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Front Nutr. 2019 Mar 6;6:17. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00017. eCollection 2019.

The Impact of Pre-sleep Protein Ingestion on the Skeletal Muscle Adaptive Response to Exercise in Humans: An Update.

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Department of Human Biology, NUTRIM School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), Maastricht, Netherlands.


This review provides an update on recent research assessing the effect of pre-sleep protein ingestion on muscle protein synthesis rates during overnight sleep and the skeletal muscle adaptive response to exercise training. Protein ingested prior to sleep is effectively digested and absorbed during overnight sleep, thereby increasing overnight muscle protein synthesis rates. Protein consumption prior to sleep does not appear to reduce appetite during breakfast the following day and does not change resting energy expenditure. When applied over a prolonged period of resistance-type exercise training, pre-sleep protein supplementation has a beneficial effect on the increase in muscle mass and strength. Protein ingestion before sleep is hypothesized to represent an effective nutritional strategy to preserve muscle mass in the elderly, especially when combined with physical activity or muscle contraction by means of neuromuscular electrical stimulation. In conclusion, protein ingestion prior to sleep is an effective interventional strategy to increase muscle protein synthesis rates during overnight sleep and can be applied to support the skeletal muscle adaptive response to resistance-type exercise training.


aging; amino acids; exercise; protein; satiety

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