Pre-Bed Protein: The Secret Revealed

by Ultimate Sup Staff on December 14, 2020

Is it good to drink protein shakes before bed for muscle building? In the article, you'll learn what science says about pre-bed protein. 

Protein Before Bed: Good or Bad 

Although rumor has it that you shouldn't have pre-bed shakes, consuming protein before bed is still a popular sports nutrition approach. So, what's the truth? Let's take a closer look at some new research suggesting late night protein has the potential to enhance muscle growth. 

Proteinshake before bed: Should or shouldn't - Ultimate Sup

A Sole Problem: Low Nighttime Protein 

We all know about muscle protein synthesis. It is the procedure of converting protein into amino acids. Then, amino acids will fill in muscular tissues, which makes them bigger and stronger. No matter how high your amino acid levels are, they can still drop while you fall asleep. It's like a house without any construction materials. You will be screwed even if you have several hard-working workers. 

According to a Gillen research in 2016, athletes commonly consumed protein at above 1.2g/kg daily while enjoying breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, they only ingested an inadequate 7g of protein as a late-night snack. That's why you can hardly build your muscle during nighttime. 

Pre-bed Protein

In 2008, Beelen conducted one research focused on the pre-sleep protein field when his group assessed the impact of the combination of evening workout and protein consumption right afterward. At first, Beelen's team saw an improvement in muscle protein synthesis. Then, levels reached an unexpected bottom, making muscle protein synthesis unsteady over time. 

They guessed that the mass of fast-acting protein hydrolysate given to test subjects might not have been adequate to keep amino acids stable all night. 

The team kept working on another study. In 2012, researchers experimented on 16 healthy young test subjects lifting weights in the evening. Right after training (around 9 pm), they each consumed 20g of protein and 60g of carbs. They each took an extra 40g of casein protein two and a half hours later. To be specific, researchers had inherently labeled this kind of protein to track its influence during sleep. 

As a result, amino acids level rose throughout the night because of the casein protein. In comparison with a placebo, it also enhanced muscle protein synthesis.

Prolonged Pre-Bed Protein

Eating protein before sleep has elevated muscle protein synthesis. But, is it right for you to exercise and drink pre-bed shakes for a long time? Homeostasis is regarded to have negative impacts as the human body may be a survival-based machine with plenty of excess systems all working in collaboration.

Another group of analysts recruited 42 healthy young men and had them lifting weights for 12 weeks to find out the answer. These tested males got a nightly pre-sleep protein intake with about 28g of protein and 15g of carbs. The placebo group took a non-caloric drink. The researchers utilized outstanding stuff such as DXA and CT limb scans and poked them for muscle fiber samples. Also, they measured strength through the good old standby of a 1 rep max (1RM) test. 

Finally, strength in both groups was found to increase after the 12-week lifting program. The result was terrific. It proved that the program was successful. Nevertheless, the group using pre-sleep protein earned more strength and built bigger muscles. In fact, this team showed almost twice as much hypertrophy when researchers paid more attention to quadriceps muscles.

So, adding a bedtime protein supplement won't make a superhero immediately. But, you can boost your muscle size and enhance strength in a blink of an eye. 

How Much Protein Is Enough?

We'll have another study here. Scientists divided 24 healthy young males into two groups. While the first team received 30g of labeled protein, the other team didn't. 

Blood and quad muscles' samples were collected depending on different labeled proteins. According to the research, approximately 57% of labeled amino acids from protein appeared up within the circulation, whereas the gut took up the other portion. Only almost 10% of protein taken into the body can find its way to the muscle. 

For instance, in the best case, with a 40g intake of protein, you can only stuff 4g in your muscle tissue. Moreover, they illustrated that workout’s purpose is to provide the tissue with more amino acids. Nothing to be surprised about, although it was awesome to have genuine information affirming this accomplishment. 

Should You Choose Nighttime Training Instead Of Daytime Training?

Some study procedures include daytime workouts, while some of them are related to evening exercise. Whether day or night, training combined with pre-bed protein can help develop more effective muscle protein synthesis. In spite of the fact that there haven’t been any conclusions of a perfect time to exercise, pre-sleep protein seems to support muscle growth strongly. 

Will Late-Night Protein Make Me Gain Weight?

Does drinking protein before bedtime help you burn more energy? After all, pre-bed protein provides you with calories just before falling asleep for a long time. In 2014, Madzime did research that took a closer look at protein or carbohydrate nighttime consumption. It turned out that in college individuals, the resting energy expenditure slightly increased in the morning.

Prior work by Katayose appeared that the digestion system could moderate at night, but it's very flexible as the distribution of sleep phases isn't consistent all-around nighttime. To illustrate, energy expenditure during REM sleep was remarkably significant.

Madzima and his colleagues separated 11 people into four groups. The first group took 38g of pre-sleep protein; the second group received 38g of casein protein. The third group got 38g of carbohydrate, and the last group got a placebo.

Just like the placebo group for fat oxidation, the casein protein group showed a similar reaction. But they used more fat. The reason is partly because of casein ingestion, which leads to outstandingly lower insulin response. It boosts your body to burn more fat. 

These studies mentioned that eating protein isn't likely to make you gain weight, especially casein protein. Actually, it seems to push fat metabolism.

Pre-Bed Protein Options 

To conclude, consuming pre-bed protein is a great choice, and 40g is likely to be an appropriate start. If you don't know how to enhance your protein intake, Ultimate Sup would like to suggest a few sources:

  • 7 cooked eggs
  • 5 cups of low-fat milk
  • 5 cups of low-fat yogurt
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 steaks
  • 2 scoops of NitroTech

References

  1. Beelen M, Tieland M, Gijsen AP, et a. Coingestion of carbohydrate and protein hydrolysate stimulates muscle protein synthesis during exercise in young men, with no further increase during subsequent overnight recovery. J Nutr. 2008(138):2198-204.
  2. Gillen JB, Trommelen J, Wardenaar FC, et al. Dietary protein intake and distribution patterns of well-trained dutch athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2016.
  3. Katayose Y, Tasaki M, Ogata H, et a. Metabolic rate and fuel utilization during sleep assessed by whole-body indirect calorimetry. Metabolism. 2009(58):920-6.
  4. Madzima TA, Panton LB, Fretti SK, Kinsey AW, Ormsbee MJ. Night-time consumption of protein or carbohydrate results in increased morning resting energy expenditure in active college-aged men. Br J Nutr. 2014; 111(1):71-7.
  5. Res PT, Groen B, Pennings B, et al. Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012; 44(8):1560-9.
  6. Snijders T, Res PT, Smeets JS, et al. Protein Ingestion before Sleep Increases Muscle Mass and Strength Gains during Prolonged Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Healthy Young Men. J Nutr. 2015; 145(6):1178-84.
  7. Trommelen J, Holwerda AM, Kouw IW, et al. Resistance Exercise Augments Postprandial Overnight Muscle Protein Synthesis Rates. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016; 48(12):2517-25.

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