You've seen the benefits of increasing protein intake touted all over the Internet, the gym and the social media feeds of your fitness gurus. What is protein, exactly?
The Vital Role Protein Plays in Whole-Body Health
To understand what protein is and why it's important to your health, you must first know that proteins are essentially the building blocks of your entire body. Every one of your cells contains protein, which they need to repair themselves and replicate.
When your body breaks protein down, it turns into a variety of amino acids. These can be classified into three separate categories: essential, non-essential and conditional amino acids.
Essential amino acids are the ones your body cannot make on its own, thus must be supplied by your diet. Non-essential proteins are made by your body as a result of breaking down protein, while conditional amino acids are required during stress, illness and physical trauma.
Whey protein, which is derived from cow's milk, are considered "complete" proteins because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids your body is incapable of producing on its own. For this reason, whey protein is practically the gold standard for nutritional supplements. When you start looking for a protein powder, whey products are usually the best option from a nutritional standpoint. Lactose-intolerant women don't have to choose between missing those essential amino acids or gastrointestinal distress, though. Whey protein isolate products, like Pinup Girl Protein, are microfiltered to remove lactose. Isolates provide all the nutrition, with none of the stomach upset.
The Risks of Protein Deficiency
Deficiency in any essential amino acid can cause trouble for your body in a variety of ways. Being deficient in even one can make it difficult for your body to synthesize other proteins, and can lead to muscle loss, depression and anxiety or even anemia.
Fortunately, it’s easy to build lean muscle, shed excess fat and make sure your body has all the protein and essential amino acids it needs. High-quality protein supplement powders can be mixed directly to make delicious shakes or mixed into your favorite recipes for an extra boost.