But does extra protein lead to bigger muscles? Muscle growth occurs when your body is in a positive nitrogen state, meaning MPS (think building of muscle) is greater than muscle protein breakdown (MPB). We know that MPS is maximized following the consumption of 20-30g of protein like whey. But what about MPB? Can muscle only apply that same 20-30 grams of protein in blunting MPB? Is there a corresponding MPB ceiling as well, or is that range closer to an “MPB floor?” That’s what researchers are trying to better understand.
A recent study found that consuming 70 grams of protein in one sitting significantly improved whole-body protein synthesis by drastically reducing muscle protein breakdown.2 While we’re still not sure about to what degree this might translate into bigger, stronger muscles, it does effectively debunk the notion that your body can’t use anything more than 20 grams of protein at once.
The take-home lesson: If you want to maximize muscle growth and recovery, you need to both minimize muscle breakdown and increase protein synthesis. I’m not saying you need to eat 70 grams of protein at each meal, but your body can certainly utilize more than 30 grams of protein at one time!