Do you get enough protein each day? If you’re an adult, you need to get about 40 to 65 grams of amino acids per day from the protein you eat. So what’s the big deal if you don’t get a lot of amino acids? After all, it’s not an uncommon thing to skip protein at meals — especially for seniors. But when you don’t get enough protein, and consequently not enough amino acids, your body will steal some amino acids from your muscles. It has no choice — it needs these special substances for a whole host of important reasons.
Did you know that amino acids make up about 75% of your body? They’re used to orchestrate just about every bodily function you can think of. In fact, every chemical reaction that takes place in your body depends on amino acids and the proteins that they build.
You need to make sure that you get all 10 essential amino acids from your diet every day. Miss out on just one, and the protein in your body can start to degrade. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible for your body to store amino acids for later use, as it does with fats and starches.
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To illustrate just how important it is to get amino acids from proteins, consider this clinical trial. A team of researchers noted that exercise-induced muscle damage decreases muscle function and causes soreness and discomfort. Because amino acid supplementation has been shown to increase protein synthesis and decrease muscle protein break-down, the researchers wanted to see if amino acids could also help in the recovery from muscle-damaging resistance training.
Twelve men were recruited and randomly assigned to a supplement or placebo group. The “damaging exercise” consisted of 100 consecutive drop-jumps. The researchers found that amino acids administered before and after this damaging exercise reduced muscle damage and accelerated recovery.
Now — it’s not hard to see how potent and important amino acids could be in maintaining your muscle health, especially if you’re a senior. Follow this health advice and make sure you get the right amount of animal and/or vegetable protein to supply you with enough amino acids to get you through each day. Other than meat, some good sources of protein are eggs, milk, cheese, nori (seaweed), lentils, soybeans, and peanuts, Getting enough protein could help you to feel younger and stronger, despite being an older adult.