The gut and liver take up a vast majority of the protein consumed; approximately 10% is utilized by muscle. The rest of the protein is catabolized for energy, etc.
How much protein can your body absorb in one day? This article covers protein synthesis (i.e., protein intake), protein absorption, and protein digestion.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN CAN YOUR BODY ABSORB IN ONE MEAL SUMMARY
- Your body has an unlimited capacity for protein absorption. However, max protein synthesis maxes out at 20-40 grams of protein.
- Spread 20-40 grams of high-quality protein daily to maximize protein synthesis.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN POWDER PER DAY?
For years in the fitness industry, some have said that protein absorption is maxed at 20-30 grams of protein at a time. This has been called the protein absorption myth. Previous studies have shown that post-exercise muscle protein synthesis is maximally stimulated at 40 grams of protein independent of body weight.(1) Muscle protein synthesis is in a constant state of turnover, meaning there are increases in protein synthesis and breakdown.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN CAN YOUR BODY ABSORB IN ONE DAY?
For muscle growth to occur, muscle protein synthesis must be greater than muscle tissue breakdown. For example, protein synthesis remains negative after resistance exercise despite increased muscle protein synthesis due to protein balance remaining negative due to the increased activation of muscle tissue breakdown.(2)
Only when protein is ingested following a resistance exercise bout and protein absorption increases is there a synergistic impact on muscle protein synthesis, resulting in a positive net protein balance . Furthermore, the rate of muscle protein synthesis and the rate of muscle tissue breakdown determines the net gain in muscle protein accrual.
Consumption of dietary protein or EAA stimulates muscle protein synthesis in a dose-dependent manner (i.e., 20-40 grams), however, at higher intake levels, the extent of stimulation of muscle protein synthesis plateaus.(3)
For example, in a previous meta-analysis of the literature (i.e., 49 studies with 1863 subjects) on protein and muscle hypertrophy, protein intake above 1.6 g/kg/day (.8 grams per pound of body weight) failed to increase muscle growth with resistance exercise.(4) additionally, excess protein consumption does not seem to contribute to gains in body fat. (5)