Protein. It is the building block of our bodies. Although the human body is about two-thirds water the proteins form the structure and function of the system. Along with fats, proteins form the structure at our joints and along our skeletal system. Protein is also important in enzyme production, regulation of cells and hormones, and in immune function. Protein is the structural component of muscle in our bodies.
Protein is made up of amino acids in various configurations. When we eat proteins, and they are digested, they are broken down to their amino acids again. These amino acids are then sent to areas in the body where they will serve a function. Some amino acids can be produced in the body but others must be taken in through our food, or supplements. These are called essential amino acids. Proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids are complete proteins. Incomplete proteins, such as some vegetables and grains, are missing one or more of the essential amino acids.
Our muscles are designed to move use around and support our skeletal system. When they are worked within their normal range of motion and strength level they tear slightly and repair quickly. When we work our muscles beyond their normal capacity the fibers tear significantly and must recover and repair to reach full potential again. Since muscles are made up of proteins and water they must receive those amino acids that we digested to rebuild the proteins in the muscle. When we neglect these muscles and do not supply them with the proper proteins they take longer to recover and in severe cases rob other muscle proteins to repair themselves.
Protein ingested through a healthy diet is broken down and then stored for muscle repair as needed. It is also used for energy when other sources are depleted. Due to the inability of the body to produce nine of the amino acids the body cannot repair, or build new, muscle without protein taken in through ingestion. Fatigue, insulin resistance, loss of muscle mass, and hormonal irregularities are symptoms of protein deficiency. None of these is conducive to optimal performance or muscular gain. No other macronutrient can be converted to protein. Fats and carbohydrates can be used for energy but not for muscle repair or production.
Ensuring adequate protein intake is paramount in building muscle and ensuring quick recovery. Without proteins, and the amino acids from those proteins, the body will not be able to repair damages to the muscles and other structures of the body. If quality protein is not taken in through diet, or supplementation, the body will have to rob protein from the muscles to repair daily damage to cells and organs. This leads to muscle loss and decreased performance.
Protein intake needs to be a priority for anyone who is taxing their muscles through daily workouts or strenuous work. This protein is needed for most of the body’s functions and cannot be produced by the body itself. Complete proteins and supplementation are good ways to get the needed protein.
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