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Multi-ingredient protein supplements on resistance training gains

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Summary of a review on effect of protein supplementation and resistance training on fat free mass gains, fat mass, and strength gains.


1387 healthy persons (361 females) aged 46 (±21) years.


Systematic review and meta-analysis of 35 randomized controlled trials.

Trials of at least 6 weeks duration, resistance training performed at least 2 times per week, no calorie restriction.

multi-ingredient protein supplement"protein supplement with any additional ingredients added (eg, carbohydrate (CHO), Cr, β-hydroxy β-methylbutyrate (HMB), leucine (Leu), calcium, vit D and/or PUFAs)"

Outcome measures/tests

  • body composition: total body mass, fat free mass, fat mass
  • performance: 1-repetition maximum (1RM)

Main results

  • Multi-ingredient protein supplementation with resistance training increased fat-free mass without increasing fat mass when compared to all the other conditions. Also, multi-ingredient protein supplementation with prolonged resistance training increased the upper body and lower body 1RMs comparing to all the other conditions.
  • When multi-ingredient protein supplementation was compared with protein-only supplementation, fat mass increased without changes in total body mass, fat-free mass, upper or lower body 1RMs.
  • There was significant heterogeneity in both comparisons for fat-free mass.
  • When the differences in outcomes between young or older adults (>45 years) were investigated, the younger population observed no difference in upper body 1RM, and older adults no difference for lower 1RM.
  • When trained persons were compared against untrained individuals, trained had no effect on fat-free mass or lower body 1RM, untrained had no difference in lower and upper body 1RMs but increased their fat-free mass.
  • Protein supplements containing creatine (4 studies) increased on average fat-free mass by 1 kg, when compared with protein only supplements.

Take home message

For a clinician & coach
Multi-ingredient protein supplementation increased fat-free mass and 1RM gains when combined with resistant training over 6 to 78 weeks.
For a parent
Protein supplementation combined with creatine may improve gains in fat-free mass and strength in people who strength train.
For an athlete
Combining protein with creatine may improve your muscle and strength gains when strength training.

Original article

O’Bryan KR, Doering TM, Morton RW, Coffey VG, Phillips SM, Cox GR. Do multi-ingredient protein supplements augment resistance training-induced gains in skeletal muscle mass and strength? A systematic review and meta-analysis of 35 trials. British journal of sports medicine. 2020 May 1;54(10):573-81.

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