Building lean mass requires a positive protein balance, which can be achieved by consuming more protein than you break down. Since the quality of muscle growth is determined by how much protein you can synthesize, it’s important to consume protein at the right time.
So, should you consume protein before bed? The answer is, it depends. It depends on your goals, how much protein you need per day and the timing of your other meals. In general, though, it is safe to consume protein before bed.
Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of consuming protein before bed and how to make the best decision for you.
Why Achieving MPS And Homeostasis Matter
Homeostasis is the human body's major imperative. That is, all systems in the body work to maintain a state of equilibrium or balance. When it comes to protein and amino acids, homeostasis is achieved when we consume just enough to meet our needs and no more.
Protein turnover refers to the rate at which protein is synthesized (anabolism) and broken down (catabolism). Achieving a state of homeostasis means that protein synthesis equals protein breakdown.
Muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is the process by which muscle cells build proteins, including contractile proteins. MPS rates are determined by the rates of amino acid delivery and utilization and by transcriptional and translational control mechanisms.
In order for MPS to occur, you must first consume amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and they come from the food we eat.
Amino acids are delivered to muscle cells through the bloodstream, where they can be used for MPS or other processes, such as energy production.
Consuming adequate amounts of protein is important for achieving a positive protein balance. A positive protein balance is when protein synthesis exceeds protein breakdown.
When MPS is greater than muscle protein breakdown (MPB), a state of positive protein balance is achieved, and muscle mass can be built. On the other hand, when MPB is greater than MPS, a state of negative protein balance occurs, and muscle mass is lost.
Why Nighttime Protein Consumption May Be Beneficial
Muscle protein synthesis rates are highest in the hours after exercise and decline thereafter.
While MPS rates are highest immediately post-workout, they remain elevated for several hours afterward. In fact, one study found that MPS rates remained elevated for up to 48 hours after exercise.
This means that consuming protein before bed can be an effective way to promote muscle growth, as long as you consume enough protein throughout the day.
However, it’s important to note that consuming protein before bed is only beneficial if you are not meeting your daily protein needs through other meals. If you are already consuming enough protein during the day, then there is no need to consume more before bed.
Potential Drawbacks Of Consuming Protein Before Bed
There are a few potential drawbacks to consuming protein before bed that you should be aware of.
First, if you have trouble sleeping, consuming protein before bed may make it harder for you to fall asleep. This is because protein can stimulate the release of energy-promoting hormones, such as adrenaline.
If you have trouble sleeping, it’s best to avoid consuming protein close to bedtime.
Second, if you are trying to lose weight, consuming protein before bed may not be the best idea. This is because protein can stimulate the release of insulin, which can promote fat storage.
If you are trying to lose weight, it’s best to consume most of your daily protein at other meals and to avoid consuming protein close to bedtime.
How Much Protein Should You Consume Before Bed?
There is no definitive answer to how much protein you should consume before bed. It depends on your daily protein needs, which are determined by factors such as age, activity level, and muscle mass.
30-40 grams is the general range that is often recommended. This is a good starting point, but you may need more or less depending on your individual needs.
If you are trying to build muscle, it is important to consume enough protein throughout the day to support muscle growth. This means that you may need to consume more protein than the average person.
Now that you know more about the pros and cons of consuming protein before bed, you can make the best decision for yourself. If you are trying to build muscle, be sure to consume enough protein throughout the day and consider adding a pre-bedtime snack containing protein.