Background: Protein ingestion after a single bout of resistance-type exercise stimulates net muscle protein accretion during acute postexercise recovery. Consequently, it is generally accepted that protein supplementation is required to maximize the adaptive response of the skeletal muscle to prolonged resistance-type exercise training. However, there is much discrepancy in the literature regarding the proposed benefits of protein supplementation during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older populations.
Objective: The objective of the study was to define the efficacy of protein supplementation to augment the adaptive response of the skeletal muscle to prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older populations.
Design: A systematic review of interventional evidence was performed through the use of a random-effects meta-analysis model. Data from the outcome variables fat-free mass (FFM), fat mass, type I and II muscle fiber cross-sectional area, and 1 repetition maximum (1-RM) leg press strength were collected from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effect of dietary protein supplementation during prolonged (>6 wk) resistance-type exercise training.
Results: Data were included from 22 RCTs that included 680 subjects. Protein supplementation showed a positive effect for FFM (weighted mean difference: 0.69 kg; 95% CI: 0.47, 0.91 kg; P < 0.00001) and 1-RM leg press strength (weighted mean difference: 13.5 kg; 95% CI: 6.4, 20.7 kg; P < 0.005) compared with a placebo after prolonged resistance-type exercise training in younger and older subjects.
Conclusion: Protein supplementation increases muscle mass and strength gains during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in both younger and older subjects.