Protein is important, that is a fact. Protein helps with muscle building and maintenance. When protein is consumed, it is broken down into amino acids in the body. The human body itself is made up of 20% protein. With the body’s inability to store protein, it is important that people get their protein from an outside or an essential source.
Animals and plants can both be sources of protein. The hot debate these days, especially with the emergence of vegetarianism and veganism, is plants can provide the body with the same amount and quality of protein. The variable however is not the amount of protein as opposed to the amino acid profiles and “completion” of protein in plant sources.
The human body uses about 20 amino acids to build proteins. These amino acids are classified or described as essential (outside source) and non-essential (produced inside the body). People need to rely on their diet to get all the required essential amino acids. This is where the difference between plant and animal proteins differ. Plant proteins are shown to lack certain essential amino acids which classifies the protein as incomplete, as opposed to animal protein that has all the essential amino acids which allows the body to perform and function properly, which in return makes the protein complete.
Animal protein also contains a more abundant amount of nutrients that seem to be lacking in plant protein such as:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
In all fairness however, plants contain nutrients that are lacking in animal proteins, so balance is very important.
When all of this is looked at from a muscle growth standpoint, the fact that protein that comes from animal sources is recognized as complete because of the presence and good ratio of essential aminos is best. Animal protein contains a better variance and profile of muscle building aminos that plant protein lacks. Once again, balance is important, and this article is no way suggesting that one cannot build a great physique without animal protein. Making sure that you supplement with aminos if you are a vegan or vegetarian can be the equalizer between you and your buddy who is a chicken breast eater.
Getting muscles to grow is not just about protein as you can see, it is about the certain components that help make up the protein and that will determine how your body will break that protein down and use it. Not all protein is created equal, but with added supplementation with certain aminos and nutrients, the “plant” head will give the meathead a run for his/her money.