Timing and pattern of postexercise protein ingestion affects whole-body protein balance in healthy children: a randomized trial
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The dose and timing of postexercise protein ingestion can influence whole-body protein balance (WBPB) in adults, although comparable data from children are scarce. This study investigated how protein intake (both amount and distribution) postexercise can affect WBPB in physically active children. Thirty-five children (26 males; 9-13 years old) underwent a 5-day adaptation diet, maintaining a protein intake of 0.95 g·kg-1·day-1. Participants consumed [15N]glycine (2 mg·kg-1) before performing 3 × 20 min of variable-intensity cycling, and whole-body protein kinetics were assessed over 6 and 24 h of recovery. Fifteen grams of protein was distributed across 2 isoenergetic carbohydrate-containing beverages (15 and 240 min postexercise) containing reciprocal amounts of protein (i.e., 0 + 15 g, 5 + 10 g, 10 + 5 g, and 15 + 0 g for Groups A-D, respectively). Over the 6 h that included the exercise bout and consumption of the first beverage at 15 min postexercise, WBPB (i.e., synthesis - breakdown) demonstrated a linear increase of 0.647 g·kg-1·day-1 per 1 g protein intake (P < 0.001). Over 24 h, robust regression revealed that WBPB was best modeled by a parabola (P < 0.05), suggesting that a maximum in WBPB was achieved between groups B and C. In conclusion, despite a dose response early in recovery, a periodized protein intake with multiple smaller doses after physical activity may be more beneficial than a single bolus dose in promoting daily WBPB in healthy active children.
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