Protein Optimization Provides Hormonal Advantage

Summary: Protein is recognized world-wide for its superior nutritional ability to enhance HGH supplementation.

Protein intake helps human growth hormone production

Nothing illustrates more clearly how off the conventional wisdom on diet is than the way in which protein has been positioned as a second class status, and meat, a major source of protein and many other nutrients, condemned. Amid the misguided fat-phobia frenzy, protein has been found guilty by association because many protein sources, like meat and dairy products, contain a substantial amount of fat. [1]

Because both fat and protein, when utilized properly, are our allies and not our enemies, this has been a double-blunder. It is one of the many reasons why the more the “experts” preach, the fatter we get.

Amino Acids

Protein, made up of amino acids, [2] has an extremely impressive resume. Except for the water, it is more plentiful in our bodies then any other substance. Protein is derived from the Greek word protos, “first” – a fitting description given that it is the main constitute of all living cells. Our immune system is chiefly composed of protein, and so are the thousands of enzymes that catalyze every bodily function from the blink of an eye to the burning of fat.

The vital anabolic processes by which the body renews and reveals itself require protein. Protein deficiency is marked by wholesale deterioration of the body that mirrors the aging process, including impaired immunity, loss of lean body mass, and diminished mental function and physical vigor. While some amino acids can be synthesized by the body, others must be supplied by the diet and are termed “essential amino acids.” Specifically, absent regular dietary intake of the following amino acids, life cannot be sustained: leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan.

Hormonal Advantage

These and other amino acids not only sustain life but also afford metabolic and hormonal advantages integral to physique enhancement.

Protein elevates metabolic rate by means of a thermogenic effect. [3]

Hormonally, protein intake is positively correlated with human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). [4]

These hormones collectively exert an anabolic positive effect.

More Protein Not Necessarily Better

Notwithstanding proteins many virtues, more is not necessarily better. In the ongoing controversy between the low-fat crowd and the low-fatties exchange accusations that the high-protein diet damages kidneys. This charge is a stretch, but not completely unfounded. Excessive protein intake over long period of time can adversely affect kidney health: but a protein rich diet that is not excessive does not present a problem.

The second reason why more protein is not necessarily better. The hormonal response to food [5] – carbohydrate is the primary stimulus for insulin secretion, protein too can propel insulin levels into the fat storage zone when too much of it is eaten at one sitting.

This is why it’s important to emphasize protein optimization, not maximization. Protein consumption does not equate precisely with protein absorption. [6] The subtle point is widely missed, rarely discussed, and very important.

Maximizing Protein

Maximizing protein absorption is advantageous because it allows you to consume less protein that would otherwise be necessary to derive the same benefits thus avoiding the fattening hormonal response that results from consuming too much protein. So, with protein optimization you maximize the benefits of dietary protein while avoiding its potential drawbacks.

There is a distinct lack of consensus on this topic in the scientific community, and it has one been one of the main divisive issues among nutritionist and health writers. I wish I had the definitive answer – but I don’t. Nor do I think such an answer as possible.

The answer to how much protein to consume can’t be generalized: it depends on several factors that vary from individual to individual. In theory, there is an optimal protein level for each person, influenced by activity level, percentage of lean body mass, caloric intake, age, and overall nutritional status. Several health writers have thrown their hat in the ring of controversy by advancing sophisticated formulas for determining how much protein one should consume each day.

RDA Protein Recommendations Deficient

Even more misleading than protein consumption formulas is the RDA, which ignores all of the variables. In any case, when discussing the RDA, is important to bear in mind that the RDA reflects the amount of nutrients necessary to stave off deficiency. When I hear defenders of the RDA point to these paltry allowances and say, “that’s all you need,” I just shake my head in dismay.

In addition, the RDA has not kept pace with research in sports nutrition that has established that protein needs increase with intensive exercise, thereby rendering the RDA recommendations irrelevant for for athletes and bodybuilders.

Most health authorities maintain that the American diet contains more than enough protein and that we should crank up the carbs rather than concerning ourselves with protein. I suspect that this point is colored by the prevailing pro-carbohydrate anti-protein bias. When you get past fashionable statements paying homage to conventional wisdom and look at the evidence, a different picture emerges?

USDA Protein Study Results

A recent USDA food intake study suggests that the reigning notion that Americans get all the protein they need is untrue for older individuals, especially women even if enough is that it is defined in the skimpiest terms. The study found that approximately 25% of men and 30% of women over 50 years of age fall below the RDA for protein, with this figure rising to 36% for men over 70 years of age, and 43% for women in that age group.

The study shows, moreover that approximately 13% of all women 20 years of age and older are below 75% of the RDA for protein. Among the over 70 years of age group, 50% of men and 17% of women fall below 70% of the RDA of protein. I would suggest to the experts that they respect this data before casually dismissing the idea that there is reason to be concerned about getting enough protein.

Given the importance of protein for maintaining muscle mass and immune function, it is clear, by negative implication, that sub-optimal protein intake can accelerate both the age-related loss of muscle and the age-related decline in immune function.

All the importance of adequate protein for maintaining a strong, healthy body is old news, these particular facts bear repeating to those people who approach to combating the degenerative effects of aging includes avoiding protein in order to packing the carbs, interestingly, the long live, rice-eating Japanese, with an average lifespan of 80+ years, who are frequently held out as an example of the benefits of a high carbohydrate diet, consume more protein than do Americans on a percentage of total calories basis.

Having noted above that excessive protein intake over a long period of time is unhealthy, it’s important to realize that excessive anything isn’t usually good for you. Those authorities who warned against too much protein are often referring to unbalanced liquid protein crash diets, which were responsible for several deaths in the 1970s due to electrolyte imbalance and consequent heart arrhythmia caused by this extreme approach. Recommendation – Stay away from these diets.

Maximum Absorption

Spreading out protein consumption allows for greater absorption and more efficient use of ingested protein. Furthermore, frequent protein feedings keep your blood amino acid pool “topped-off” so your muscles always have a ready supply of amino acids to use as building blocks and the construction of a more efficient physiology.

In addition, frequent protein intake increases amino acid availability to the brain conversion to neurotransmitters to enhance emotional well-being and mental productivity.

Gorging oneself on protein is antagonistic to fat loss because of high levels of intake, protein provokes an aggressive insulin response. Since you cannot absorb more than approximately 50 grams of protein in one sitting anyway, you are not getting any redeeming benefit from the extra protein.

Protein is the least of the macronutrients to be turned into fat, but it can happen if you consume too much protein in one sitting.

There are several reasons why protein is less likely than either fat or carbohydrate to be stored his body fat. In addition to the fact that protein stimulates far less insulin per gram than does, converting protein to fat is a metabolically inefficient process. Besides, your body would rather use protein for the many constructive purposes that protein serves.

Nevertheless, if you consume too much protein in one sitting, your body has no choice. Insulin gets called fourth clear out the excess amino acids from the bloodstream, and the amid high insulin everything you eat protein, carbohydrate, and fat is more prone to be converted to body fat.


Stay below 50 grams of protein per meal especially a mixed meal in which carbohydrates are present and you will avoid this pitfall.

Other Protein Related Articles You May Enjoy

[1] University of Texas. Food and Heart Disease Available from:
[2] Amino Acid Studies. Amino Acids Available from:
[3] Wikimedia Foundation. Factors that affect the thermic effect of food. Available from:
[4] U.S. National Library of Medicine. Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1): a growth hormone Available from:
[5] Healthline. How Your Diet Affects Your Hormones. Available from:
[6] U.S. National Library of Medicine. Protein absorption. Available from:

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