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Whey triggers muscle-building signals in older men

The increase in muscle protein synthesis after ingestion of protein happens through a series of signals inside the cell. One of the most important signals is an activation of a protein called p70S6K. When this protein is activated in muscle, it is associated with muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth. In one recent study, activation of this protein was measured after resistance exercise in 3 groups of older men.

The men consumed 30 grams of whey, soy or carbohydrate immediately after performing a bout of resistance exercise. Two hours after exercise, the whey and soy groups both showed an approximate 30-fold increase in p70S6K activation. However, at 4 hours post-exercise, the soy group had returned to placebo levels whereas the whey protein group resulted in continued elevation in p70S6K. Thus, soy was less effective at maintaining a prolonged increase in muscle signaling for protein synthesis compared to whey in these older individuals.

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