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Essential Amino Acids for Muscle Building

Protein is important for everybody, whether you're a hard-training athlete, or someone who just wants to live a normal healthy life. Protein is needed for proper growth, maintenance and repair of body cells. It is made up of smaller compounds called amino acids. When a protein food or supplement contains all of the essential amino acids, it is regarded as a complete protein.

Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot synthesize, so they must be obtained from food or supplementation on daily basis. There are many foods that contain protein but are incomplete because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids. Combining incomplete protein foods is a good way of making sure you get all the amino acids you need.

The term essential refers to the fact that it is essential that one must eat or ingest these amino acids on a daily basis from foods or supplements. The remaining amino acids can be produced or synthesized by the body in the event they are not obtained from the diet. Most nutrients contain carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Protein contains all three but also includes nitrogen.

The more nitrogen our bodies can retain the stronger and healthier we become. When protein intake is adequate to meet our normal daily requirements and no more, a condition known as nitrogen equilibrium is experienced. When one is deprived of adequate protein, negative nitrogen balance occurs. Of course, equilibrium is the better of these two conditions, but those who maintain nitrogen equilibrium often remain at the same strength and size despite changes in training intensity.

Negative nitrogen balance is bad news. When you're sick, injured or being deprived of food, your body tries to fill its nutritional void by cannibalizing itself, a process known as catabolism. The body actually eats its own muscle tissue (heart and lungs included) to extract the amino acids it needs to operate. The ideal condition for health enthusiasts and athletes is to attain a condition known as positive nitrogen balance which means your tissues are getting more protein, and retaining more nitrogen than is being excreted daily.

Most experts believe the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is too low. Whether you're a casual fitness participant or a world-class athlete, try eating RDA-recommended doses of protein for any length of time, and see if you grow in stamina, strength and muscle tone. Chances are you won't. We believe that 1 gram of complete protein should be consumed for every pound of lean body weight you carry on a daily basis.

Of course, eating that much from food might seem impossible, but it should be spread out throughout the day in four separate feedings rather than trying to eat the entire amount in one sitting and you will undoubtedly get 33% more protein from the other foods you take in too. In anycase, it is useful and practical to use something like our Complete Protein powder to increase your intake of protein to optimal value, prevent a negative nitrogen balance and get sufficient essential amino acids into your system without overeating.

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