The anabolic response to resistance exercise and a protein-rich meal is not diminished by age

J Nutr Health Aging. 2011 May;15(5):376-81. doi: 10.1007/s12603-010-0319-z.


Objectives: The synergistic effect of resistance exercise and protein ingestion on muscle protein anabolism in young adults has been well described. However, it is unclear if this relationship is maintained in older adults who are at greater risk of sarcopenic muscle loss. To this end, we sought to determine if the synergistic response to a bout of resistance exercise and a protein-rich lean beef meal was altered by age.

Setting: The University of Texas Medical Branch, Clinical Research Center, Galveston, Texas.

Participants: Healthy young (n=7, 29±3 y) and older (n=7, 67±2 y) adults.

Design: Mixed muscle fractional synthesis rate (FSR) was calculated during a 3 h post-absorptive/rest period and again during a 5 h period following ingestion of a protein-rich meal (340 g lean beef) and bout of resistance exercise (6 sets of 8 repetitions of isotonic knee extension exercise at 80% one repetition maximum).

Measurements: Venous blood samples and vastus lateralis muscle biopsy samples were obtained during a primed (2.0 µmol/kg) constant infusion (0.08 µmol∙kg(-1)min(-1)) of L- [ring-13C6] phenylalanine.

Results: Mixed muscle FSR increased by approximately 108% in both young [pre: 0.073±0.008; post: 0.156±0.021(SE) %/h, p<0.001] and older adults (pre: 0.075±0.004; post: 0.152±0.017 %/h, p=0.003) following the meal and resistance exercise bout.

Conclusion: Aging does not diminish the increase in muscle protein synthesis following a high-quality protein rich meal and bout of resistance exercise.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Biopsy
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Muscle Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Phenylalanine / metabolism
  • Quadriceps Muscle / metabolism*
  • Quadriceps Muscle / physiology
  • Resistance Training*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Phenylalanine