Liggins Institute

Post exercise effects of dairy products

This study is investigating the post-exercise effect of dairy products on muscle growth. We are looking for healthy young men aged 18 to 35 years who don’t perform regular resistance training on their lower body.

free weights

What is the aim of this study?

We are investigating how different types of dairy protein affect muscle growth and development after an intense burst of resistance exercise. Cow’s milk contains two dairy proteins; whey (20%) and casein (80%). Whey is digested very fast and quickly releases amino acids into the bloodstream. Casein is digested slowly, and therefore slowly releases amino acids.

The aim of this study is to measure the effects of these two different proteins on muscle growth after exercise, as well as a third milk protein concentrate called pMPC, which is digested in a similar way to whey.

Why is this study important?

Building muscle mass is important for many different athletes, especially body builders. To gain muscle mass, you must have greater muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth) than muscle protein degradation (muscle loss) and these two processes are always changing depending on what’s happening in the body.

One of the biggest stimulants of muscle growth is dietary protein, and a popular source of this is dairy. We know that dairy products such as milk can increase muscle protein synthesis, but there are still some aspects of the process that we don’t understand. This study will help to explain how dairy protein along with resistance exercise can stimulate muscle growth.


Who can take part?

We are looking for:

  • Healthy males ages 18-25 years
  • BMI between 18-30 kg/m2
  • Men who don’t do resistance exercises on lower body
  • No allergies towards dairy products
  • Willing to give blood and a muscle biopsy

What does the study involve?

If you take part in the study, you’ll need to come to two sessions on two separate occasions at the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland’s Grafton campus.

  • The first visit (2 hours) will be a screening session where we will take some baseline measurements of your body characteristics and strength.
  • The second visit (8 hours) will require you to perform some resistance exercises with your legs, then consume a vanilla flavoured protein drink. Throughout the day, we will take blood samples, give you a constant infusion of a stable tracer, and take a total of FOUR MUSCLE BIOPSIES.

How do I enrol?

This study is currently not recruiting any more participants.


This is a study by The University of Auckland in collaboration with Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd. It has received Ethical Approval from Central Health and Disability Ethics Committee, reference: 16/CEN/206


Nutrition studies at the Liggins Institute