Protein metabolism during intensive physical training in the young adult

Am J Clin Nutr. 1975 Jan;28(1):29-35. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/28.1.29.


Two groups of men consumed two levels of protein (1.4 and 2.8 g/kg body weight) during a 40-day experimental period. Physical activity and the sweat rates were fairly high during the entire experimental phase. Urinary nitrogen excretions remained fairly constant for both groups during the training and heavy physical activity periods. Nitrogen balances were positive exclusive or inclusive of the daily sweat nitrogen losses showing nitrogen retention. The essentially unchanged blood hemoglobin and serum protein levels showed that the control group was receiving an adequate protein intake to maintain nitrogen equilibrium, under conditions of fairly heavy physical acitvity. Although others may have suggested some compensatory reductions in the urinary excretion of nitrogen under conditions of profuse sweating, our data have not supported these conclusions. It appears that sweat losses of nutrients become relevant in determining requirements and will increase in importance as sweat rates are increased. The data again demonstrate that the nutrient losses during profuse sweating consitute an error that could seriously invalidate the accuracy of metabolic balance studies. In this study, although the men did increase body protein stores and muscle mass with high-protein diets, the additional body protein did not enhance physiological work performance. It is suggested that in this sutdy 100 g of protein/day was adequate for men performing fairly heavy work.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Body Composition
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sweat / physiology


  • Blood Proteins
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Nitrogen