Does the Speed of Protein Absorption Affect Performance and Muscle Gains?

The answer is yes and no, lets dig into this further to see why. Post workout is probably the most important time for protein intake and getting some to the muscles quickly has been shown to speed recovery. Quality and absorption rate are definitely important, see our previous article on protein quality for more info on this topic.

The rate of protein absorption is basically the rate at which the body will break down a given protein and turn it into amino acids which are utilized by the muscles. Whey protein has been shown to be the most effective and the fastest absorbing of the protein options available. It is pretty safe to say that whey protein is universally accepted as a good option for post workout nutrition.

What many people get confused about are the varying grades of whey protein; whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, whey hydroslate, whey peptides, etc. There are also different protein percentages that are found within each protein grade. For instance you can get a whey protein concentrate that is between 34% and 80%, the 80% being much higher quality than the 34%.

Whey protein that is a concentrate and is 80% protein or a whey isolate are sufficient for post workout recovery purposes or for protein intake at other times of the day. As the marketers look for new products to push you see variations of whey isolates, and hydroslates being touted as “faster” than regular protein which would supposedly provide benefits to the end user.

Most have interesting stories but before you open your wallet and jump on board understand that you will often pay more and there is not research to support that these proteins actually do absorb more quickly and if they did that you would receive any benefit in performance or body composition.