Healthy Fats with Whey Protein: Will it interfere with Protein Absorption?
by: Robbie Durand
Most bodybuilders will leave the gym and the first thing they slam down is a whey protein isolate shake usually with some carbs. There was some earlier research suggesting that protein taken with fats can impair protein synthesis, so most bodybuilders and resistance-training athletes will stay away from healthy fats after exercise. Healthy fats such as fish oil are essential for building muscle and health. Be sure to check out the article Take Advantage Of Fish Oils to Increase Lean Muscle Mass for further reading on the importance of fish oils for increasing muscle mass. What about adding some healthy fats to your protein shake? Will it impact protein synthesis?
It’s well established that essential amino acids stimulates muscle protein synthesis but does not have an impact on reducing muscle protein breakdown. Previous research is animals have shown than increased free fatty acids result in decreased protein breakdown. So ingestion of essential amino acids with some healthy fats such as fish oils or virgin olive oil may provide a synergistic effect of stimulating protein synthesis while reducing protein breakdown.
Researchers examined the the effects of elevated plasma free fatty acid concentrations on the response of protein synthesis and balance in muscle after essential amino acids (EAAs) ingestion. The relative contribution of individual amino acids in the mixture was based on the distribution of these amino acids in whey protein that has previously been shown to effectively stimulate muscle protein synthesis in healthy subjects. They measured protein synthesis with essential amino acids alone and essential amino acids with fats. At the end of the study, researchers found that added fats in the presence of essential amino acids did not impair protein synthesis. It has been shown that small increases in plasma insulin concentrations increase muscle protein anabolism by inhibiting muscle protein breakdown. Plasma insulin responses where higher in the lipid and EAA group than the saline+EAA group both before and after the EAA ingestion. The present data demonstrate that elevation in plasma FFA concentrations does not interfere with the postprandial response of muscle protein synthesis and balance to a bolus ingestion of amino acids. Therefore, if you looking for a great anabolic and anti-catabolic post workout drink, you may want to consider adding some fish oils to your post workout drink.