Complete, Incomplete and Amino Acids, What’s there to know?
The definition of protein is any large organic compound made from one or more polypeptides, which are chains of amino acids joined in a genetically determined order by
The two types, Complete and Incomplete:
A complete protein is a protein that contains all the essential amino acids in appropriate amounts to allow normal growth and tissue maintenance when adequate energy is provided in the diet.
Examples: Animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, cheese and yogurt.
An incomplete protein is a protein that is missing one or more of the amino acids necessary for normal metabolism. Typically this is your vegetable protein.
Examples: Peanut butter, rice and beans, and most any vegetable or plant source.
Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins and most of the organs in the body, building cells and repairing tissue. Amino acids form antibodies to combat invading viruses and bacteria. They are necessary for the enzyme and hormonal systems, build nucleoproteins (RNA & DNA), and carry oxygen through the body and are required for muscle activity. Amino acids are divided into essential and non-essential:
Essential Amino Acids: 8 of 22 amino acids NOT produced by the body, thus making is essential that we get them from our diet. They are as follows:
• Isoleucine – stimulates the brain to produce alertness
• Leucine – stimulates protein production and storage, helps produce energy and healthy brain function
• Lysine – helps in absorption of calcium, formation of collagen that makes up bone cartilage and connective tissues
• Methionine – helps lower cholesterol and helps prevent disorders of hair, skin and nails. Methionine also plays an important role in urinary tract health
• Phenylalanine – found in protein foods is understood to perform as a pain reliever because it produces Nor epinephrine which transmits signals between nerve cells and the brain, keeps maintain alertness and reduces hunger
• Threonine – prevents fat buildup and elimination by assisting digestive tract function. Threonine is the most difficult amino acid to find
• Tryptophan – helps brain function in relieving headaches and aiding proper sleep; helps reduce anxiety and depression; helps lower cholesterol
• Valine – helps with nervous system and mental function
Non-essential Amino Acids: 14 of the 22 amino acids are produced by the body, making it non-essential in our diets. They are as follows:
• Alanine – helps metabolize sugars, muscle tissue building block, needed for brain and central nervous system function, and the immune system
• Arginine – helps in tissue repair, wound healing and cell regeneration, immune system function in fighting tumors, viruses and bacteria. Bone and muscle regeneration, and aids in general human development
• Asparagine – helps in metabolism of sugars, healthy brain and nervous system function and works in the formation of proteins, muscles, neurotransmitters, antibodies and brain receptors
• Aspartic acid – important in expulsion of toxins like ammonia that can be harmful to the central nervous system. May also aspartic acid might also help increase endurance
• Cysteine – works to protect cells from numerous sources of damage
• Cystine – antioxidant that helps slow the aging process and works to protect against radiation and pollution by fighting free radicals and carthinogens. Cystine is also important to skin health
• Glutamine – helps brain function and gives energy to the body
• Glutamic acid – helps brain function and increases mental capacity; helps maintain digestive tract health; helps weight loss in decreasing cravings
• Glycine – essential for a healthy immune system and cell development
• Histidine – helps bone development, the immune system and maintenance of a health digestive tract
• Hydroxyproline – works to create healthy skin, ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage and is Vitamin D assimilation, necessary for vitamin C absorption
• Proline – essential for bone and circulatory health
• Tyrosine – helps the nervous system and brain neurotransmitters like epinephrine, nor epinephrine, and dopamine and overall healthy brain function. Helps maintain good mood, memory, alertness, and hormone release.
• Serine – helps the immune system and has a number of digestive benefits
So how much protein do we require? A normal “average Joe” needs about 80-100 grams of protein per day as a minimum just to maintain their muscles and soft tissue. However, many of you are not “average Joe’s”. As a more active and athletic person you will need much more protein to recover from the demanding workouts on top of the normal maintenance.
It is recommended that an athlete that puts these types of demands on their body consume 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per lb of bodyweight similar to let’s say a bodybuilder. Your goals may be different from a bodybuilder but odds are you are working out just as intense and quite possibly more times per week than a typical bodybuilder. You’re also more likely to incur more injuries doing combat sports or extreme fitness training than a bodybuilder.
Many of you as I do probably do your grappling/MMA then throw in some type of strength training and conditioning on top of that. If you want a good protein supplement for your money’s worth check out www.allstarhealth.com
If you have any sites you have found better prices on or have a specific protein you think is the best please let everyone know. Have a great day.
Yours in fitness,
- Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, 8th edition. © 2009, Elsevier
- The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company