Background: The age-related decline in skeletal muscle mass is partly attributed to anabolic resistance to food intake. Dietary protein ingestion before sleep could be used as a nutritional strategy to compensate for anabolic resistance.
Objective: The present study assessed whether physical activity performed in the evening can augment the overnight muscle protein synthetic response to presleep protein ingestion in older men.
Methods: In a parallel group design, 23 healthy older men (mean ± SEM age: 71 ± 1 y) were randomly assigned to ingest 40 g protein intrinsically labeled with l-[1-(13)C]-phenylalanine and l-[1-(13)C]-leucine before going to sleep with (PRO+EX) or without (PRO) performing physical activity earlier in the evening. Overnight protein digestion and absorption kinetics and myofibrillar protein synthesis rates were assessed by combining primed, continuous infusions of l-[ring-(2)H5]-phenylalanine, l-[1-(13)C]-leucine, and l-[ring-(2)H2]-tyrosine with the ingestion of intrinsically labeled casein protein. Muscle and blood samples were collected throughout overnight sleep.
Results: Protein ingested before sleep was normally digested and absorbed, with 54% ± 2% of the protein-derived amino acids appearing in the circulation throughout overnight sleep. Overnight myofibrillar protein synthesis rates were 31% (0.058% ± 0.002%/h compared with 0.044% ± 0.003%/h; P < 0.01; based on l-[ring-(2)H5]-phenylalanine) and 27% (0.074% ± 0.004%/h compared with 0.058% ± 0.003%/h; P < 0.01; based on l-[1-(13)C]-leucine) higher in the PRO+EX than in the PRO treatment. More dietary protein-derived amino acids were incorporated into de novo myofibrillar protein during overnight sleep in PRO+EX than in PRO treatment (0.042 ± 0.002 compared with 0.033 ± 0.002 mole percent excess; P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Physical activity performed in the evening augments the overnight muscle protein synthetic response to presleep protein ingestion and allows more of the ingested protein-derived amino acids to be used for de novo muscle protein synthesis during overnight sleep in older men. This trial was registered at Nederlands Trial Register as NTR3885.
Keywords: dietary protein; exercise; muscle protein synthesis; overnight; sarcopenia.
© 2016 American Society for Nutrition.