Our muscles play an important role in our well-being, and allow us to perform physical activities (such as exercising) and activities of daily living that are required to maintain our physical independence (such as getting up from a chair). Muscle is comprised of many different proteins that work together to make our muscles move. In order to keep our muscles healthy and functional, new muscle proteins are continuously build, while old proteins are broken down. Dietary protein plays an essential role in this process as it provides the building blocks needed to build new muscle proteins (also called muscle protein synthesis). In recent years, plant-derived proteins (beans, wheat, pea) received considerable attention as they are considered to be a more sustainable alternative when compared to animal-derived protein production (meat, fish, milk, egg). Although, in contrast to animal-derived proteins, the ability of plant-derived proteins to stimulate muscle protein synthesis is only poorly understood. Therefore, this dissertation investigated whether the ingestion of plant-derived proteins can stimulate muscle protein synthesis, and whether the extent would differ from ingesting animal-derived protein. In a series of studies, this thesis shows that, when a sufficient amount of plant-derived protein (30 grams) is consumed, muscle protein synthesis rates are effectively increased. Furthermore, the increase in muscle proteins rates following ingestion of plant-derived proteins, does not differ from those following ingestion of the same amount of milk-derived protein. Concluding that, when a sufficient amount of protein is ingested, plant-derived proteins can effectively stimulate muscle protein synthesis, to an extent not different from animal-derived proteins, in young, healthy adults.

Defence date: 10/04/2024

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Pinckaers, P J M
Pinckaers, P J M
Post doctoral researcher
Maastricht University