How much protein should I eat?

Dec. 30, 2014

In this episode, registered nurse Amelia, food scientist Julie and me discuss protein. Protein is fascinating for a million different reasons; not enough eventually leads to muscle wasting, too much to an inefficient conversion to glucose. 

How much protein should you be eating? What type? When? Unfortunately, we can't answer those questions but we can certainly guide you through some self-experimentation to find out.

Amino aicds are the building blocks of protein. Certain amino acids are gluconeogenic, meaning they can enter the citric acid cycle and be converted into malate and pyruvate and then glucose. Others are ketogenic and convert into acetyl-CoA and then ketone bodies. Many amino acids are both ketogenic and gluconeogenic! It's complicated, but know that the branched-chain amino acids  leucine, isoleucine and valine are the most ketogenic, and you should favour them for the purposes of athletic performance. Branched-chain amino acids have been shown to increase the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet.

Your body has two states: fasted (without food) and post-fed (absorptive). Long endurance activity is likely to induce the fasted state, and when combined with the presence of catabolic hormones like cortisol and epinephrine, this will lead to the breaking down of skeletal muscle tissue (bad). You can potentially avoid this by supplementing with branched-chain amino acid capsules during the activity. My favourite supplement for this is MAP.

In general, Julie prefers whole food sources of protein rather than supplements like MAP or whey protein. Whey is a rich source of cysteine, the primary rate-limiting factor for glutathione production, but a potentially less allergenic source is PharmaNAC.

Amelia rightly points out that it's not just about the amount of protein consumed, but how well it's digested and assimilated. Digestion seems to become less efficient in older people so they may need to eat more protein. Infections and general dysbiosis can also affect protein digestion, especially as with an h. Pylori infection. We see lots of infections on the new upgraded BioHealth 401H GI Pathogen screen.

Organic acids testing gives tremendous insight into cellular metabolism and can help you understand exactly how well you're utilising your protein.

Do you have questions? Please get in touch, and we'll answer them on the show.

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