Importance of Protein in Your Diet

In recent years, the importance of protein to the diet has expanded beyond the domain of the elite athlete and into the mainstream as consumers learn more about how this macro-nutrient can help with a variety of health and wellness issues including heart health, sleep, stress, weight loss and healthy aging.  Proteins consist of smaller molecules called amino acids, which are often referred to as the “building blocks” of proteins.

When proteins are digested they are broken down into amino acids – and the human body uses these amino acids in turn to re-create proteins that are essential to sustaining life itself. For context, about 20% of our body, including muscles, hair, nails and skin, blood, hormones and our immune system, is comprised of protein made from a combination of twenty amino acids. Of these twenty, eleven can be produced by our bodies. We must obtain the remaining amino acids from our diets. These are known as the essential amino acids.

While expert recommendations for protein consumption vary by source and are impacted by factors like age, health, dietary choices, fitness and the like, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the role amino acids can play in helping them achieve the appropriate balance of amino acids for bodily function. As a result, many consumers are turning to dietary supplements to augment the amino acids their bodies get from food sources in order to make the proteins they need. In fact, 45% of our survey participants take amino acid supplements and/or nutraceutical protein.