Professor Luc J. C. Van Loon

Professor of Physiology of Exercise and Head of the M3-research Unit, Department of Human Movement Sciences, Maastricht University Medical Centre

Luc J. C. Van Loon

Areas of expertise: Exercise Science, Sports Science,  Nutrition, Exercise Performance, Muscle, Muscle Proteins, Nutritional Supplements, Protein Synthesis, Leucine, Muscle Metabolism, Amino Acids, Type 2 Diabetes, Aging

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-6768-9231


Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

Luc van Loon is a Professor of Physiology of Exercise and Head of the M3-research unit which is part of the Department of Human Biology at the Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences of Maastricht University. He has an international research standing in the area of skeletal muscle metabolism.

Current research in his laboratory specialises in in vivo human metabolic research, and the main fields of interest include skeletal muscle metabolism, exercise metabolism, sports and clinical nutrition, and aging.

His research aims to increase knowledge that will enable him to define more effective exercise and nutritional interventions to improve health and functional performance in health, disease, and with aging.

His research studies investigate metabolism on a whole-body, tissue, and cellular level, with skeletal muscle as the main tissue of interest. The use of stable isotope methodology has a special interest in this group.

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Select publications

  • Van Loon LJC, Greenhaff PL, Constantin-Teodosiu D, Saris WH, Wagenmakers AJ. The effects of increasing exercise intensity on muscle fuel utilisation in humans. J Physiol. 2001;536(Pt 1):295-304.
  • Van Loon LJC, Saris WH, Verhagen H, Wagenmakers AJ. Plasma insulin responses after ingestion of different amino acid or protein mixtures with carbohydrate. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(1):96-105.
  • Koopman R, Wagenmakers AJ, Manders RJ, Zorenc AH, Senden JM, Gorselink M, Keizer HA, van Loon LJC. Combined ingestion of protein and free leucine with carbohydrate increases postexercise muscle protein synthesis in vivo in male subjects. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2005;288(4):E645-53.
  • Van Loon LJC, Saris WH, Kruijshoop M, Wagenmakers AJ. Maximizing postexercise muscle glycogen synthesis: carbohydrate supplementation and the application of amino acid or protein hydrolysate mixtures. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;72(1):106-11.
  • Pennings B, Boirie Y, Senden JM, Gijsen AP, Kuipers H, van Loon LJC. Whey protein stimulates postprandial muscle protein accretion more effectively than do casein and casein hydrolysate in older men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93(5):997-1005.
  • Cermak NM, Res PT, de Groot LC, Saris WH, van Loon LJC. Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(6):1454-64.
  • Koopman R, van Loon LJC. Aging, exercise, and muscle protein metabolism. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009;106(6):2040-8.
  • Tieland M, Dirks ML, van der Zwaluw N, Verdijk LB, van de Rest O, de Groot LC, van Loon LJC. Protein supplementation increases muscle mass gain during prolonged resistance-type exercise training in frail elderly people: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2012;13(8):713-9.
  • Phillips SM, van Loon LJC. Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J Sports Sci. 2011;29 Suppl 1:S29-38.
  • Klinkenberg LJ, van Dijk JW, Tan FE, van Loon LJC, van Dieijen-Visser MP, Meex SJ. Circulating cardiac troponin T exhibits a diurnal rhythm. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(17):1788-95.

Full list of publications:


Accolades and awards

  • 2018    Howard Knuttgen Lecture NEACSM
  • 2014    Nutrition and Bone Health award from the International Institute for Nutrition and Bone Health
  • 2014    Honorary Francqui chair at the Free University of Brussels
  • 2012    Sixth International Dairy Nutrition Prize 2012 from the Utrecht Group

Editorial roles

  • Associate Editor of the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Metabolism (from 2010)
  • Associate Editor of the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports (2009-2012)
  • Editorial Board of the European Journal of Sport Science (from 2006)

International journal review panel

Reviewer for >60 international, peer-reviewed journals including Diabetes, Diabetologia, Ann Neurology, J Appl Physiol, Am J Physiol, J Physiol, Eur J Appl Physiol, J Sports Nutr, Eur J Sport Sci, Clin Sci, Sports Med, Int J Sports Nutr, Am J Clin Nutrition, Brit J Sports Nutr, Brit J Nutr, Eur J Clin Invest, Am J Coll Nutr, Acta Scand, Exerc Sports Sci Rev, and others.

International journal review panel

Grant agency review panels

NWO, Diabetes funds Netherlands, Diabetes Cure Israel, New Zealand Department of Agriculture, FWO, NSERC, CIHR, The Dunhill Medical Trust, and various others.

Public engagement

  • Member of the scientific Advisory Board of the National Steering Committee on Malnutrition (2013 - present)
  • De National Steering Committee Malnutrition has been set up in 2005 and represents a multidisciplinary National Organisation with a representation from numerous (para)medical professional organisations. The steering committee has been able to get recognition of the problem and the treatment of malnutrition during disease by providing knowledge on malnutrition, the development of guidelines, screening and treatment tools, and the design and implementation of various projects in different healthcare sectors.
  • Member of the Editorial board of the Newsletter of the Knowledge Center Sugar and Nutrition (2007 - present)
  • Making suggestions for the contents of the newsletter on the topic of sport and nutrition, redirecting text and correcting where appropriate. In the past also writing a (popular scientific) brochure ‘The Human Engine’ on exercise metabolism and sports nutrition and assistance in writing a consensus paper on the relevance of using sportsdrinks to improve exercise performance. The readership of this newsletter is composed mainly of (sports)dieticians and nutritionists.
  • Advisor for the Dutch Health Council for the Committee malnutrition in the elderly (2010-2012) and the Committee on physical activity guidelines (2016-2017)
  • Ad hoc advisor / Key opinion leader for Nutricia Research (2009-2016)
  • Education internally, advice on the quality of research methodologies, support at designing and setting up research methods, translation of scientific research publications into practical application with regards to the development of clinical nutrition.
  • Ad hoc advisor / Key opinion leader for Friesland Campina Innovation Centre - DOMO Ingredients (2017-present)
  • Key opinion leader – internal education and brainstorm sessions with the industry to develop ideas for future research. External education in the form of interviews and webinars to explain the research and development people as well as the general public on the role of dietary protein in our diet.
  • Ad hoc advisor / member of the Science Assurance and Advisory Board of Jumbo Supermarkten (2018-present)
  • Education internally, advice on the impact of nutrition and exercise on exercise performance and the impact on exercise conditioning to prolonged exercise training. General advice on strategies to help people consume a healthier diet, lose weight and increase functional performance.
  • Lectures for professionals (dieticians, coaches, nutritionists, researchers, physicians:
    • Nederlandse Academie voor Voedingswetenschappen (NAV), invited lecture ‘Sustainable proteins for muscle maintenance’, May 2019, Delft, The Netherlands.
    • Symposium Ouderengeneeskunde, invited lecture ‘Spiermassa verlies tijdens hospitalisatie’, April 2019, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
    • Nationaal Ouderen en Voeding congress, invited lecture ‘Spiermassa verlies bij ouderen en de rol van eiwitinname’, Maart 2019, Ede, The Netherlands.
    • Student en voeding, invited lecture ‘You are what you eat’, Februari 2019, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
    • USCX, UM Sport, workshop ‘(un)healthy minds in (un)healthy bodies: all about balance”, January 2019, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
    • Daily Fresh Food symposium, invited lecture ‘Eiwit consumptie in de zorg; een reden tot zorg?’, December   2018, Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
    • Vereniging voor Osteogenesis Imperfecta (VOI), invited lecture ‘Muscle and Bone protein synthesis’, October 2018, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
    • HAN University of Applied Sciences symposium, invited lecture ‘Research in sports nutrition’, June 2018, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
    • Nationaal Voedingscongres, invited lecture ‘You are what you eat’, May 2018, Veenendaal, The Netherlands.
    • Leaders in performance conference: Nutrition (NOC*NSF), invited lecture “Dietary protein to support muscle and strength gains”, December 2017, Papendal, Arnhem, The Netherlands.
    • befranc, invited lectures “You are what you eat” and “Clinical sports nutrition”, October 2017, Brussels, Belgium.
    • The European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians (EFAD), invited lecture “Nutrition and exercise peformance”, September 2017, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
    • Nationaal Voedingscongres, invited lecture “Immobilisatie, eiwit en frailty bij de oudere patient”, January 2017, Ede, The Netherlands.
    • Sports Nutrition Conference, chair and invited lecture “What’s new in protein intake and muscle reconditioning”, September 2015, Berlin, Germany. Presentation, video interview, presentation on DVD and text for conference brochure.
    • Bridge2Food 4th Sports and performance nutrition 2014, invited lecture “Muscle health – research insights”, April 2014, Cologne, Germany. 

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