Equivalent servings of free-range reindeer promote greater net protein balance compared to commercial beef

Melynda S. Coker, Scott E. Schutzler, Sanghee Park, Rick H. Williams, Arny A. Ferrando, Nicolaas E.P. Deutz, Robert R. Wolfe, Robert H. Coker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wild game consumption has been associated with health benefits but the acute influence on human protein metabolism remains unknown. We compared feeding-induced responses of equivalent amounts of free-range reindeer (FR) and commercial beef (CB) on protein kinetics using stable isotope methodology. Seven participants (age: 40 ± 14 years; body mass index: 24 ± 3 kg/m2) completed two randomised studies, ingesting 2 oz of FR or CB. L-[ring 2H5]phenylalanine & L-[ring 2H2]tyrosine were delivered via primed, continuous intravenous infusion. Blood samples were collected during the basal period and following consumption of FR or CB. Feeding-induced changes in whole-body protein synthesis (PS), protein breakdown (PB), and net protein balance (NB) were determined via plasma sample isotope enrichment analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; plasma essential amino acid (EAA) concentrations were determined by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry. Plasma post-prandial EAA concentrations were higher with FR compared to CB (P < 0.05). The acute feeding-induced PS response was not different, but PB was reduced and contributed to a superior level of NB (P < 0.00001) in FR compared to CB. Our results demonstrate that FR may influence more favourable protein metabolism than CB. These data support potential health benefits of wild game onf whole-body protein. Abbreviations: BMI: body mass index; DIAAS: digestible indispensable amino acid score; CB: commercial beef; EAA: essential amino acids; FR: free-range reindeer; Ra: rate of appearance; UAF: University of Alaska Fairbanks; USDA: USA Department of Agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1897222
JournalInternational Journal of Circumpolar Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Amino acids
  • diet
  • muscle
  • sarcopenia
  • traditional food
  • wild game


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