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Exercise May Help With Protein Absorption At All Ages

Some past research has suggested that the body's ability to digest and absorb protein may be impaired following exercise. Now, a recent study by researchers from Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands has found that exercising prior to eating protein may actually increase the body's ability to absorb protein in both young and older men alike.

The study was published in the December 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

48 men were recruited for the study, half in their 20's and half in their 70's, none of whom exercised regularly.

The men were assigned to one of two groups. One group rested for 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes of exercise which included riding a stationary bike and light strengthening exercises. The second group spent the additional 30 minutes relaxing. Afterward, both groups were given a beverage containing 20g of protein.

Blood and muscle samples were then taken to assess protein digestion and absorption. The researchers found that muscle protein increased for both older and younger men in the exercise group.

These findings appear to show that drinking a protein shake following exercise may be a good way to boost muscle protein absorption at any age.

Previous studies have shown that protein may also increase bone mineral density, which lowers fracture risk. Protein also helps to build muscles in the legs, decreasing the likelihood of falling and suffering a fracture.

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