Did you know that the human body uses just 21 amino acids to make all the proteins it needs to function and grow? A muscle, hormone, neurotransmitters (cell to cell messengers), a nerve cell, skin cells and organs. That is because amino acids, each a building block for the bigger picture, us, can be arranged in many different combinations. It’s possible for your body to make thousands of different kinds of proteins from just the same 21 amino acids found in No Yolking™ – 100 % Egg White Protein Powder. It’s why we call it “The Perfect Protein”.
“Just like a Lego house built with Lego bricks can be taken apart, and the bricks used to build something completely different” (like a cool T-Rex, a Disney castle or Lego Porsche), your body can take apart the amino acid building blocks that make up protein and re-use these to make new, totally different proteins. Recycling at its finest.
But wait, as it turns out, your cells can make several of the amino acids it needs from other molecules in your body but not all of them, and the ones it can is only provided of course those molecules or nutrients are available in an already healthy body.
Take the collagen protein made up of 19 amino acids for example, so needed for firm skin, a healthy gut lining, cartilage formation for good moving joints. The body naturally makes its own collagen by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids. Again it’s the amino acids that build the various types of protein in the body.
Oh, and If you are building muscle, your total body pool of protein or better yet Nitrogen, the body made from the amino acids, will need to be higher. Huh? Well, you need more nitrogen available then your body burned during your workout. A “pool” or positive balance signals your body to get itself into an anabolic, or muscle-building state. We each need varying levels depending on our activity levels, gender, age and whether we plan to compete in a bodybuilding competition or just looking to be fit. We will blog more on that another time.
For now, let’s focus on where these amino acid building blocks come from? We will break it down into 3 groups.
Essential, Conditionally Essential and Non-essential.
You need to obtain some AA’s (amino acids) from food, otherwise, it would be like a Lego set missing nine kinds of bricks or the wheels needed for the Porsche to be a complete set. There are certain things you just couldn’t build without the missing building blocks.
The nine amino acids our bodies cannot make are called:
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS: You have to get these from the food you eat. They are found in foods like milk, eggs and meat and also a wide variety of plants (albeit eggs or egg whites are the only one with all 21 amino acids ). We would also suggest taking a careful look at which ones are in plants and making sure you are eating the variety required to get all in a sufficient amount. It takes a bit of careful work figuring it all out. Vegans need to watch for limiting amounts of certain amino acids when doing a plant-based protein diet. (Limiting amounts refers to the amino acid being present in the food but not in sufficient enough quantity to do the job).
Scientists have performed studies such as one that used only protein from corn. The corn containing some but not all the 21 amino acids, had their subjects become extremely ill over time due to the lack of some other vital components needed to properly manufacture new healthy cells. However, once the rest of the deficient amino acids were fed to the subjects, they regained health. Cited: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/venom/building-blocks-protein
These 9 Essential amino acids are what is referred to as “complete protein”. It’s important to remember that complete does not mean that it contains the “Conditional” Amino Acids that you may require.
The first 9 essential amino acids are as follows:
#1 Histine (His) #2 isoleucine (lle) #3 leucine (leu) #4 lysine (Leu) #5Methione (Met) #6 Phenylalanine (Phe) #7 Threonine (Thr) # Tryptophan (Trp) #9 Valine (Val)
CONDITIONALLY ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS:
There are another 7 amino acids that can be synthesized in your body, but in certain circumstances, like young age, illness or hard exercise and stress, you need to get them in additional amounts from foods to meet the body requirements for them. We call Conditionally Essential Amino Acids. In today’s world with health being a priority due the COVID 19 pandemic, more than ever it’s important to give our bodies what it needs to be at its healthiest.
#10 Arginine (Arg) #11 Cysteine (Cys) #12 Glutamine (Gln) #13 Glycine (Gly) #14 Proline (Pro) #15 Serine (Ser) #16 Tyrosine (Tyr)
NON-ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS: These amino acids can be synthesized in your body from other amino acids, glucose and fatty acids, so you do not need to necessarily provide them directly.
#17 Alanine (Ala) #18 Asparagine (Asn) #19 Aspartic acid (Asp) # 20 Glutamic acid (Glu) #21 Selenocysteine (Sec) (the newest baby on the block and often missed by in the debate is there 20 or 21 amino acids)
Some Amino Acids will turn into glucose to burn as energy for the body. This is one important component on a keto diet where the body burns proteins and fats for energy or fuel and only complex carbohydrates from vegetables and some fruits. Eliminating refined carbohydrates altogether that if not burned turn into body fat and spike blood sugar levels, the cause of so many illnesses and conditions.
Getting the proper amounts in proper proportions is important and so we do have some generalities of amounts to take whether male, female or child, age and activity levels. In general, adults need 0.8 g of protein per day for every kilogram of body weight — even more if you work out regularly! On average, an adult male (weighing 150 lb/68 kg) needs about 56 g of protein each day while an adult female (weighing 132lb/60 kg) needs approximately 46 g of protein each day. This recommendation includes those who are generally active (who do about one hour of activity per day) and applies for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
Moreover, getting protein throughout the day is always better than one big blast at dinnertime.
Zucchini Pancakes for dinner? Don’t forget dessert! Or treats for your kids lunch. Puddings, Protein Packed Zucchini Brownies, etc. At Easter and other special occasions you’ll want to make healthy chocolate options that don’t spike your blood sugar levels but are good brain and body fuel that will help keep kids and yourself a little calmer.