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Dietary protein digestion and absorption kinetics determine the postprandial increase in muscle protein synthesis. We recently demonstrated that body position during feeding can modulate the postprandial rise in plasma amino acid availability. Here we investigated whether protein ingestion in an upright sitting body position accelerates gastric emptying and improves dietary protein digestion and subsequent amino acid absorption compared with feeding in a supine lying body position. In a crossover design, 8 young males (age, 26 ± 1 years; body mass index, 24.0 ± 0.9 kg·m−2) ingested 20 g intrinsically L-[1-13C]-phenylalanine-labeled milk protein plus 1.5 g paracetamol while sitting in an upright position or lying down in a supine position. Blood samples were collected frequently during a 5-h postprandial period. Gastric emptying rates and dietary protein digestion and absorption were assessed using plasma paracetamol and amino acid concentrations as well as plasma L-[1-13C]-phenylalanine enrichments. Peak plasma leucine concentrations were higher when protein was ingested in an upright sitting versus lying position (213 ± 15 vs 193 ± 12 _mol·L−1, P < 0.05), which was accompanied by a trend for a greater overall leucine response (13 989 ± 720 vs 11 875 ± 1073 AU, respectively; P = 0.05). Peak plasma paracetamol concentrations were higher in the sitting versus lying treatment (11.6 ± 0.5 vs 9.3 ± 0.6 mg·L−1, P < 0.05). Protein ingestion in an upright sitting position accelerates gastric emptying and increases the postprandial rise in plasma amino acid availability by increasing protein digestion and amino acid absorption rates. Therefore, feeding in an uprightbody position as opposed to a lying position is an important prerequisite to allow proper postprandial muscle protein accretion


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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