Protein is Your Body’s Vital Building Block

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Dr. Maupin explains the importance of having sufficient protein in your diet.

When I tell my patients that they need a high protein diet, all they can think of is meat…but protein sources are found in many parts of our diet and eating a variety of protein sources is the key to health, we should find out what we should eat and why?

Protein contains amino acids that are the major building blocks to make  our muscles, skin, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and bones.  It also supplies the components of our skin, hair and nails, and carries with it calcium (the major component of bones and connective tissue).  Protein is found in cheese, milk, all milk products, whey for protein shakes, pea protein, fish, all seafood, chicken, lamb, eggs, Quinoa and beans for building muscle. Pieces of proteins make up every fluid the body makes, including hormones, enzymes, peptide communicators, the immune globulins, semen, breast milk, and vaginal discharge….is it any wonder that I tell my patients to increase protein in their diets!

Despite the need for amino acids and short chains of amino acids called peptides, we also need a variety of foods, all colors at every meal to provide the other building blocks of our body.  For example, fat is a very necessary food for every person, at every meal.  When I was pregnant I wanted to feed my baby everything she needed to build a healthy beautiful brain, so I ate Braun Schweiger every day (made from liver) for lunch with a salad.  The Braun Schweiger provided Rachel, my daughter, with the building blocks for an amazing brain. Our brains are almost all fat.  That is the type of tissue that nerves are made of, but nerves also need B12 to work properly and B12 is primarily from animal products. It is relatively easy to include fat in our diets, but it is truly difficult to get enough protein to build muscle on a vegan diet. My vegan patients must be experts in obtaining protein from their diet and must be aware of the components in all the food they eat to get the proper nutrition.

Carbohydrates are made for “action”.   Carbohydrates are required for exercise, walking and brains also burn carbohydrates when you are doing “ brain work”. Carbohydrates are stored as fat if we eat them but don’t exercise!  Think before you eat carbohydrates about your next 12 hours and whether you are going to exercise to burn the carbohydrates in your diet.

So How Much Protein Do We Need?

Growing teenagers, people who lift weights and try to gain muscle, pregnant women (need a minimum of 100 gms a day) and patients like mine on testosterone need more protein in their diet than the average sedentary, adult.

To quantitate the number of grams of protein you need to sustain your body with a high percentage of muscle, a person needs more than ½ their weight in grams of protein. For example a 125 lb. woman with average to high muscle mass will need more than 62.5 grams of protein a day. A person with higher muscle mass will need more than that.

For athletes, weight lifters, patients trying to lose weight and sustain their current muscle mass, they need to eat the equivalent number of grams of protein to their weight,every day.

To do this a person will have to know how many grams are in each serving of their current foods and if they aren’t eating enough, they should add high protein, low carb protein shakes times before or after they work out or exercise.  A typical protein shake will have 15 to 20 grams per serving and less than 5-10 grams of carbohydrate.

An average size  hamburger has about 20 grams of protein.  Add beans, peas, cheese, yogurt, butter, ricotta cheese, milk, eggs, custard, chicken, fish fillets, shrimp, and protein bars.  Be careful not to overeat carbohydrate with your protein which can cause you to gain fat, while you make muscle.

Why do we need more protein on the days we work out, especially with weights?  Weight training is a great muscle builder, in fact it is the best form of exercise for increasing your muscle mass.  But why do people who engage in this type of activity require more protein than those who walk?  The answer is in the physiology of human muscle when stressed by weight training exercises.

When you work out with weights you put specific stress on your muscles, and during the hour or hours you engage in this type of exercise your muscles are broken down. That’s right, initially you LOSE MUSCLE! The act of physical labor on the human body that uses weights against gravity causes stress on the muscle fibers and they are broken down, their components (all made of protein) are then excreted from the body.  We don’t recycle much of the broken-down muscle! Instead, we must provide new building blocks, or amino acids that are circulated to the muscles from our diet, tp build back the muscle and even build more than was there the day before your exercised! This is the reason weight-lifters work out the top half of their body one day and let it rest (to build muscle) the next day while they exercise the bottom half of their body!

Now let’s talk about protein necessary for aerobic exercise like running or fast walking.  Distance running does not build muscles in the legs (or anywhere else), because this type of aerobic activity breaks down muscles that are working hard, but they are not stressed against gravity enough to build muscle, unless the runner is obese. Obese people who do or do not exercise have huge calves not because they work out, but because their legs have to hold up more weight than it is designed to support so their lower legs lift a fat body every day!  Runners, however, are usually slender, and their calves, quads, and hamstrings are slender too.  They do not build muscles while running.  The purpose of running is the production of endorphins for enjoyment, and the aerobic benefit to the cardiovascular system.  Running also burns alot calories so carbohydrates are needed to give the current muscles energy to run.  If you have ever looked at runners’ legs, they are not “cut” like lifters legs, that show the muscle bellies of the legs, but they are narrow long and smooth. These people don’t need as much protein as a lifter even though they are running every day, because they don’t require as much protein to build back what they already have plus more protein to make the muscles bigger! They just must sustain the muscle mass that is being used.  Their need is in carbohydrates that give them energy to feed the muscle fibers.

As people age they lose muscle mass unless they take testosterone and eat a high protein diet. Left to nature their muscle mass decreases by 3-8 % EVERY YEAR between the ages of 40 and 90, unless you take a healthy dose of testosterone.  Aging adults are advised to eat more protein to prevent this catabolism but truly it doesn’t work if you don’t replace the hormone that signals muscles to grow which is testosterone.

Remember that protein comes primarily from animal products but can also be found in many kinds of beans and peas, but not in any fruit. Remember to grow muscle you need

  • Protein in grams per day equal to your weight
  • Varied colorful diet with enough fat and carbohydrates.
  • Testosterone
  • Weight bearing exercise

Another reason supplements might not be necessary: “Protein is in every food group except fruit,” Dr Webb says.

Every human was born to eat a variety of foods to satisfy all their daily nutritional needs. The benefits of variety include the types of protein sources. Meat is an obvious source of protein, but “thankfully we can find protein in a multitude of plant-based sources, including lentils, tempeh, tofu, and beans,” Corwin says.

Barkoukis, a researcher on protein and nutrition, advises that “Variety in diet is the best plan,” she says. “Beans are an amazing powerhouse,” however they do not have all the amino acids the body needs to sustain life. “Not all protein sources are alike, or equivalent. Animal proteins are “complete” in that they contain all nine essential amino acids, while most plant proteins often have some—but not all—of those aminos that we cannot make in our bodies, so we must get them from a food source.” Quinoa has all the essential proteins; beans are incomplete and should be combined with other sources.

For those who always ask how food work, here it is taken from a book called Human How do the proteins from foods, denatured or not, get processed into amino acids that cells can use to make new proteins? When you eat food the body’s digestive system breaks down the protein into the individual amino acids, which are absorbed and used by cells to build other proteins and a few other macromolecules, such as DNA. Nutrition.

  1. In the mouth your saliva begins the metabolism of proteins with amylase that is produced in your salivary glands. Your chewing breaks protein down into small pieces to help digestion.
  2. In the stomach acids (Hydrochloric acid from gastric juices and an enzyme pepsin to break down protein. Proteins take longer in the stomach to break- down so you feel full longer when you eat proteins.
  3. The small intestine is the major player in protein digestion. Here the Pancreas secretes trypsin and chymotrypsin These enzymes break food protein into amino acids.
  4. At the end of your small intestine there are specialized cells that transport protein into the bloodstream, and it circulates to where it is stored to make vital enzymes and building blocks for when you haven’t been eating.
  5. Amino acids are recycled to make new proteins (muscle, enzymes, skin hair, etc. Amino acids to build other biological molecules containing nitrogen.

 “It is critical to maintain amino acid levels by consuming high-quality proteins in the diet, or the amino acids needed for building new proteins will be obtained by increasing protein destruction from other tissues (stealing protein from your muscles) within the body, especially muscle. This amino acid pool is less than one percent of total body-protein content. Thus, the body does not store protein as it does with carbohydrates (as glycogen in the muscles and liver) and lipids (as triglycerides in adipose tissue). such as DNA, RNA, and to some extent to produce energy.”  Eating protein is vital to life!

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author. • (314) 993-0963. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and please check “ Like “. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at BioBalanceHealth.

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