A few things you may not know about protein

Steak

How much protein do we need?

Protein requirements are still debated among experts. The World Health Organization set the protein requirement for the average healthy adult to .8grams/kilogram. However, other research shows that in stressed individuals, a protein intake of 1.5 grams/kilograms vastly improved metabolic functions and coping mechanisms.(1)

What does this mean? This suggests that for anyone having some stress to deal with, higher intakes of protein are recommended. Whether it is day-to-day stress or physical stress, protein is needed to help heal and repair the body. Since most of us live under higher-stress conditions, it can be assumed that we would need more protein in order to cope.

What kind of protein should we eat?

Just as important as how much protein we should eat is what type of protein we should eat. In order to increase our metabolism, the amino acid profile of specific foods should be considered. For example, according to Danny Roddy, author of Hair Like A Fox, methionine, cysteine, and tryptophan in excess do not have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body whereas as amino acids such as proline and glycine do. Eating a diet rich in eggs and organic dairy products can help one to keep a balance of what type of amino acids are consumed.

What do we need proteins for?

Proteins participate in many biological processes in our body. Without them the following processes would be impossible:

• Food digestion
• Blood clotting
• Cellular respiration
• Normal metabolism
• The formation of new cells for tissue renewal
• Fighting off infections
• Muscle building

To give you an idea of what role each amino acid plays in the body, take a look at the following list. Also, provided are food sources of the amino acids:

Alanine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, corn, dairy products, eggs, fish, gelatin, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, and whole grains. Alanine is vital for the production of protein, essential for proper function of the central nervous system and helps form neurotransmitters. Only the L form of amino acids are constituents of protein. An important source of energy for muscle tissue, the brain and central nervous system; strengthens the immune system by producing antibodies; helps in the metabolism of sugars and organic acids.

Arginine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, carob, caseinate, chocolate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, oatmeal, popcorn, raisins, seafood, seeds, sesame seeds, soy, sunflower seeds, whey, and whole grains. Arginine is vital for the production of protein. Only the L form of amino acids are constituents of protein. Arginine crosses the blood-brain barrier, is a precursor for nitric oxide and is a responsible for the secretion of hormones such as growth hormone, glucagon and insulin. Assists in wound healing, helps remove excess ammonia from the body, stimulates immune function, and promotes secretion of several hormones, including glucagon, insulin, and growth hormone.

Asparagine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Asparagine is a non-essential amino acid that the body can manufacture in the liver. Only the L form of amino acids are constituents of protein.

Aspartic Acid is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, sugar beet molasses, whey, whole grains, young sugar cane. Hydrolysis of asparagine. Reaction of ammonia with diethyl fumarate. Combines with other amino acids to form compounds that absorb and remove toxins from the bloodstream.

Citruline is found in Melons; Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Cucumber. It is used for the detoxification of ammonia, a byproduct of protein breakdown, and in the treatment of fatigue. It is also thought to stimulate the immune system.

Cysteine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Hydrolysis of keratin. Strengthens the protective lining of the stomach and intestines, which may help prevent damage caused by aspirin and similar drugs. Functions as an antioxidant and is a powerful aid to the body in protecting against radiation and pollution.

Glutamic Acid is found inMeat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and protein-rich plant foods The most common excitatory (stimulating) neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, has protective effects on the heart muscle in people with heart disease.

Glutamine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Hydrolysis of gluten, beet root or other proteins. Serves as a source of fuel for cells lining the intestines, also used by white blood cells and is important for immune function.

Glutathione is found in Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, asparagus, avocado, and walnuts A significant component of the collective antioxidant defenses, and a highly potent antioxidant and antitoxin in its own right.

Glycine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, gelatin, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, sugar cane, whey, whole grains. Reaction of ammonia with chloroacetic acid. The ability to inhibit neurotransmitter signals in the central nervous system.

Histidine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Neurotransmitter, stimulant of gastric secretion, vasodilator, and blood pressure regulator.

Hydroxyproline is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, gelatin, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Non-essential amino acid, a precursor of proline which is needed for collagen production.

Isoleucine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, corn, dairy products, eggs, fish, hemp seed, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, pumpkin seed, seafood, seeds, soy, squash seed, whey, whole grains. Synthetic: amination of alpha-bromo-beta-methylvaleric acid. Helps preventing muscle protein breakdown during exercise, preventing muscle loss at high altitudes and prolonging endurance performance in the heat.

Leucine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, corn, dairy products, eggs, fish, hemp seed, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, pumpkin seeds, seafood, seeds, soy, squash seeds, whey, whole grains. Synthetic: alpha-bromo acid. Helps with the regulation of blood-sugar levels, the growth and repair of muscle tissue (such as bones, skin and muscles), growth hormone production, wound healing as well as energy regulation. Prevents the breakdown of muscle proteins.

Lysine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, cheese, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, lima beans, meat, milk, nuts, potatoes, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains, yeast. Fermentation of glucose or other carbohydrates, synthesis from caprolactam. Helps with the building of muscle protein, assists in fighting herpes and cold sores. It is required for growth and bone development in children, assists in calcium absorption and maintaining the correct nitrogen balance in the body and maintaining lean body mass.

Methionine is found in Brewer’s yeast, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, meat, seafood, whey. Synthesized from HCN, acrolein and methyl mercaptan. Supplies sulfur and other compounds required by the body for normal metabolism and growth. Improves memory recall in people with AIDS-related nervous system degeneration.

Ornithine is found in Meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. Induces the release of growth hormone in the body, which in turn helps with fat metabolism. It is required for a properly functioning immune system and liver and assists in ammonia detoxification and liver rejuvenation. Helps in healing and repairing skin and tissue.

Phenylalanine is found in Almonds, avocado, bananas, beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, cheese, corn, cottage cheese, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, lima beans, meat, nuts, ovalbumin, peanuts, pickled herring, pumpkin seeds, seafood, seeds, sesame seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Synthesis of alpha-acetaminocinnamic acid. Influences certain chemicals in the brain that relate to pain sensation. Helpful for some people with Parkinson’s disease and has been used to treat chronic pain. It is used in elevating the mood since it is so closely involved with the nervous system. It helps with memory and learning. It has been used as an appetite suppressant.

Proline is found in Avocados, beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Synthesized from ornithine and glutamic acid. Helps strengthen cardiac muscle, improves skin texture and aids collagen formation and helps contain the loss of collagen during aging.

Serine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Synthesized from glycine. Serine is required for the metabolism of fat, tissue growth and the immune system as it assists in the production of immunoglobulins and antibodies.

Taurine is found in Brewer’s yeast, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, meat, ox bile, seafood. Is needed for fat digestion, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, the control of cholesterol serum levels in the body, maintaining cell membrane integrity.

Threonine is found in Beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, nuts, seafood, seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Threonine is important for the formation of many proteins and tooth enamel, collagen, and elastrin. It metabolizes fat and prevents the buildup of fat in the liver, and is useful with intestinal disorders, and indigestion. Antiulcer.

Tryptophan is found in Bananas, beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, cottage cheese, dairy products, dates, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, meat, milk, nuts, peanuts, protein (hydrolysis), seafood, seeds, soy, turkey, whey, whole grains. Synthetic: conversion of indole to gramine with methylation then interaction with acetylaminomalonic ester and hydrolysis. Tryptophan is essential for the production of the B vitamin, niacin, which is vital for the brain to manufacture the key neurotransmitter, serotonin. It enhances the release of growth hormones, and suppresses the appetite.

Tyrosine is found in Almonds, avocados, bananas, beans, brewer’s yeast, brown rice bran, caseinate, cheese, cottage cheese, dairy products, eggs, fish, lactalbumin, legumes, lima beans, meat, milk, nuts, peanuts, pickled herring, pumpkin seeds, seafood, seeds, sesame seeds, soy, whey, whole grains. Helps in suppressing the appetite and reducing body fat, production of skin and hair pigment, the proper functioning of the thyroid as well as the pituitary and adrenal gland.

Valine is found in Dairy products and red meat. Whey protein and egg protein supplements. Promotes mental vigor, muscle coordination and calm emotions. Preventing muscle loss at high altitudes.

References:

1. Committee of Military Nutritional Research. The Role of Protein and Amino Acids in Sustaining and Enhancing Performance. 1999

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