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Nutr Metab (Lond). 2013 Jan 25;10(1):15. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-10-15.

Carbohydrate co-ingestion with protein does not further augment post-prandial muscle protein accretion in older men.

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Department of Human Movement Sciences, Maastricht University Medical Centre, PO Box 616, Maastricht, MD, 6200, The Netherlands.



A blunted muscle protein synthetic response to protein ingestion may contribute to the age related loss of muscle tissue. We hypothesized that the greater endogenous insulin release following co-ingestion of carbohydrate facilitates post-prandial muscle protein accretion after ingesting a meal-like bolus of protein in older males.


Twenty-four healthy older men (75±1 y) were randomly assigned to ingest 20 g intrinsically L-[1-13C] phenylalanine-labeled casein protein with (PRO-CHO) or without (PRO) 40 g carbohydrate. Ingestion of specifically produced intrinsically L-[1-13C] phenylalanine labeled protein allowed us to assess post-prandial incorporation of dietary protein derived amino acids into muscle protein. Blood samples were collected at regular intervals, with muscle biopsies being obtained prior to and 2 and 6 h after protein ingestion.


Plasma glucose and insulin concentrations showed a greater increase in PRO-CHO compared with PRO (P<0.001). Muscle protein-bound L-[1-13C] phenylalanine enrichments tended to increase to a greater extent in PRO-CHO compared with PRO during the first 2 h after protein ingestion (0.0072±0.0013 vs 0.0046±0.010 MPE, respectively; P=0.13). However, 6 h after protein ingestion, differences in muscle protein-bound L-[1-13C] phenylalanine enrichments were no longer observed between experiments (0.0213±0.0024 vs 0.0185±0.0010 MPE, respectively; P=0.30).


This study shows that carbohydrate ingestion may accelerate, but does not further augment post-prandial incorporation of dietary protein derived amino acids into muscle protein in healthy elderly men.

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