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Dairy Protein May Improve Muscle Synthesis in Healthy Men

A recent study suggests that eating a breakfast rich in protein from dairy - but not from soy - may stimulate mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). mTOR is an enzyme that is the primary regulator of muscle protein synthesis.

Participants in the study included 10 healthy men and 10 men with metabolic syndrome (MetS). Metabolic syndrome is the group of risk factors that contribute to coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes. The risk factors include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, large waist circumference, high triglyceride levels and high cholesterol.

Half of the men ate a breakfast with a dairy protein while the other half ate a calorie-matched breakfast with soy protein. The researchers took muscle biopsies two and four hours after the meals. They found that mTOR levels were higher at the two- hour mark in the dairy group, but not the soy group. They also found higher levels of ribosomal protein S6 phosphoylation in that group. Ribosomal protein S6 phosphoylation is required for protein synthesis in human skeletal muscle.

The men with MetS showed no changes in mTOR levels.

Researchers from Deakin University conducted the study. It was published on September 30, 2014, in Nutrition & Metabolism.

Dairy consumption has also been linked to bone health, diabetes prevention, weight loss, and improved mental function. If you’re looking to add more dairy to your diet, consider sticking to the low-fat dairy products as the high fat content of whole milk products could negatively affect other areas of the body.

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