View Full Version : Essential Amino Acids

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Jan 30th, 2007, 05:31 PM
I've also been trying to put on weight/develop some muscle (I'm 5ft3" and around 108lb). I thought about trying one of those soya protein shakes but knew I'd seen something somewhere about them not being good for you. So I picked up some "hemp protein powder" instead - it's just 100% pure hemp and apparently has all the essential amino acids. I just blend it all up into a banana-soya milk smoothie - it tastes nice too! :D

Here is a link I found re the benefits of hemp over soy: http://www.manitobaharvest.com/nutrition/index.asp?itemID=172

Jan 30th, 2007, 06:10 PM
It's important that vegans (and everybody else) know the significance of a healthy diet. Exclusion of animal products does not equal health, and too many new vegans fall down that path of diets high in mock meats, white flours, sugars, salt and oils. I don't necessarily care what people choose to eat, but people who make an effort to eat healthy should have the right information.
It doesn't seem that way...
You're warning someone about the risks of igf-1 and cancer, yet she's very unlikely to have high igf-1 levels.

The following foods/nutrients increased IGF-1 levels in humans:
protein derived from milk, fish and poultry, but not red meat (Giovannucci and coworkers, 2003)
protein derived from red meat, fish, seafood and zinc (Larsson and coworkers, 2005)
dietary fat, saturated fat and protein, but not carbohydrate (Heald and coworkers, 2003)
milk, dairy products, calcium, carbohydrate and polyunsaturated fat (Gunnell and coworkers, 2003)
human breast milk (Buyukkayhan and coworkers, 2003)
Not just that, but you're using a worst case scenereo as a warning to whoever happens to read this thread. Those with abnormally high igf-1 levels are at higher risk for related cancer cases, but this is almost exclusively related to things like growth horomone ingestion, over-consumption of whey derrived protein supplements, over consumption of milk and milk products, meat consumption, and large frame (tall, "broad") via genetic inherritance.
It's very unlikely that a female with a 5'6" frame who is living on a vegan/raw diet will get anywhere CLOSE to having high igf-1 levels (in fact, it's more likely to be the contrary), especially not by adding 25-50 grams of protein a day using a rice and pea protein derrived supplement (as linked to above).
High levels of igf-1 aren't common, especially not when looking at a vegan diet. Perhaps there would be some validity to your warnings if i were recommending whey protein shakes, but even then she wouldn't be at risk for high igf-1 levels.
Veggirl, i'd recommend (if you're interested/concerned) having a doctor give you a test for igf-1, and perhaps speak to him (or do some independant research) on what sorts of things actually cause increases in igf-1, what the actual benefits of avoiding igf-1 deficiencies are (igf-1 is quite beneficial to humans, as are most things our body makes normally), and the other types of naturally occurring growth horomones our body makes/relies on before making any decisions.

For further reading on the misrepresented information pertaining to protein supplements above, find info related to a study done by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences on the link between rice protein isolates and an observed reduction in breast tumor growth (the published article is called "In Vitro Actions on Human Cancer Cells and the Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry/Mass Spectrometry Fingerprint of Phytochemicals in Rice Protein Isolate").
After reading a few articles, you'll find that it's a bit more complicated than simply posting "protein isolates cause cancer" on a messageboard.

Jan 30th, 2007, 06:18 PM
In all fairness though Sp00ki, Fifty9 did say:

Vegans typically have a lower IGF-1 level than omni's and lacto-ovo veg' people.

Everyone is allowed to put forward the info that they have, so we can make informed decisions on what we choose to consume. I'm sure everyone appreciates the pros and cons of protein suplementation that you've both put forward.

Jan 30th, 2007, 07:41 PM
good point, my appologies.

Jan 30th, 2007, 09:58 PM
sp00ki, you're taking my quote out of context. I can see that you're a person who does not like to be opposed, but with all due respect it's important to maintain a certain level of courtesy on here.

You're saying that a vegan woman of her height is unlikely to have increased IGF-1 levels. My post was saying that certain things can elevate IGF-1 levels way above normal range; specifically protein isolates. Further, my point being that her protein intake is likely adequate as long as her daily caloric needs are being met, and excess protein will not help her in what she wants to do. In other words, supplementing protein is unnecessary, not beneficial and possibly risky.

Many people have this notion that eating more protein means bigger muscles. This is not true! If you want to increase your muscle size and get stronger, you need to weight train. More protein does not help, contrary to popular belief.

veggirl77, you may want to have a look at Dr. Ruth Heindrich's website (http://vegsource.com/heidrich/). It may be exactly what you're looking for.

Jan 30th, 2007, 11:49 PM
i'm not saying that protein equals bigger muscles, but rather that exercises like weight training without appropriate increases in protein consumption become less productive, and even counter productive as things such as injury and the catabolism of muscle tissue are factored in-- and certainly that sufficient protein increases do lead to increased muscle gain/efficiency as a direct result of being combined with regimented weight training exercises.
Either alone simply won't do it, at least not very well.
I didn't mean to turn this into a debate and i apologize; though i must say, the fact that you brought igf-1 as a potential concern/reason not to use plant derived protein supplements seems more like a scare tactic than sharing pertinent info. Based on the medical info that's out there, it's pretty apparent that a small framed woman who's been vegan for over twelve years is in no way putting herself at risk for igf-1 related cancer by consuming a vegan rice/pea based protein supplement as suggested earlier.
But seeing as how both of us have made our stances on the matter pretty clear and described in detail exactly why we've taken said stances, i'll leave the debate as it stands.

Feb 2nd, 2007, 07:18 PM
Hi, I've been vegan for about two years.

According to a nutrition course by the University of Berkley, the only place that one can find the 11 essential amino acids (that we eat to make the other 9 amino acids in our bodies)... can only be found in egg white.

I realize that there have been many athletes who have done extraordinary feats on vegan diets and people have lived their entire lives on it.

So, does anyone who studies nutrition know enough fill me on the topic of amino acids and how much we need... ?

Feb 2nd, 2007, 07:25 PM
Fiddledidee. Obviously there is nothing essential about egg whites since as you say we are all doing fine without them :D

Perhaps they mean that's the one food where all 11 occur together? So what eh?

Feb 2nd, 2007, 07:35 PM
Ah ok. Yes, they did say that and I forgot. Egg whites are the only food where ALL occur together. Now it makes sense.

Now I have to find out 11 foods have the 11 amino acids :P

Anyone know? :P (i'm just curious)

Feb 2nd, 2007, 07:52 PM
We don't need to eat all the amino acids in one bite, from one piece of food, or in one meal. This is a non-issue for vegans...

Feb 2nd, 2007, 11:13 PM
For most humans there are only 9 E.A.A. A soya bean contains them all.

If you want a more exciting meal try a peanut butter and banana sandwich for your full dose of EAAs.

Feb 2nd, 2007, 11:20 PM
I believe quinoa also contains all of the amino acids as well.

Feb 3rd, 2007, 07:19 AM
There are nine essential amino acids; all starches and vegetables contain all nine in amounts that meet or exceed the recommended amounts.

Feb 6th, 2007, 08:01 PM
I keep reading about vegans being deficient in some of the essential amino acids. For example, there are essential amino acids, like taurine (essential to vision, brain and nervous system, cardiac function, among others) that don't exist in plants in signifigant quantities. These are said to be 50-70% lower in vegan diets. Has anyone on this forum been vegan for over 10 years or so and not had problems? I would like to leave meat and dairy out of my diet but wonder if I should be taking small amounts every once in awhile.


Feb 11th, 2007, 03:17 AM
Taurine is not an essential amino acid, unless you are a cat.

Feb 11th, 2007, 04:54 AM
Fifty9 is right. Taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid, and if you are worried about this, take an amino acid profile. If your numbers are low on either taurine or carnitine, simply take synthetic supplement (you will have no problem finding a vegan supplement), and that would alleviate this concern. Indeed, taurine and carnitine are both non-toxic, so if you are concerned you could just take a supplement for a few months and see if you notice a difference. If you do, you were deficient, if you don't, you weren't.


Feb 15th, 2007, 08:40 PM
A potato is about 10% protein, beans are about 28%, and broccoli is about 47%. On a 2,000 cal/day diet consisting of these foods, a man of about 150lb will easily meet the 0.8g per kg of body weight. If the same person starts rigorous exercise and requires more calories, his protein will also increase with all other nutrients while maintaining the same ratio. Of the foods I listed, potatoes are the lowest in protein. If you ate just potatoes, you would get 50g of protein from those 2,000 calories. If you started working out and ate 3,000 cal, you would get 75g of protein. 4,000 cal = 100g of protein. As you can see, getting adequate protein on plants is a non-issue. But, does the extra protein help?

I just had to check what seemed to be such astounding numbers because I had learned that most vegetables [commonly used translation excluding pulses and grains] consisted of about 1% protein, with asparagus toting a whopping 3% of mass [weight]. I guess now that you were refering to the percentage of calories in these foods. In which case one would need to eat 5 kilogrammes of spuds to get 50 grammes of protein [albeit lacking in certain amino acids]. Broccolli would appear to be so highly rated due to its relative lack of carbohydrates and fats. I guess one could remove the water...but would that count as concentrating?
I know lots of water is good for us.
Incidentally, I knew a lad at a nursery who would eat only mashed potato...and his alertness and learning oportunities seemed kind of hinged on what we could mix into his mashed potato without him noticing.

I read Leon Chaitow's book about amino acid supplements [years old]... seemed like good medicine without 'drugs'.

Feb 16th, 2007, 04:16 PM
Right Some people say that there is a need for certain proteins and amino acids that animals need that they can't get from plant food, however is this really right? Its seems to me the very logic it is based on is faulty

If there was an amino acid in a pig that we needed, how did that amino acid get their? either the pig ate it from somewhere (in otherwords there is a plant source) or the pig made it. If the pigs body made it, it didn't make it because we eat it, it made it because the pigs body wants that amino acid, in otherwords there was a need for an amino acid so it was made, so if we needed an amino acid surely we could make it?

Feb 21st, 2007, 07:16 AM
I guess now that you were refering to the percentage of calories in these foods. In which case one would need to eat 5 kilogrammes of spuds to get 50 grammes of protein [albeit lacking in certain amino acids].

Actually, potatoes are complete proteins as are all other starches and vegetables. They contain all of the essential amino acids in quantities that exceed the recommended amounts.

Feb 21st, 2007, 06:11 PM
In which case one would need to eat 5 kilogrammes of spuds to get 50 grammes of protein

I haven't read the whole of this topic, but i don't think anyone is suggesting you get all your protein from potatoes. I think what is being said is even supposedly low protein foods like veg generally have the right perecentage of your callories from protein, so as long as you are getting enough callories then you should easily get enough protein, especially when you take into account those foods high in protein like nuts and lentils, that then takes down the amount of others you need substantially.

I was thinking today actually that, if you actually look at the amount of meat people are advised to eat to be healthy, its not alot and so to replace that protein isn't that hard do.

Feb 23rd, 2007, 10:02 AM
Left a bit.

Feb 23rd, 2007, 10:04 AM
Sorry...misleading impressions.

Feb 23rd, 2007, 10:27 AM
I haven't read the whole of this topic, but i don't think anyone is suggesting you get all your protein from potatoes...

Actually, potatoes are complete proteins as are all other starches and vegetables. They contain all of the essential amino acids in quantities that exceed the recommended amounts.

... Of the foods I listed, potatoes are the lowest in protein. If you ate just potatoes, you would get 50g of protein from those 2,000 calories...

I feel that to suggest that all starches and vegetables individually contain a balance of amino acids ideal for human sustainance is misleading...Especially as most sources regard "starch" as a polysaccharide, that is amongst other things "not protein".

To get back on topic... some medical conditions , resulting from illness, or metabolic dysfunction, respond to supplementation with isolated amino acids. The doses can be relatively large, and some conditions are worsened by the presence of too much of another amino acid. Therefore isolation of individual amino acids has been useful in tracing and treating such non pathogen induced 'diseases' [imbalances].

So can any suppliers of isolated amino acids assure us that their products are ethically sourced?

Feb 26th, 2007, 12:16 AM
that is a 'supplement' i take every day, which i am sure helps with my veganism. it tastes great, and i usually have half the recommended serving in the morning so that dont go without a good breakfast(along with cereal). also, i read somewhere that there are more than 20 e.a.a's but as long as you get some of them, and a efficient amount of nutrients your body will produce the rest

ps. excuse my spelling mistakes, good luck

Feb 27th, 2007, 06:43 AM
Thanks but I was refering to individual amino acid products, like pure methionine, or pure tryptophan etc..