How many of us have heard some ‘Bro’ in the gym profess that you can only absorb 30 or 40g protein in one go, and that it is futile consuming more than that per serving. Well, this is where ‘Broscience’ can be a pain, because actually this ‘Bro’ wouldn’t be a million miles away from the truth with what he’s saying, but despite being close to getting the facts right they have actually failed to consider the key message behind this.
In actual fact, according to Beelan, (2010), the issue isn’t with how much protein we can ‘absorb’ per serving, but rather how much protein is needed to ‘stimulate’ maximal muscle growth. It seems that there is an optimal amount of protein needed to stimulate muscle growth, and this figure is 20-25g per serving. There is no more actual muscle synthesis stimulated through consuming more than this in one go, so irrespective of whether you consume 25 or 50g of protein after the gym, muscle synthesis will only ever reach a certain point at that time. The excess protein will be stored in the amino acid pool, used to preserve intestinal integrity, serve as an energy source, or be excreted in faeces.
Beelen, M., Burke, L, M., Gibala, M, U., & van Loon, L, J. (2010). Nutritional strategies to promote post exercise recovery. International Journal of Sport Nutrition Exercise Metabolism. 20: 515-532.