How much do we need and how important are they? First of all, when we eat protein, the body breaks it down into amino acids. These amino acids are then used to make other proteins. For example, amino acids are used to build cells of the immune and muscular systems, hormones, enzymes, hemoglobin and neurotransmitters. There are 8 essential amino acids that we must obtain from our diet (the liver produces the rest):

• Isoleucine – helps energy production and muscle building
• Leucine – essential for growth, heals skin and bone injuries
• Lysine – helps calcium absorption, bone growth and collagen. Also helpful for cold sore treatment
• Methionine – prevents fat buildup in the liver and helps prevent fatigue
• Phenylalanine – important for brain neurotransmitters, pain and depression
• Threonine – tooth enamel and collagen formation
• Tryptophan – helps with mood, insomnia and other sleep issues
• Valine – essential part of other proteins
• Arginine and histadine are considered essential for young children for growth

It’s very important for someone who is vegetarian to eat very well in order to ensure they don’t develop anemia (low iron). In other words, they must eat lentils or other dried beans (kidney, navy, lima, chickpea, soy) together with whole grains in order to obtain all the essential amino acids the body requires. Whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat or spelt. Whole wheat pasta or bread is not a whole grain! Eggs are another excellent way of obtaining a complete protein.

Faulty Digestion If the body is not digesting proteins properly, they can wind up in the small intestine as small proteins instead of amino acids. When this occurs, the intestine becomes inflamed and rotting of food begins. The intestines will also become “leaky” allowing undigested foods to enter the blood stream. The immune system will consider these as foreign to the body and will attack them, resulting in an allergy. Note that infants are born with a leaky gut and cannot properly breakdown any protein (or grains) other than mothers milk for up to one full year.

Excess Protein Excess protein puts strain on the liver and kidneys, which have to deal with the waste products of metabolism. One waste product is ammonia. It is toxic to us and the liver must convert it into another form for the kidneys to eliminate. By the way, strenuous exercise is one way we produce an accumulation of ammonia in the body!

What about protein powders? Aminos are great to take as they can be absorbed directly into the blood stream. They are best taken between meals. They must be taken in moderation and for no more than 2 consecutive months at a time. Protein is also best taken within 1 ½ hours after a workout/before bed. This allows the body to rebuild muscle. Look for those containing stevia as a natural sweetener. Avoid those with aspartame or splenda (sucralose). Contact us for some good brands.


• The body can only process 25 grams of protein at one time
• The body recycles protein
• When it comes to protein, it’s quality, not quantity that’s important
• The average person only requires 15% of their daily intake from protein, 65% from GOOD carbs and 20% from GOOD fats
• All 8 essential aminos have to be present together for the others to be used

John and Christine Ng
(905) 825-3528

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