can absorb in one sitting. The research was very clear that a large amount of all your protein drinks are not being digested and in fact are causing blood inflammatory conditions.
The research shows that it takes 1.5 hours for viscous protein liquids (whey protein shake) to pass through the section of the intestines that can actually absorb it. The studies hot news is this. The maximum rate that whey protein can be absorbed is about 8-10 grams per hour. If you do the math you will discover that it would take 5 hours to absorb 50 grams of protein.
50 grams/ 10 grams per hour = 5 hours
If you look at the whole picture, the problem arises. It would take 5 hours to digest all 50 grams of protein and deliver it to the bloodstream to be used for anabolism (muscle growth). That doesn’t sound super bad but as the study showed, we have only 1.5 hours to get it done because of the transit time associated with whey (or any other) protein drink. The bottom line is that you might absorb 15 grams at best. The other 35 grams are virtually wasted.
Adding insult to injury with those 15 grams of protein your absorbing when you thought it was 50 is the same study showing that the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein is increased in the blood when you try to digest a lot of protein at once (more than a small chicken breast or 20 gram protein shake). C-reactive protein is only elevated when there is excess inflammation in the blood. Recent research suggests that people with elevated basal levels of CRP are at an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. We know for a fact that serious auto immune diseases that affect the muscles can be caused from undigested proteins and inflammation in the blood. This research showing that high amounts of protein doesn’t get digested and absorbed along with creating a higher risk of disease makes it sound like it is all bad for the high protein group. But, that was the studies results before the second phase. The reference to the study is “Oben J, Kothari SC & Anderson; ML. An open label study to determine the effects of an oral proteolytic enzyme on whey protein concentrate metabolism in healthy males JISSN 20085(10)”.
In this study, forty-one participants volunteered to have their blood and urine analyzed. They were healthy men that were lean (with BMI between 20 and 24), and between 19-35 years old. These participants were given a whey protein concentrate powder with 50 grams of protein.
The researchers looked at what happened when these guys drank a 50g serving of whey protein alone (known as the control sample) and we’ve already talked about the low absorption and inflammation damage that caused. They tested things like serum amino acid levels (the amount of amino acids circulating in the bloodstream), total nitrogen excreted and inflammatory markers (c reactive protein).
They measured serum amino acid levels before drinking the protein and at various points afterwards (30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 3 hours, 3.5 hours and 4 hours after drinking the whey protein).
To measure total nitrogen excreted, researchers also collected participants’ urine for 24 hours after drinking the whey protein. Knowing how much protein is ingested (the whey) and how much nitrogen is excreted (urine) you get a sense of the overall nitrogen balance.
Since the amount of whey ingested is the same in all cases a decrease in nitrogen excretion means a more positive nitrogen balance. So, in this case less nitrogen excretion means a situation for more muscle growth!!
With the whey alone, it took 4 hours to reach maximum total serum amino acids levels, which increased 30% from baseline (from 1.71mg/L to 2.22mg/L). This means that with 50 grams of whey you get a 30% increase in total amino acid levels after 4 hours.
Remember that this study was to test whether plant based proteolytic enzymes helped increase protein absorption. Proteolytic enzymes (in this case, Aspergillus niger and Aspergillus oryzae) are simply plant based digestive enzymes that help digest protein. The enzymes in this study were basic protease (protein digesting) and Peptidase (peptide digesting). Higher potency Proteolytic enzymes that include genetically altered protein digesting enzymes are found in the Athlete Digestive formula.
After the entire group took 50 grams of whey without any enzymes, researchers split the group up. One group drank whey along with plant enzymes.
As with drinking whey on its own, both groups had peak serum amino acid levels 4 hours afterwards. The whey and enzymes together had much higher amino acid levels after 4 hours. Remember that without any enzymes there was only a 30% increase of amino acid levels. With the enzymes, the blood amino acid levels after 4 hours were up to 127% higher depending on how many plant enzymes they took. That is seriously beneficial to muscles and anabolism. Think about it. You can get up to 127% more of the protein digested and absorbed if you take plant enzymes with your protein drinks or food. A person would have to take in 200 grams of protein (four 50g protein shakes) in order to get the same amount of amino acids delivered to the muscles as someone having only one 50gram protein serving with plant enzymes.
Another interesting finding was that less nitrogen was excreted when the whey was taken with the plant enzymes. The less nitrogen excreted means a more positive nitrogen balance, which means a more anabolic environment in the body.
The reduction in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (if high, you have a much higher risk of disease and dying young) with the group that took the plant enzymes with their protein is a huge finding. This shows that it’s not the amount of protein consumed that causes inflammation in the blood, it is the amount NOT DIGESTED. Even with 127% more protein absorbed, the C-reactive protein markers were lower in the group taking the plant enzyme digestive formula. Great news for the high protein advocates because they can take in higher amounts as long as they ensure all the protein is digested and absorbed.
From this study it’s evident that higher doses of protein are better absorbed if taken with plant Proteolytic enzymes. When you do this, you get higher amino acid levels in your blood, so that you have more available to your muscles and other tissues, which is pretty much the whole point of taking in more protein– to make amino acids available to your body.
What you eat doesn’t necessarily mean that you will absorb and have the amino acids available to you.
In the case of whey protein supplementation, thanks to the science, everyone now knows that chugging a protein shake will be poorly absorbed but if plant proeteolytic enzymes are taken, you can absorb around 300% more of the protein as amino acids in the blood and lower your inflammatory markers as well.
The bottom line is that you can have the best of both worlds. You can eat and absorb more protein now in order to get the anabolic benefits that fuel muscle health and also increase your longevity and vitality markers by lowering the inflammatory markers. Just make sure and take plant enzymes with your protein.
It is true though that not every digestive enzyme formula is as powerful as the next. Gains in Bulks “Athlete Digestive Formula” is the one multi-nutrient formula that not only has the plant enzymes protease and peptidase like the ones used in the study but it also has specialized proteolytic enzymes cultivated specifically for genetically altered and hard to digest proteins. These potent plant enzymes have university research proving they can digest the highest amount and hardest to digest proteins found in our diet. This includes Whey, Casein and Egg protein powder blends along with being able to digest genetically altered Gluten proteins from Wheat, Barley and Rye. The Athletes Digestive formula also breaks down Vegetable proteins and Casein proteins from dairy. It is also formulated with the Proteolytic enzymes to digest animal proteins even if they are processed hormone laden ones from fast food restaurants.
Remember that taking Proteolytic plant enzymes is the key no matter what product you use but if you want to fully guarantee the digestion of all proteins you might possibly eat and reduce bloating/indigestion at the highest level, the Athlete Digestive Formula is available for you.
Go to GAINSINBULK.COM to buy this formula straight from the manufacture. Gains doesn’t sell to wholesalers, stores or jobber discounters. They only sell direct to to the fitness enthusiast guaranteeing the lowest prices possible. Compare the prices of the Athlete Digestive Formula to others on the market and you will see that this one is the smallest in price and the largest in nutrient/dosage.
The Proof Is In The Pudding
1. Research clearly shows that by increasing blood levels of amino acids you increase protein synthesis in skeletal muscle. It has also been shown that you can maintain a positive nitrogen balance for extended periods of time and that nitrogen accretion will tend to continue as long as protein intake is high. Oddoye EA., Margen S. Nitrogen balance studies in humans: long-term effect of high nitrogen intake on nitrogen accretion. J Nutr 109 (3): 363-77
2. Millward, D.J. Metabolic demands for amino acids and the human dietary requirement: Millward and Rivers (1988) revisited. J. Nutr. 128: 2563S-2576S, 1998
3. Fern EB, Bielinski RN, Schutz Y. Effects of exaggerated amino acid and protein supply in man. Experientia 1991 Feb 15;47(2):168-72
4. Dragan, GI., Vasiliu A., Georgescu E. Effect of increased supply of protein on elite weight-lifters. In:Milk Protein T.E. Galesloot and B.J. Tinbergen (Eds.). Wageningen The Netherlands: Pudoc, 1985, pp. 99-103
5. Campbell B, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2007 Sep 26;4:8.
6. Tipton KD, Wolfe RR. Protein and amino acids for athletes. J Sports Sci. 2004 Jan;22(1):65-79.
7. 11. Arnal MA, et al. Protein feeding pattern does not affect protein retention in young women. J Nutr. 2000 Jul;130(7):1700-4.
“In a 14-day trial, Arnal and colleagues found no difference in fat-free mass or nitrogen retention between consuming 79% of the day’s protein needs (roughly 54 g) in one meal, versus the same amount spread across four meals”.
8. Adibi, S. A., & Mercer, D. W. (1973). Protein digestion in human intestine as reflected in luminal, mucosal, and plasma amino acid concentrations after meals. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 52(7), 1586.
9. Moore DR, et al. Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):161-8. “The maximal anabolic effect of a single protein dose is limited to 20 grams, citing recent work by Moore and colleagues. In this study’s 4-hour post-exercise test period, 40 g protein did not elicit a greater anabolic response than 20 g.
10. Symons TB, et al. A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Sep;109(9):1582-6. “Symons compared the 5-hour response of 30 g of lean beef protein with a large serving containing 90 g protein. The smaller serving increased protein synthesis by approximately 50%, and the larger serving caused no further increase in protein synthesis, despite being triple the dose. The researchers concluded that the ingestion of more than 30 g protein in a single meal does not further enhance muscle protein synthesis”.
11. Low Protein Intake Is Associated with a Major Reduction in IGF-1, Cancer, and Overall Mortality. Published: March 4, 2014 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2014.02.006
Here is the listing again of the main study quoted in this article; Oben J, Kothari SC & Anderson; ML. An open label study to determine the effects of an oral proteolytic enzyme on whey protein concentrate metabolism in healthy males JISSN 20085(10)”.