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Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;57(3-4):219-20. doi: 10.1159/000321736. Epub 2010 Dec 2.

Short report: Relationship between quality protein, lean mass and bone health.

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Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, USA.



Quality protein intake, and distribution of that protein, could play an important role with lean mass (LM), bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mineral content (BMC). Research has demonstrated that muscle protein synthesis is maximally stimulated at approximately 10 g of essential amino acids (EAA)/meal. This study sought to determine the relationship between the amount of quality protein consumed and the amount of times the approximately 10 g EAA threshold was reached at a meal, with respect to LM, BMD and BMC.


Twenty-seven subjects participated in this study. EAA intake was determined from a 3-day food record, and amino acid profiling was determined using a computer program (USDA Database, release 22). LM, BMD and BMC were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Quality protein was defined as the ratio of EAA to total dietary protein. Data were analyzed using Pearson partial coefficient correlations, controlling for body mass, with an α-level of 0.05.


Quality protein consumed in a 24-hour period and the amount of times reaching the EAA threshold per day was positively associated with LM, BMD and BMC, and had an inverse relationship with body fat percentage.


Both quality protein intake and frequency are positively associated with favorable body composition and bone health.

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