protein absorption

Protein Absorption and Digestion – the Basic Science

The absorption of proteins takes place in the human body through a process of digestions using enzymes called proteases. Protein is broken down into amino acids and absorbed using these enzymes, which make it possible to use the proteins from your food for the things your body needs them for. Common sources of protein in your meals can include dairy products, eggs, meat, nuts, grains, and legumes.

You can maximize protein absorption in a muscle building diet by combining these sources of protein, so you aren’t always getting the same single type in every meal. Absorption rates vary, so another benefit of eating different protein types is that your body will be absorbing protein now and later, instead of just one or the other. That will help you build muscle up effectively as well.

All proteins contain amino acids, which your body needs; however not every food source will contain a full collection of the nine essential amino acids. This is what people mean when they talk about eating complete proteins and combining proteins in their diet — they mean the processes of making sure you absorb proteins from various sources to be sure you get all nine essential amino acids for building muscle, keeping up your stamina, and staying healthy in general.

For an entertaining, detailed look at amino acids, watch this short video and then continue reading.

There are twenty total amino acids, but of those twenty only nine are essential. In other words, only nine of the twenty cannot be produced by the human body itself. Therefore, these nine are the only amino acids that you must absorb through your diet or nutritional supplements.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Your body’s protein absorption abilities will vary depending on the type of protein consumed, and your body’s requirements in amount of protein depend on variety of factors. However, here are the basic guidelines:

  • Adult men: Minimum 56 grams per day or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or double to 1.6 grams per kilogram if athletically active and building muscle.
  • Adult women: Minimum 46 grams per day or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or double to 1.6 grams per kilogram if athletically active and building muscle.

What’s the Point of Protein Supplements?

Protein supplements, for example shakes and bars, are designed to give your body an immediate dose of the all-important substance. Many people use protein shakes and protein bars to simply round out their existing diets, but a more specialized use is to take them right after working out to aid building muscle. For those interested in body sculpting, then, it’s important to either buy pre-made protein shakes, bars, or protein powders to mix your own and pump protein directly to your muscles after resistance training, and to understand the absorption of proteins as well as you can.

By keeping all the nutritional factors of how the body absorbs protein in mind, and using a fitness program designed around how to build muscle, you’ll be well on your way to sculpting the body you want. So fill up your protein shaker and get going!

Expert Knowledge About Protein Absorption

Whether you want to drop fat or build muscle, work out or simply understand your body better, it’s extremely important to know the basics of human biology with regard to the absorption of protein. When you are able to say honestly that you know how your diet will affect your body and vice versa, you will have much more control over both how you feel and the results you get from making lifestyle changes.

Everyone knows that crash diets don’t work because people don’t stay on their plans or else don’t get enough physical exercise to back it up. But do you know why people have such trouble staying on even¬†diets that work? Part of the answer lies in the processes of nutrient digestion, particularly protein absorption.

If you give your body the right amount of the right types of protein, you can boost muscle growth up to 100% without destroying your kidneys in the process. Understanding the guidelines above can help you see results, as long as you’re careful and consult a physician before making any changes to your diet and exercise habits. The information in this article and on this site is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

4 Responses to “Protein Absorption and Digestion: An Overview”

  1. how can i increase my natural protien absorbing system inside my body? pls reply as soon as possible.

  2. To increase the amount of protein your body absorbs, you should increase the amount of protein that you consume. See our article on types of protein for more information, including the absorption rates of whey, casein, and soy supplements:

  3. I weigh 221 pounds and I work out hard with weights 3 times weekly. I would like to know the following: how much protein do I need daily. I eat a lot of meat. Is this a good source of protein, or should I rely more on protein shakes?

  4. Hi Dan,

    Most Americans already get more protein in their diets than they need, but to get the biggest gains it’s important to make sure the timing of your intake is right. To answer your question, with your weight and resistance-training regimen, you should be getting 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, which works out to about 160 grams of protein for you daily. Considering that the average medium-sized steak contains about 60 grams of protein, if you eat a lot of meat you’re probably getting enough protein in your overall diet.

    But where protein shakes can help is for immediate post-workout nutrition. If you’re having trouble getting normal food within the 40 to 60 minutes after a pump, you’ll want to start taking a protein shake each time and “trade out” a small portion of meat from a regular meal to make room for the additional protein in your diet from the supplement. Also note that some of the world’s most successful bodybuilders eat very little (or no) meat. Long-term bodybuilding is most sustainable when supported by a balanced diet of flora and fauna, so you can always trade meat in for things like legumes, dairy, and even soy if you’re looking for a bit more variety.

    And of course, we have to say: none of these comments should be taken as official medical diagnosis or advice. Please check with your physician before making any large changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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