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Muscle Protein Synthesis: What it Is, How it Works, and Why it Matters

Posted by: Steven Butler on Sunday, May 15, 2022


Muscle Protein Synthesis: What it Is, How it Works, and Why it Matters and When Does it Occur

So you’re ready to build muscle?  Or perhaps you’re conscious of the fact that as you age, muscle naturally decreases. Or maybe you’d like to maintain your strength and current shape. what is muscle protein synthesis? Muscle Protein Synthesis or (MPS), is the body’s natural process of producing protein to repair muscle damage or loss. We also need to discuss Muscle Protein Breakdown (MPB) to better understand our body’s natural recycling system. MPB is the breakdown of old proteins, a catabolic reaction that works to degrade the molecules making up the muscle structure. Once this happens, the repair of the damaged muscle takes place (anabolism), building and repairing the existing and previously damaged fibers. 

Sounds like a tug of war match going on in our bodies, right? But understanding this Protein Turnover process helps you see why MPS is such an important factor when seeking to build or maintain muscle. It is how the body naturally accomplishes muscle repair and growth. 

Even though muscle mass is relatively consistent in healthy adults, muscle tissue is constantly turning over. Your Net Balance is the difference between MPS and MPB. Muscle is an extremely adaptive organ that can change in size and/or function with training or lack of use. If you have an imbalance between protein synthesis and protein breakdown rates in skeletal muscle, this will result in either a net gain (synthesis > breakdown) or net loss (breakdown > synthesis). 

Using MPS to Build Muscle

How do we “control” this natural process the body has working? For starters, we must think about not only how much protein we’re feeding our body, but also what types. In some instances, you may even be able to manipulate your body to build muscle through the timing of your protein intake and the level of intensity you put on the muscles you want to regulate. By breaking down the muscles through rigorous weight training (think sore, exhausted, overused muscles), you stimulate MPS to rebuild and repair them.

Consider your muscles to be like a wall made of bricks. You have a team of masonry workers removing damaged sections (MPB), plus a team of equally skilled workers building with new bricks (MPS). If your MPS team is working at a faster rate than the MPB team, you will have a bigger, stronger wall (your muscles). However, if the opposite is happening, you can expect to have muscle loss. This is why your protein intake, and specifically Essential Amino Acids (EAAs), is so important. It keeps the building work going, effectively and smoothly.

How Much is “Enough”?

There have been several studies done to try to find the right balance of protein intake to support MPS. It is also clear that EAAs are the most efficient way to stimulate MPS, but how much do you need? Findings show that 20g of Whey promotes near-maximum MPS response rates at 

rest and during post-exercise recovery. These studies also showed that increasing intake to 40g of protein had an insignificant effect on MPS rates (only increasing by 10%). The ratio of EAAs used in I.AM.AMINO has proven to be utilized five times more effectively than Whey. One reason our product is so beneficial for MPS is because it is utilized at 99%. That means 99% of the dose goes straight to MPS rather than being turned into waste.

Having a positive MPS is a great way to be in a caloric deficit without losing muscle mass. A high-protein diet is often championed for helping with MPS, and we recommend maintaining  healthy eating habits to support your wellbeing. But consuming protein means taking in calories. Using EAAs to supplement your body’s natural mechanism for repairing and building muscle is a faster, healthier way to increase muscle mass, allowing you to hit your protein targets without overextending your calorie intake. By taking I.AM.AMINO thirty minutes before or after a workout, you are giving your body the essential elements it needs to break down, rebuild, and maintain proteins needed to shape your muscles.

Why It Matters

In most cases, we want MPS to happen. But it’s important to note that we also need MPB to take place in order to “clean out the bad proteins”. Muscle proteins get damaged through exercise, physical activity, metabolism, stress, and inflammation. MPB allows those damaged muscle proteins to be broken down into amino acids and recycled into new muscle proteins. 

Essential Amino Acids impact how strong our MPS response is. One of eight primary ingredients of I.AM.AMINO is leucine, known as “the muscle-building amino acid”. It is a key amino acid involved in muscle synthesis and helps with things such as building muscle, preventing muscle loss, improving performance, and promoting muscle recovery. Leucine is broken down in the muscles rather than the liver, making it available for the MPS process immediately. 

When your body is in Protein Balance, you are considered in a healthy state of biological equilibrium (homeostasis). In fitness circles, this is often referred to as “maintenance”. Protein Balance means there is no muscle growth or loss occurring—MPS and MPB are equal. If you’re wanting to maintain your current physique, you can do so by finding this balance. However, if you’re seeking to build muscle mass, you will want to find a way to increase MPS and decrease MPB.

Either way, Essential Amino Acids provide your body with the elements it needs to recycle and repair muscle (along with supporting other vital organs and systems). Implementing I.AM.AMINO in your daily routine and finding the right balance of exercise, weight-training, and healthy eating will help you reach your goals faster. For more information on the eight EAAs found in I.AM.AMINO, see our article Fasting, Autophagy, and EAAs—What You Need to Know.

“I.AM.AMINO is by far the best tasting 1:1 MAP EAA I've ever tried. You're getting it all with this product; great quality, great taste, great price and great results!”

Alan H. Verified customer

“Best tasting EAA mix out there! Sweet, tart, and no dragon breath aftertaste! Great customer service, and you can’t beat the value!”

Stephanie K. Verified customer

“I have been using I.AM.AMINO since early July and am very pleased with it. It has helped me achieve my fasting goals and make strength gains. Love the taste!”

Henry H. Verified customer

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