NPF Science Update: Protein
Posted Thursday, June 9, 2011

Each month, the NPF Science Update brings you news about scientific advances in the field of natural products. The NPF Science Update features contributions from scientists, academics, doctors, healthcare professionals, industry veterans and other experts. To sign up to receive the monthly Science Update via email, please click here: NPF Science Update.

Protein as a Dietary Supplement 

One of the most prevalent trends in the natural products industry has been the rapid ascent of protein as a dietary supplement. A major breakthrough in understanding protein occurred with the discovery that amino acids functioned as unique nutrient signals to trigger healthy metabolism. Amino acids are more than simply building blocks for new proteins. Their role in maintaining healthy metabolism helps to set a solid baseline for overall health as we age.

Our bodies are constantly repairing and rebuilding lean tissues, including muscles and bones. We need adequate protein to do so properly. Protein significantly helps to protect our bodies from age-related diseases including obesity, diabetes, muscle wasting, bone loss, and heart disease.

Protein is important in determining body composition by protecting lean tissues such as muscle and bones and eliminating body fat. Protein stimulates the body to burn extra calories, reduces hunger, and helps stabilize blood sugar. These metabolic roles are important to adult health and for treatment or prevention of obesity and diabetes. By simply maintaining an even, healthy metabolism as we age, our society may be able to turn the tide on conditions which have plagued us with increasing frequency for decades.

The benefits of protein are only realized if protein is provided in the right amounts, in the right quality, and at the right time. In order to trigger muscle repair and rebuilding, adults require about 30 grams of protein. If the protein comes from animal proteins such as whey or egg proteins, then 25 grams is adequate; if it comes from plant proteins such as wheat or soy, 35 grams are required. Protein consumed early in the day has the greatest impact on body composition, hunger, and blood glucose.

Early and consistent day-to-day intake is ideal. By helping to maintaining a simple, steady metabolic baseline and healthy bones and muscles, protein can be a vital cornerstone for ongoing well-being. Proper education and application will be key to proteinís future as dietary supplement.


Story Source: The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by NPF staff) from materials provided by Donald K. Layman, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.

For additional information about dietary protein sources, please view the following:

 

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