Proteins are essential for body growth and muscle building. However, protein metabolism varies depending on the body’s internal biological clock. Therefore, it is important to know how distribution of protein intake over the day affects muscles. Researchers from Japan have now found that consumption of proteins at breakfast increases muscle size and function in mice and humans, shedding light on the concept of ‘Chrononutrition’ that deals with the timing of diets to ensure organ health.
Proteins constitute an essential dietary component that help in the growth and repair of the body. Composed of long chains of amino acids, proteins promote the growth of skeletal muscles, the group of muscles that help us move. Humans have been aware of the benefits of proteins for long. However, recent studies have shown that having the right amount of protein at the right time of the day is essential for proper growth. This is called ‘Chrononutrition,’ in which when you eat is as important as what and how you eat.
The reason behind this is the body’s internal biological clock, called the ‘circadian rhythm.’ This rhythm is followed by all cells and controls life functions like metabolism and growth. Interestingly, protein digestion and absorption have been found to fluctuate across day and night according to this clock. Moreover, earlier studies have reported that intake of protein at breakfast and lunch promotes skeletal muscle growth in adults. However, details on the effect of the time of protein intake on muscle growth and function have remained elusive till date.