Ep. 38 – Dedication to EducationThis week, we’re looking at why some protein sources are still anabolic, even at very low amounts.
When I talk about ‘anabolic’, I’m referring to something that favours growth. As we know, when you eat protein, you stimulate something called muscle protein synthesis (MPS), i.e. the process of how we build muscle. Henceforth, protein is anabolic AF.
The amino acid Leucine is the main culprit for delivering you gains, therefore your source of protein needs contain adequate amounts to activate an enzyme (mTOR) responsible for switching on MPS. This is known as the LEUCINE TRIGGER – lock and load ready for growth.
The issue is that different protein sources contain different amounts of leucine, with whey protein being the highest per 100g. To cover all circumstances and sources of food (both high and low in leucine), it’s suggested that we need to consume 0.4g of protein with every meal.
However, this is not true with all protein sources as you need whheeyy less with some. This brings forth the argument, is food more anabolic than supplements?
Generally speaking, yes. SOME foods are more anabolic than supplements as you’ll need less protein to switch on MPS. Here’s the scoop, other things found within food besides protein activate gains. They can facilitate nutrient–nutrient interactions, modulate nutrient behaviour, and act directly to activate anabolism.
Let’s look at the innocent egg for example, the egg white contains:
• Protein that directly activates MPS (anabolic). • Bioactive peptides that are antihypertensive, antioxidant, antidiabetic (non-anabolic).
The egg yolk however contains:
• Protein that directly activates MPS (anabolic). • Bioactive peptides that are antihypertensive, antioxidant, antidiabetic (non-anabolic). • Lipids that activate mTOR and subsequently MPS (anabolic). • Cholesterol that translocates mTOR (anabolic) • Vitamins + minerals that are cofactors for MPS (anabolic).
So, even at sub-optimal protein dosages, the ‘non-protein’ nutrients can rescue the anabolic effect, i.e. move it towards the leucine trigger. For example, a 100kg guy wouldn’t need to consume 40g of protein found in 6 eggs to become anabolic, try 3 instead. It’s the other nutrients found within the egg that make up for the ‘missing’ 20g of protein.
This somewhat leaves us with this quote; ‘We eat food, not maconutrients’.
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