Protein is not your primary source of energy! So many people at the gym will follow suit and take protein shakes, and they might be impairing their kidneys, or lowering their calcium stores.
You have to understand why you’re eating nutrient supplements, if you do, and find out whether you really need them. Sometimes we follow the wrong suit. Take the case of Protein.
Proteins are essential for us. They are basically nitrogen carrying substances that are important for the production of your hormones, haemoglobin and enzymes. They are good for tissue growth, tissue repair and tissue maintenance.
How much of protein is enough?
The typical calculation of protein needed by your body is based on your body weight, about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. That’s roughly 65 grams for men and 50 grams for women. If you’re an athlete add about 20 grams more that the recommended grams.
Generally, the middle class consumes too much protein, much more than our bodies require. You walk into a nyama choma joint and a table of 5 people will order a whole leg of a goat! That’s anything between 4-5 kilos.
On the other hand, you might be one of many who believes that going on a protein diet helps you lose weight. Firstly, your body needs a balanced diet, and eating too much of anything can be really unhealthy.
Too much of one nutrient like protein means that you’re losing out on nutrients from carbohydrates that literally create the energy needed by your body to think, walk, laugh, sing, and hit the gym when you need it. So don’t be too quick to follow some of these recommended weight-loss, speak to your Doctor first.
2-minute speed reading on Protein & how it works
Chem class. Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids. Your body needs three types of amino acids to function; non-essential, essential and conditionally essential amino acids.
Non-essential amino acids produced naturally by your body, and so you don’t need to eat them. I guess that’s why they call them that.
Essential Amino Acids are different, our bodies can’t produce them, and so we must consume them through foods. Basically, when you eat beans, nuts, lamb, eggs, acids in your stomach twist the protein, and then your digestive system breaks these foods down using protease, it’s an enzyme :-). The protein is then absorbed into your bloodstream and your small intestine and sent around your body to be assembled into new proteins.
So what about the non-essential amino acids? We still need them and we can get them from food too. But our bodies can make them out of other chemicals. For instance, glutamine, glutamine, proline, and arginine are amino acids made in our bodies.
So, more than often, your body’s got you covered, except for when you get sick or injured, and can’t naturally produce enough of some of these amino acids. At this point, the amino acids become conditionally essential.
For example, pre-term infants (babies born before they’re 37 weeks) can be deficient in arginine, which causes a variety of health problems in the heart, lungs, brain, and intestines. And scientists think these infants’ bodies’ aren’t synthesizing enough of the proteins to facilitate the chemical reactions that make the arginine.
Amino acids for muscles & that extra info. that makes you sound smart
So now that we know the basics, consider how many people you know are using amino acids to build their muscles.
What these people talk about is building their skeletal muscle, their your quads, biceps and tightening the bum (which is much harder to do). Skeletal muscle is made up of bundles of muscle fibers which are basically membranes surrounding units called myofibrils.
Myofibrils are essentially bundles of these long proteins called actin, which is thinner and myosin which is thicker. When you contract a muscle these protein filaments slide past each other with myosin driving the movement.
So your muscle tissue is constantly making and breaking down proteins and your muscles grow when there’s more protein synthesis (production) than breakdown.
Exercise is a way to stimulate chemical pathways that cause more protein synthesis. When you work your muscles harder than usual, the extra tension on the muscle fibers causes microscopic tares, which damage the cell membrane (the connections between actin and myosin filaments).
This damage is what signals for more protein synthesis (production) for the body to repair the muscle fibers and creates new tissue. It makes more actin and myosin too but it’s not clear if you need to damage your muscle for growth.
If you eat protein when you work out your body mostly just has more amino acids hanging around to synthesize proteins in your muscles. And your body doesn’t really store extra amino acids for later. They get converted into other organic compounds that are used in metabolic pathways like glucose or acetyl or they get broken down and eliminated in urine.
Consult a doctor before taking supplements; not every store attendant knows the true effect of these on your body.