Protein is a super important class of nutrients our bodies need to survive and THRIVE. Whether you’re a hard training athlete or someone who just wants to live a normal healthy life, living without protein is impossible. Protein is needed for proper growth, maintenance and repair of body cells and tissues. Protein is made up of smaller compounds called amino acids (AAs). When a protein food or supplement contains all of the essential AAs it is regarded as a complete protein. Essential AAs are those which the body cannot synthesize therefore they must be provided from food or supplementation on daily basis.
There are also many other foods which contain protein but are considered incomplete because they lack one or several of the essential AAs. If any one food source lacks an essential amino acid by simply eating another food might just supply the limiting amino acid and make the body accessible to the complete array of protein essentials needed for growth and repair.
When combining incomplete protein foods, even when both foods are incomplete, each one might just have its own missing amino acids that differs from the other food. So when combining foods, one’s chances for obtaining all the essential AAs are greatly increased.
In total, experts claim there are 22 amino acids needed for optimum human health. All of these 22 AAs must be available to the body on a daily basis if one is to live a healthy productive life. Of these 22 AAs, 8 of them are considered essential for human health. The term essential refers to the fact that it is essential one must eat or ingest these AAs on a daily basis from food or supplement sources. The remaining 14 AAs can be produced, or synthesized, by the body in the event they are not made available with food.
Proteins are complex molecular structures which are very interesting and versatile. Most other nutrients contain carbon (C), oxygen (O), and hydrogen (H). Protein contains COH but includes a backbone of nitrogen (N). The more N our bodies can retain the stronger and healthier we become.
When protein intake is adequate to meet normal daily requirements and no more, a condition known as nitrogen equilibrium is experienced. When one is deprived of adequate protein a negative nitrogen balance is the known condition. Of course, equilibrium is the better of the two conditions, but those who maintain a N equilibrium oftentimes remain at the same strength and size despite changes in training intensity.
Negative nitrogen balance is bad news. When one is sick, injured, or being deprived of food, their body immediately tries to fill its nutritional void by cannibalizing itself–also know as catabolism. The body actually eats, or atrophies away its own muscle tissues (heart and lungs included) to extract the amino acids needed for current biological operations. This is why I endorse the daily use of high-protein foods and supplements.
The ideal condition for all health enthusiasts and athletes is to obtain a condition known as positive nitrogen balance. Positive nitrogen balance simply means your tissues are receiving more protein, and retaining more N than what’s being excreted daily.
Physiologic dynamics TISSUE REMODELING
I’ve explained that protein must be consumed on a daily basis if one is to achieve optimum health and performance. When one is deprived of protein, their body will fall into a catabolic state and literally cannibalize itself until protein is supplied by some food source or supplement. Muscle tissue is living tissue, which means it’s metabolically active. When one attains a healthy degree of lean tissue, they are healthier, and can keep off excess body fat easier as muscles need fuel to operate. In comparison, fat is inert and requires very little energy to maintain itself, that’s why developing muscle helps to keep off excess fat. The muscle maintenance process is fueled by fat. While stored fat, and the maintenance thereof, requires no energy so it remains right where it has decided to embed itself–usually on ones waistline, hips, buttocks, etc, get the point?
Scientists claim that in as little as every 6 months, all of the muscle tissue in our body is completely replaced by the food you eat. Since muscle tissue is constantly being remodeled it makes sense to feed our bodies with adequate protein on a regular basis–high quality foods and protein-rich supplements.
When you see a true health enthusiast, someone who eats correctly all the time, or an athlete who trains hard [and smart] year-round, you see individuals with a symmetrical tone to their physiques and exorbitant levels of energy that can only be explained by proper eating. As their bodies are growing, and at the same time remodeling, their exterior appearance looks very aesthetic due to the fact that the proteins [and other efficacious nutrients] they’ve been eating manifests in ultimate performance and appearance. Maintaining a positive nitrogen balance assures these benefits, and more!
I believe in food first then nutritional supplements to support nutritional voids and to empower the body with extra energy resources. The best times to eat protein is frequently throughout the day. Proper applications to nutritional strategies will produce dramatic benefits to muscle strength and endurance, overall health and, as a Bonus, you’ll look terrific as well!