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Protein has received more attention among strength and power athletes than any other nutrient. There has also been considerable research targeted at better understanding the optimal use of protein to enhance muscle size, strength, and performance. Given the emerging science of protein supplementation, researchers in the field felt compelled to meet to discuss the state of the art in the application of protein, protein hydrolysates, and amino acids in sports nutrition. Top protein researchers from around the world met last May for two days to review the research and share their opinions on protein supplementation. Here are some of the major outcomes of the conference. 1. Development of designer protein hydrolysates where the peptides are manipulated to increase bioactivity to target endpoints such as protein synthesis is a promising area. 2. Essential amino acids, branched-chain amino acids, and leucine are critical in activating intracellular signaling pathways that control the anabolic response to resistance exercise. 3) The optimal amount of protein for athletes is higher than the RDA and in the range of 1.2 to 1.6 grams protein per kilogram body weight. 4) Maximal increases in protein synthesis are achieved with a dose of 20-25 grams of high quality protein. 5) Providing a high quality source of protein is critical both before and after exercise. Overall, the group identified several areas in need of further research, but agreed the evidence to date is strong supporting the need for high quality sources of protein consumed at specific times to bring about maximal adaptations to exercise training.

Protein and protein hydrolysates in sports nutrition: proceedings of a workshop held in New Orleans May 28-29, 2007. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 17:supplement, 2007.