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Nutritional regulation of muscle protein synthesis with resistance exercise: strategies to enhance anabolism

Tyler A Churchward-Venne, Nicholas A Burd and Stuart M Phillips*

Author Affiliations

Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:40  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-40

Published: 17 May 2012


Provision of dietary amino acids increases skeletal muscle protein synthesis (MPS), an effect that is enhanced by prior resistance exercise. As a fundamentally necessary process in the enhancement of muscle mass, strategies to enhance rates of MPS would be beneficial in the development of interventions aimed at increasing skeletal muscle mass particularly when combined with chronic resistance exercise. The purpose of this review article is to provide an update on current findings regarding the nutritional regulation of MPS and highlight nutrition based strategies that may serve to maximize skeletal muscle protein anabolism with resistance exercise. Such factors include timing of protein intake, dietary protein type, the role of leucine as a key anabolic amino acid, and the impact of other macronutrients (i.e. carbohydrate) on the regulation of MPS after resistance exercise. We contend that nutritional strategies that serve to maximally stimulate MPS may be useful in the development of nutrition and exercise based interventions aimed at enhancing skeletal muscle mass which may be of interest to elderly populations and to athletes.

Nutrition; Muscle; Anabolic intramuscular signaling; Hypertrophy