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The critical importance of Amino Acids (Protein) for general health and fighting brain disorders by Mauro Simonetti
I felt the need to write this article to give everyone a better and clearer understanding of amino acids (protein) and why it is critical to eat plenty of high-quality protein throughout every day of our lives, from morning until our last meal of the day. There are many misconceptions and misinformation about protein and it is important that people get a clear explanation. Protein is the micronutrient that has kept us surviving from the very beginning of time. We are all survivors of hunter gatherers, and through human history and science (good clinical studies, not corporately sponsored ones) we have evidence that the healthiest and strongest people are those who eat high-quality protein in reasonable quantities every day.
The first thing that people need to understand is that protein is the most important micronutrient to our bodies. We have over 800 muscles in our bodies and they fall into three muscle categories: skeletal, visceral and cardiac. This is why ignoring proper protein intake is damaging to our overall health — many people forget that our hearts and brains are also muscles and are in constant need of proper amino acids to survive and stay strong and healthy. I also want to clarify that protein is the micronutrient but technically speaking, proteins are large molecules that consist of amino acids, which make up every cell in our bodies. So basically, amino acids are the building blocks of muscle, and no bodily function can happen without it.
Furthermore, not consuming enough protein also means that weight loss or sculpting your body, if those are your goals, will no longer be an option because you’re sabotaging your ability to A) fulfill your potential inside the gym, and B) remain in good health, period. Also, without enough protein your body will start to pull fuel from places like your bones, organs and heart. Let me paint the picture very clearly here: You won’t stay healthy for long by avoiding proper daily protein intake. Most people are either undernourished or very undernourished in terms of protein consumption, hence why so many people are ill today.
Now, is helping you stay alive not enough? WOW! Alright, let’s take it up a notch. Protein also helps to keep bones, cartilage and blood healthy. Additionally, it works to keep hair, skin and nails revitalized and nourished. Protein also enables the body to heal more efficiently, as well as help men with libido issues and women with hormone imbalances. Protein also boosts and regulates immune function and last I checked, your immune system is what keeps you strong and healthy.
PLEASE READ THE LAST 3 PARAGRAPHS AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL IT SINKS IN ENOUGH THAT YOU EAT PLENTY OF PROTEIN EVERY DAY.
Let’s go even further. When you’re in the gym and you’re tearing muscle fibers with each grueling set (hopefully you are working hard and not socializing in a gym), the protein you consume helps the muscles that were compromised recover more quickly and efficiently, and it also helps repair muscle for nice toning and growth. This is why all of us who are educated in the industry recommend taking post-workout protein within an hour after your last set. Your body will soak all that protein up because essentially the shake will enter the cells very quickly to repair. Also, please try to find a high-quality whey or isolate such as a New Zealand brand (no hormones or antibiotics added as well as grass-fed cows) and preferably where the lactose (sugar) has been removed.
Meats, eggs and fish (preferably organic, please) are by far the highest quality source of protein and also most bioavailable to humans, which means those are the types that we assimilate best and most efficiently without losing any of the nutrients.
Now, how much protein do we eat? Clients often tell me, “Yeah but Mauro, ‘they say’ too much protein is not good.” First off, who are “they?” Why are you listening to “THEY” who are all uneducated in human health and anatomy? Most of these people who say this are not even eating enough protein to sustain an insect and prefer to eat the very foods that decline their health because “THEY” say those are better — meanwhile the world is obese and filled with chronic issues.
Let me make it easy for all of you to eat the right amount of protein daily. Do this and watch what happens to your overall health. The amount of protein you want to consume hinges on your fitness or weight loss goals. A good way to calculate how much protein you should consume in grams is to aim for your target weight, more or less, not what you currently weigh. The amount also depends on your training methods and goals.
Having said that, a good ratio is 1:1, pounds to grams. So if you want to weigh 180 pounds, aim for 180 grams of protein per day to feed the muscle and starve the fat. If you are healthy and at a good weight, you should match protein intake to your weight to sustain the muscle you have. Just make sure to eat it in increments and not too much in one shot. Spread your intake throughout the day as this will help your body assimilate the protein better and more efficiently (and there is only so much the liver can process in one serving anyway). For those who want to take on more muscle mass, I’ve found that taking in 1.5g to 2g per pound of weight is more than enough for men while 1.2g to 1.5g per pound works for women. Some clients have responded better to 1.5g per pound than 2g per pound, because we are all different. But if you follow these principles, you will not go wrong, I assure you. Just gauge yourself and see with time what fits your system the best.
Also, people tend to forget or not know that muscle BURNS fat; therefore, the more amino acids (protein) I eat, the more muscle I build, and in turn, the more fat I BURN! Just respect the amounts I suggested and you will be alright. Going overboard can lead to unpleasant weight gain because as I said before, there is only so much protein the body needs and can assimilate. It is also important to know that along with weight gain, overdoing it with your protein intake can lead to gastric distress and will hinder your assimilation. Remember, it’s not about consuming; it’s about assimilating and utilizing.
Let’s take it a major step even further. For those of you who have children with or know anyone with ADHD, autism, depression, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or any other form of brain issues, it is important to know that proper nutrition is what matters most — and the KEY ingredient is protein due to the importance of amino acids that feed brain functions. Also, avoiding gluten is also of primary importance as I stated with evidence in my “Gluten Facts” article. The combination of these two tips will significantly help those with any of the aforementioned conditions to thrive.
All professionals like me in our practice have been telling people for a long time now that amino acids are critical to help the brain mechanics of every human and especially those with brain disorders. I’ve always had personal clinical evidence and now we also have other clinical evidence as well as laboratory evidence that confirms all our findings.
You can read the research on this study at the link below. Remember, the solution is never in suppressing a health problem and making it worse; rather, it’s in treating the main cause of the problem.
Well, there it is. I am hoping that with this article I was able to shed some light on protein and debunk one of the worst food misconceptions.