Milk Ingestion Stimulates Net Muscle Protein Synthesis following Resistance Exercise


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 4 - pp 667-674
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000210190.64458.25
BASIC SCIENCES: Original Investigations

Purpose: Previous studies have examined the response of muscle protein to resistance exercise and nutrient ingestion. Net muscle protein synthesis results from the combination of resistance exercise and amino acid intake. No study has examined the response of muscle protein to ingestion of protein in the context of a food. This study was designed to determine the response of net muscle protein balance following resistance exercise to ingestion of nutrients as components of milk.

Method: Three groups of volunteers ingested one of three milk drinks each: 237 g of fat-free milk (FM), 237 g of whole milk (WM), and 393 g of fat-free milk isocaloric with the WM (IM). Milk was ingested 1 h following a leg resistance exercise routine. Net muscle protein balance was determined by measuring amino acid balance across the leg.

Results: Arterial concentrations of representative amino acids increased in response to milk ingestion. Threonine balance and phenylalanine balance were both > 0 following milk ingestion. Net amino acid uptake for threonine was 2.8-fold greater (P < 0.05) for WM than for FM. Mean uptake of phenylalanine was 80 and 85% greater for WM and IM, respectively, than for FM, but not statistically different. Threonine uptake relative to ingested was significantly (P < 0.05) higher for WM (21 ± 6%) than FM (11 ± 5%), but not IM (12 ± 3%). Mean phenylalanine uptake/ingested also was greatest for WM, but not significantly.

Conclusions: Ingestion of milk following resistance exercise results in phenylalanine and threonine uptake, representative of net muscle protein synthesis. These results suggest that whole milk may have increased utilization of available amino acids for protein synthesis.

Metabolism Unit, Shriners Hospitals for Children and Department of Surgery, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX

Address for correspondence: Robert Wolfe, M.D., 815 Market Street, Galveston, TX 77550; E-mail:

Submitted for publication June 2005.

Accepted for publication October 2005.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine