Protein, Amino Acids and the Power of Research

Written by James Gormley, Natural Products Industry Writer

Did you know that there are more than 10,000 different types of protein throughout the body?  

Amazingly enough, it's true, and these proteins can be found almost everywhere in and on the body, including the hair, skin, bones, tissues, organs and muscles. 

Aside from gut health and metabolic health, protein is involved in a wide range of processes that generate energy, transport oxygen, make antibodies, keep cells healthy and control appetite.

Reducing Appetite and Excess Hunger 

In fact, when looking at carbs, fat and protein, science has proven that protein is the most filling of these macronutrients; in other words protein helps you feel more full with less calories. 

Part of the reason for this is that protein lowers the levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and jacks up our levels of peptide-YY, which is a gut hormone that increases satiety, or feeling full.

Amino acids also curb appetite.  

A 2017 study found that there’s a set of brain cells, called tanycytes, that control appetite, and that eating more of the amino acids lysine and arginine can flick off the hunger switch. 

Enter: Almased.

In 2012, a group of scientists led by Dr. Daniel König tested Almased in a group of 11 overweight or obese men in a trial called “The Breakfast Study.” 

The results? The authors saw several metabolic improvements, including significantly reduced levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and a potential increase in peptide-YY. 

König and his team noted benefits even up to several hours after breakfast, in fact until after lunch, a benefit known as the “second meal effect.” 

A more recent study, from 2015, studied Almased supplementation or lifestyle changes in 83 people over 24 weeks.  

The researchers found that not only did the Almased-supplemented participants achieve better glucose handling, improved body composition and weight loss, but the authors attributed some of these benefits to appetite regulation, partly due to modulation of the hunger hormone leptin. 

Lowering Cravings and Late-Night Snacking 

Cravings are about the brain telling us we need a reward or comfort, not about what our body actually needs. 

Protein intake is one of the best dietary ways to fend off cravings.  

One study in men who were overweight found that boosting protein to 25 percent of daily calories actually reduced cravings by 60 percent and night-time snacking impulses by about 50 percent.

Enhancing Metabolism and Boosting Fat-Burning

Certain foods, like protein, can increase our metabolism through something called the thermic effect of food (TEF), which is defined by the extra calories needed to process some nutrients. 

Protein actually gives us the biggest boost in TEF, increasing our metabolic rate by 20–35 percent with protein compared to 5–15 percent with fat or carbs. 
More protein in the diet has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn.  
In one study, a high-protein group burned 260 more calories each day than did those who were on a low-protein diet; that’s about the same, calorie-wise, as an hour of moderate-intensity exercise. 

Amino acids help here, too. 

Some research suggests that essential amino acids, included as part of meal replacements along with protein, can lead to increased fat burning. 

Boosting Immunity 

Protein is needed to both build and repair body tissue and to fend off viral and bacterial infections. In fact, antibodies and immune system cells depend on protein.   

In fact, immune system power players, such as antibodies and immune system cells, depend on protein. 

A recent study points to the importance of amino acids in immunity, too.  

Increasing evidence shows that dietary supplementation of specific amino acids enhances immunity, with arginine, glutamine and cysteine topping researchers’ lists as some of the most effective aminos. 

Gut Instinct 

Regular digestive wear and tear requires frequent repair.  

If we add inflammation, bowel challenges or other gastrointestinal issues to the mix, then we need even more protein and other nutrients to help restore gut health.  

Eating more good protein helps us also digest protein more easily, because then even more protein enzymes get released and put to work.  

In addition to protein, fats, vitamins and minerals, we also need amino acids to feed the gut and help rejuvenate the gut lining. 

One way we can help our guts stay healthy to eat more fiber from such sources as beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.  

In fact, one healthy metabolic byproduct (“metabolite”) shared by healthy people is indole, a powerful compound that can be produced by gut microbes but which is also found in soy.  

Soya, Oh-Boya

Soy has been cultivated for over 13,000 years. First domesticated by Chinese farmers in 1100 BC, and later by Japanese farmers, this tiny but powerful bean didn't make its way into the U.S. until 1765 in a British colony today know as the state of Georgia. 

Clearly, soy has come a long way from those humble origins. 

Fortunately, Almased, the low-glycemic, high-protein meal replacement and food supplement, provides us with not only a whopping 27 grams of non-GMO-soy-rich protein per serving but also provides us with nearly 15 grams of essential amino acids. 

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