What is Protein and How Does it Help Build Muscle?

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Just about everyone knows what protein is, right? For certain plenty of people probably think they understand it and know where you can find it, but are you sure? Just to be safe let’s review what is protein and how it does help build muscle.

Remember, knowledge is power and knowing more about the vital nutrients that go into building a healthy and strong body is always a good idea.

Protein Basics

Proteins are a vital component of how our body is made up. It is an organic compound made up of one or more chains of amino acids. The proteins are broken up for their specific amino acids which are then used in the growth and repair of tissues in the body. Literally they are part of every cell in the body.

This constant breakdown means you need a steady supply available which is why the medical and nutritional community endorses a minimum level of protein intake for a healthy body.Protein Shake

Common sources of protein are:

  • Meat, fish, poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy and dairy products,
  • Legumes
  • Tofu
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Some fruits and vegetables
  • Manufactured types in isolated powder form.

Of those sources of protein they are categorized as either complete or incomplete. Complete sources provide all the essential amino acids you need to ingest to ensure a healthy body. This list includes the first three options, dairy, eggs, meat. Incomplete has some but not all, however you can mix and match to get enough of what you need. The incompletes are beans, nuts, grains, fruits, etc.

The last item on the list has no direct category because often it is better than complete, containing essential amino acids found in food and amino acids that the body creates from breaking down proteins. It might contain the 20 amino acids that makes up common protein sources and then have an extra 4-5 that your body readily uses making it a very superior form of protein.

How does it Work?

So aside from what is protein, you need to get the basic idea of how it works in relation to muscle growth. Let’s follow the logic here; protein is made up of amino acids. When you ingest protein it gives the body a supply it needs of amino acids after the protein is digested.

When you workout the muscle tissues in the body are broken down. To repair them the body needs specific amino acids. Think of it like taking a hammer and punching a hole in the wall. To repair the hole you need materials. To make the wall stronger you might want to reinforce it to prevent that same thing from happening which requires additional materials.

Beyond just being available to build muscle, protein is also utilized to assist in synthesizing hormones and enzymes, maintaining fluid balance, building antibodies, building bones and cartilage, and building blood. Those are all important factors as well and are important for the structural integrity of the body that carries the muscle.

The Bottom Line

What is protein? It is an extremely valuable component to the body if you want to build muscle. Along with the actual necessity for components you use in repair and growth, you also need an excess available for other functions. If they body doesn’t have what it needs then it simply breaks down muscle tissue to get the amino acids a process might require. So as you can see, for muscle growth and maintaining what you do build, you need protein.

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