Every human body is different. Comprised of complex systems and structures, no two bodies function the same way. This means that everyone requires a certain amount of nutrients, physical activity and rest to stay healthy. One such necessary nutrient is protein.
Protein is essential to maintain a healthy body. It is made of long chains of amino acids, also called macronutrients. The amino acids are classified into essential, nonessential and conditional groups. Some are naturally made while others are supplied by food. Protein serves five main functions, including:
- Building bones, muscles, cartilage and skin
- Repairing tissue
- Oxygenating red blood cells
- Digesting food
- Regulating and transforming hormones and cells
Because protein serves many purposes, not getting enough can lead to issues with tissue and muscle repair. Food cravings may increase, metabolism could slow down, focus might diminish and wounds don’t typically heal as easily. Getting too much, on the other hand, can lead to fatigue, dizziness, headaches, bad breath and constipation.
Knowing how much protein to consume depends on various factors such as activity levels, age, gender and weight. Based on The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, these amounts are recommended:
- Children under 4: 13 grams
- Children ages 4 to 8: 19 grams
- Children ages 9 to 13: 34 grams
- Women and girls ages 14 and over: 46 grams
- Boys ages 14 to 18: 52 grams
- Men ages 19 and over: 46 grams
Protein has many benefits to the body and sources from which to receive it. Learn more about the power of protein and how it plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of our bodies with our resource.
Author bio: Dr. Myur S. Srikanth is a board-certified bariatric and cosmetic surgeon at the Center for Weight Loss Surgery. He has been performing bariatric surgery exclusively since 2000 and has performed over 4,000 weight loss surgeries. Dr. Srikanth performs nearly every operation that is currently available to treat obesity.