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Protein powder comparative amino acid analysis


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I was bored today and created this comparative chart, maybe someone will find it useful or interesting...?

 

Note: Amounts are in grams. Each amino acid profile is per 100g.

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/ProteinCompare.jpg

 

Updated: 12/19/07

2:1:1 ratio comparison of Branched Chain Amino Acids (L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine and L-Valine)

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/211-1.jpg

 

Updated: 06/30/08

Amino Acid Scores from NutritionData.com

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Hemp.jpg

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Rice.jpg

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Nitrofusion.jpg

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Procore.jpg

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Chlorella.jpg

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Soy.jpg

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Spirulina.jpg

 

http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f115/troyloferski/Gemma.jpg

Edited by Troy
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Since you can design your own protein powder at True Protein I thought it would be fun to see if I could play with the ratios and see if I could adjust the amino acid profile of a mixed protein using Gemma/Hemp/Soy. I set it up on Excel and have been tinkering with percentages of the proteins to come up with better a profile. Trouble is, I don't know what the ideal amino acid profile is for building muscle and can't find it anywhere on the net.

 

Zack is right, Gemma seems to be king of the hill for veggie proteins...Out of the essentials, Hemp has more Tryptophan, and Rice (which is not a True Protein product...yet!) has more Methionine. Otherwise Gemma comes out on top of the rest of the essentials.

 

An interesting fact I found while tinkering is that it takes 2.3 times the Gemma to surpass every amino acid in the Ion Exchanged Whey.

 

Fun stuff!

Edited by Troy
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Thanks Troy !
Thanks for posting it.
Thanks for doing this.

 

You're welcome everybody... an idle mind is the devil's playground, right? Took about an hour to throw together, if anyone else has a protein they want me to do I'll gladly add it to the spreadsheet.

Edited by Troy
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Trouble is, I don't know what the ideal amino acid profile is for building muscle and can't find it anywhere on the net. -Troy

 

Whey protein is wildly popular amongst bodybuilders, so we use it as a yardstick to judge our sources of vegan protein. Sure it works great, but is it "THE ABSOLUTE BEST POSSIBLE" combination of amino acids for building muscle???

 

Hmmmm....

 

My guess is that there probably doesn't even exist a study of this that wasn't backed by someone with some kind of financial interest in a obtaining a particular outcome.

 

-Chris

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Great post LongTimeVegan...

 

Thats why I put Whey Isolate up too... as a reference of sort. And that was my original goal in throwing these numbers on Excel, to see if I could manipulate the %s of other proteins, to get Gemma closer to Whey Isolate. Then I thought, there must be an ideal (perfect/best) ratio or profile that the human body needs or could utilize, but to no avail... None-the-less I'm pretty sure all the aminos "jump in the pool" persay and the body uses them as needed. But when it comes to money...

 

I'm pretty sure everyone wants the best bang for the buck... as you can see, Whey Isolate gives us the highest quantity of essential amino acids... Gemma is about 30% less when it compared to Whey Isolate essential amino profile....

 

....as far as total aminos, Gemma and Soy aren't that far off... only about 6% less...

 

so and educated guess would tell me that the greater # of essential aminos per gram of protein , the "better" the protein is... yay or nay?

 

What I don't know and haven't researched is what makes one protein digest faster than then the next.... any takers?

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I wouldn't put wheys profile on such a totem pole even if we can replicate it exactly in a vegan form. Just because it has the most essentials doesn't mean thats the amount of essentials a human requires. I think one of the reasons its such a successful product is that its so cheap and people know they can take as much as they want because its so cheap.

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I wouldn't put wheys profile on such a totem pole even if we can replicate it exactly in a vegan form. Just because it has the most essentials doesn't mean thats the amount of essentials a human requires. I think one of the reasons its such a successful product is that its so cheap and people know they can take as much as they want because its so cheap.

 

How do we know how many essential amino acids a human requires? I looked for this and couldn't find anything. I'm trying to think of this logically. Here is an example:

If I eat

200 grams of protein per day of Gemma Isolate

vs

200 grams of protein per day of "Protein X" (of lesser essentials)

I'm getting more essential aminos for my "pool" by consuming the Gemma than I am if I consume "Protein X". So even though I am consuming 800 calories of each, I'm getting more aminos per calorie, which would be nutritionally more dense, no?

 

Another analogy would be eating 200 grams of Kale vs 200 grams of Iceberg Lettuce, wouldn't we want to opt for the more nutritionally dense food choice?

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These aminos are all different and we need a different amount of each one. We may only need a few miligrams or even micrograms of some while we may need many grams of another. It has nothing to do with density if its dense in something that our body can't use that much of or even worse...dense in something thats even bad for us. Just because an amino acid exhists and we can't make it doesn't even mean we need it. There are amino acids that grass doesn't even have...and probably amino acids that cows don't produce...yet its enough for them. Meaning there are amino acids that exhist that a cow doesn't need. Thats very likely the case with every animal on the planet.

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So are you saying that the ratio of each amino acid to each other takes precedence over the amount of amino acids within a protein... therefore a variety of different profiles would be of the utmost importance for proper amino acid utilization by the body? This would also make sense to me too.

 

PS I have enjoed your responses as they usually are straight forward, no nonsense posts that tend to give me a perception that I have not looked at before... so thanks in advance

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I actually think the ratio is the most important. The problem is I don't think anyone really knows the perfect ratio and the ratios are probably a bit different for everyone. I doubt they differ dramatically but maybe noticably. I think the problem is that we determined the perfect profile from what made rats grow the most in a lab...not from testing humans. Obviously humans aren't rats. For all I know maybe we are just like rats but I highly doubt it. I honestly can't believe a true study hasn't been done on this yet. But the industry is set on its ways and knows where the profit margins are so I don't see them rushing to find out anytime soon. I also think its likely that different amino acid profiles may be great for getting huge but may limit lifespan while others are best for health.

In the tortoise breeding industry(I used to want to be a herpetologist and cruel reptile breeder in my pre vegan days) young animals(in species that tend to be over 100lbs that eat a purely plant based diet...not ones that eat bugs) are fed cat food instead of the veggies they've evolved to eat. Doing this makes them grow 30-50% faster but most of them don't live past 10 years of age(most that size live well over 70 and most should live to be well over 100 without predators). With this...the biologists would assume the amino acid profile of catfood would be optimal for them(since growth means health to these morons)...but thats plain moronic. Of course they should be eating exactly what they were designed to eat...plants!!!

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any idea on what factors determine the rate at which different proteins are digested? Ex. Whey is said to be digested very rapidly, and casein is digested much slower... what makeup of the protein determines this?

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Since you can design your own protein powder at True Protein I thought it would be fun to see if I could play with the ratios and see if I could adjust the amino acid profile of a mixed protein using Gemma/Hemp/Soy. I set it up on Excel and have been tinkering with percentages of the proteins to come up with better a profile. Trouble is, I don't know what the ideal amino acid profile is for building muscle and can't find it anywhere on the net.

 

If you figured that out, and came up with the ideal protein powder ratio for building muscle, that would be kinda amazing.

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any idea on what factors determine the rate at which different proteins are digested? Ex. Whey is said to be digested very rapidly, and casein is digested much slower... what makeup of the protein determines this?

 

I think what you've been eating has a lot to do with this. And honestly I think carbs have a lot to do with this too. If you have a good base of stored carbs I can imagine protein digestion is much easier as most involuntary processes the body takes part in requires sugar in order to function properly...especially since protein is the hardest thing to digests. This is one of the reasons why I think its so hard to gain muscle if your lean...and also why bodybuilders lose muscle while cutting(but of course they need to cut). As for whey being digested quickly in itself I have no idea why that is but it can be related to the fact that whey does have some carbs attatched to hit. Moreso than casein.

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I actually think the ratio is the most important. The problem is I don't think anyone really knows the perfect ratio and the ratios are probably a bit different for everyone.

 

I definitely agree with Potter here about the ratios being more important than the total amino sum. His point about what's healthiest vs. what makes you grow fastest is another good point.

 

It's pretty common knowledge around here that it's healthiest to eat a wide variety of foods, so in the past I have applied this to my protein supplementation. Using a bunch of different types of protein (soy,rice,hemp,pea,etc.) may not yield an amino profile similar to whey isolate, but I always reasoned that getting protein from a bunch of different sources is probably more healthy that getting it from just one or two.

 

But getting back to the whole amino acid ratio thing; I actually did a small comparison of just the "BCAAs" in various protein sources the other day in another post here (some of this is copied from there):

 

30g Manitoba Hemp Protein:

 

L-Leucine: 828mg

L-Isoleucine: 492mg

L-Valine: 609mg

 

30g TP Soy Isolate:

 

L-Leucine: 2130mg

L-Isoleucine: 1230mg

L-Valine: 1320mg

 

30g Nutribiotic Rice Protein:

 

L-Leucine: 1996mg

L-Isoleucine: 1056mg

L-Valine: 1420mg

 

30g Gemma:

 

L-Leucine: 2610mg

L-Isoleucine: 1410mg

L-Valine: 1560mg

 

30g TP Ion Exchange Whey Isolate:

 

L-Leucine: 3450mg

L-Isoleucine: 2460mg

L-Valine: 2070mg

 

5g ON BCAA powder:

 

L-Leucine: 2500mg

L-Isoleucine: 1250mg

L-Valine: 1250mg

 

Please note that the 'ON BCAA powder" totals are for a 5g serving, not the 30g "serving size" included for the other proteins. Sorry I didn't make a chart like Troy did, but it's late and I'm using a calculator so you might even want to check these calculations...

 

In terms of finding the ideal ratios of aminos, I am inclined to begin the experiment by concentrating on these three (L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, L-Valine). I have been toying with this concept for a few weeks, and when I looked at Troy's excel spreadsheed, I noticed that Whey Isolate is pretty high in these three amino acids, relative to the usual "vegan" protein supplements I take.

 

What I am thinking is that a mix of various protein (gemma,hemp,rice,soy), supplemented with a small amount of BCAA to bring the three "BCAAs" into the range of Whey Isolate... would still allow me to consume "varied sources of protein", but would yield an amino profile (for these three particular aminos) similar to the Whey Isolate.

 

Am I just crazy, or does this seem like a good place to start???

 

-Chris

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I think for now getting a good balance is definitely the right way to go but in reality it wouldn't suprise me one if there are a few amino acids(the ones that are considered essential) that our bodies shouldn't have any of at all. However I'm not gonna play the game of avoiding one or a few specific ones but for all we know some of them may really impede our body function or worse yet...make us more likely to get cancer and die young. Its really hard to say until a true study is done.

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I was always under the impression that hemp protein was the best source of vegan protein out there, just as good as whey.

 

It looks like it is in fact much lower in protein. I'm not so sure I want to pay the high price for hemp any more.

 

Gemma is not available in the UK either I don't think?!?

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That doesn't mean much of anything unless your just trying to get bang for your buck. If you are go soy isolate. We're talking ideal ratios which nobody can really determine...we're not talking about total.

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Chris, I don't think its possible to start with just three aminos and work your way outward. I think you really have to encompass the group as a whole and deal with the ratios. This could be a very tedius task as we have 18 different aminos, making up 18 different percentages to take into account. I wish I was crafty enough to write a program to figure that out, as it is simple mathematics that could give you the proper percentages of each protein to give you the closest amino acid ratio that you desired, whether that be Ion Exchanged Whey Isolate or some other profile.

 

Now I do have a debate to bring up... since the consensus believes that variety is key with regards to the amino acid ratio and we all agree that you don't need to consume "complete" proteins at every meal because our body stores a pool, right? My counter point is this... regardless if you feed your body different types of protein throughout the day, in the end, you are still getting a combined specified ratio of amino acids. Such as the case here:

 

If every day you consume 25% Gemma, 25% Rice, 25% Hemp, and 25% Soy... your amino acid profile percentages would be this...

 

Alanine 10.2%

Arginine 8.3%

Aspartic Acid 10.0%

Cystine 1.4%

Glutamic Acid 17.2%

Glycine 3.8%

Histidine 2.3%

Isoleucine 4.1%

Leucine 7.5%

Lysine 5.2%

Methionine 1.7%

Phenylalanine 4.8%

Proline 4.3%

Serine 4.7%

Threonine 3.4%

Tryptophan 2.3%

Tyrosine 3.8%

Valine 4.9%

 

I can understand the concept of eating a variety of other foods, grains, veggies, fruits, fats... because they all have different nutrients... ie. vitamins, minerals, types of sugars, phytonutrients, chains of fats, etc., etc., etc.... but when we are talking about protein powders, we aren't talking about micronutrients, we are dealing strictly with the macro protein and building blocks of it. This is why I may sway to disagree with supplementing with a wide variety of sources of protein powders unless each day you use different ratios of different powders day in and day out, but like I said, if you use the same powders, in the same ratios, every day, its the same as using one protein powder, is it not? My thoughts to easily maximize protein diversity would be to pick a single different protein to consume each day... "cycling protein" would be a good phrase for it. Like Hemp on Monday, Gemma on Tuesday, etc... Then maybe combining two a day for awhile, or three a day and then back to one a day...

 

OK, lets say (just for kicks), that Whey Isolate Ion Exchange IS the "$hit" for ideal AA ratios. Here is the breakdown of ratios for it:

 

Alanine 5.0%

Arginine 2.1%

Aspartic Acid 9.8%

Cystine 1.7%

Glutamic Acid 18.6%

Glycine 1.1%

Histidine 1.1%

Isoleucine 7.2%

Leucine 10.2%

Lysine 9.3%

Methionine 2.4%

Phenylalanine 2.7%

Proline 6.4%

Serine 4.2%

Threonine 7.0%

Tryptophan 2.0%

Tyrosine 3.0%

Valine 6.1%

Edited by Troy
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I hope that some of our questions regarding the best amino acid profile will be answered in this book: http://www.amazon.com/Amino-Acids-Proteins-Athlete-Nutrition/dp/1420043803

 

It's the second edition and focuses on bodybuilders and powerlifters, supposedly. I have not yet ordered it but will be doing so soon.

 

Troy,

Thanks for putting together the comparative analysis. I've done it myself but never on an easy-to-read spreadsheet. Nice work.

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