Lying down during and after a meal is bad for building muscle
Your body absorbs the amino acids from the proteins in your food better if you consume and digest them while sitting up or standing, according to a Dutch study published in Nutrients.
The researchers gave 8 healthy young men on two separate occasions a shake containing 60 g skimmed milk powder - which provided 22 g protein and 29 g carbohydrates - a 1.5 g paracetamol. The researchers monitored the subjects' blood for four hours after intake.
On one occasion the men sat upright during the experiment. On the other occasion they lay down on a bed, with their feet a little higher than their head [the bed was placed at an angle of 20 degrees].
When in the reclining position fewer essential amino acids [EAA] and less leucine turned up in the blood than when the participants sat upright.
In the horizontal position not only the uptake of the amino acids but also that of the paracetamol was reduced.
Because the uptake of the paracetamol correlated with the uptake of essential amino acids [EAA], the researchers assume that lying down reduces the uptake of all nutrients. This is probably because the stomach - the organ that digests food - works optimally when you're sitting upright. Or standing.
"Changes in body position substantially modulate gastric emptying rate and the subsequent post-prandial rise in plasma amino acid availability, thereby increasing the post-prandial muscle protein synthetic response to meal ingestion," the researchers summarise. "Therefore, an upright body position during and after feeding is important for adequate nutrient absorption and should be considered when aiming to optimize post-prandial muscle protein accretion in both health and disease."
"In other words, our mothers may have been right in more than one way by telling us to sit up straight at the dinner table."
Nutrients. 2016 Apr 13;8(4):221.
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Nutrition & Strength Training