|Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.|
Dear friend of Centers for Healing,
I don’t know about you, but as a child I loved playing with blocks. It was always a challenge to see how they could be interconnected in order to build an every more impressive structure on our living room floor.
Well, on the heels of last’s week’s discussion of carbohydrates, and why they are so important in our diet, it’s now time to have a look at protein. Trust me: you’ll get the “building blocks” reference in short order.
You’ll recall that there are three macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. We’ll let the nutritionists and fitness trainers argue about which of the three is most important. Bottom line: all are essential – in the right proportions – to healthy body function.
That being said, let’s begin our review of macronutrients with protein.
Basic Organic Chemistry
First, we need to have a quick look at some basic (really basic) organic chemistry.
All organic compounds are made of at least carbon and hydrogen. Additionally, they may be composed of oxygen and nitrogen, and possibly other elements, such as phosphorus, halogen, and various metals.
It just so happens that amino acids are one of the more important organic compounds, having atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur.
Essential and Non-Essential
Of the 20 or so known amino acids, 9 are called “essential.” This means that we cannot produce them on our own, like plants do. Instead, we have to eat certain foods in order to get these amino acids. And, since the body doesn’t store them (like fat and starch), we need to eat these amino-acid containing foods regularly.
Muscle’s Building Blocks
When I say “need to eat them,” I’m not exaggerating, either. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. And, protein is the building block of muscle . . . all muscle, not just the kind we seek to develop visibly in the gym.
For example, the heart is a muscle. And, unlike the muscles of our arms or legs, important as they are, this muscle – and its constant beating – literally determines whether we live or die.
The work protein does within cells is no less important. Protein catalyzes (i.e., fires-up) nearly all cellular processes within living organisms. Bottom line: no protein, no life.Period.
Eat Your Protein!
Now, there’s plenty of debate over the best sources of protein. Nor is this particular post able to consider the comparative merits of omnivorous, vegetarian, and vegan diets. The main thing is that your protein be clean and from high quality sources.
We’ll tackle fat, the remaining macronutrient, in next week’s post. That being said, it’s important to remember that we’re talking about general principles here, not particular(i.e., personal) recommendations. That’s where our Protocol’s nutritional testing comes into play. Everybody has different needs within the guidelines of universal macronutrient necessities.
Always working for your best physical, dental, and emotional health,
Dr. Blanche Grube
Centers for Healing