How Much Protein Per Day Do You Need?

Proteins are fundamental building units of the human body. They are made up from smaller building blocks called amino acids. Protein takes up about 16 percent of our total body weight as the second most plentiful substance after water. Almost 2/3 of all proteins are located in the skeletal muscles. The rest is distributed amongst internal organs, blood, skin, hair, nails, etc.

Amino Acids and Protein Synthesis

To synthesize (build) proteins in these structures, the body requires 20 amino acids. Only 12 of them are produced in the body: Alanine, Aspartate, Cysteine, Glutamate, Glutamine, Glycine, Proline, Serine, Asparagine, Arginine, Histidine, and Tyrosine. The remaining 8 can’t be manufactured by our own body so they must be a mandatory part of our diet (food and/or supplements). For that reason they are called essential amino acids: Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Methionine, Threonine, and Tryptophan. We need both essential and non-essential to synthesize proteins, or in other words, to build muscle.