Doctor's Advice Ask
Dr. David Lucas
David Lucas is a renowned professor, author and expert in
protein chemistry and immunology. He holds four U.S. patents,
and multiple foreign patent counterparts, for the special processing
of whey and the use of the resulting high quality protein in
human applications. He established a research facility and directed
six scientists dedicated to discovering new attributes and applications
of protein for human health. Dr. Lucas holds a Ph.D. in microbiology
and immunology from Duke University and has completed postdoctoral
studies in Immunology at Children's Hospital, Harvard University.
A former professor of immunology at the University of Arizona
College of Medicine, he has authored or co-authored over 45
scientific publications. David O. Lucas, Ph.D.
Q:What exactly is protein?
A:Proteins,like fats and carbohydrates,contain carbon,hydrogen,and
oxygen. 1-3 However,proteins are unique because they also contain
about 16%nitrogen,an essential element for all living beings.The
basic structural unit of protein is the amino acid.Its fundamental
use is as a building block for body proteins,such as enzymes,hormones,vitamins,
and structural proteins.To form proteins,amino acids are combined
into long chains by means of peptide linkages. 1,2 All of the
necessary amino acids must be available in order to make a protein.
Q:Why is protein such an important part of my diet? A:Protein
is required for the growth,maintenance,and repair of all body
tissues. 1-3 It is also required for the formation of enzymes
and hormones that regulate body processes.Certain proteins transport
oxygen,while others facilitate muscle contraction.As antibodies,they
are involved in the function of the immune system.Protein can
act as an energy source when needed in the fasting state or during
extended physical exertion. Many vitamins and minerals are bound
to specific protein carriers for transport.Protein is also necessary
for blood clotting and fluid balance. In other words,proteins
play a vital role in virtually every metabolic, structural,and
physiologic process required for life!
Q:How much protein do I need every day?
A:There is a tremendous variance in daily protein requirements.
Depending on several factors,proteins should account for anywhere
from 10%to 30%of your daily caloric intake.These factors include
your activity level,your lean body (muscle)mass,the type of protein
you typically eat (vegetable or animal),your age,and your health
status.A minimum daily protein requirement of 0.8 grams per 2.2
Q:Do I get enough protein from my diet?
A:Many people,such as vegetarians,children,the elderly,those
who exercise regularly,those who frequently diet,or those too
busy to regularly eat a healthy diet,may find it difficult to
consume adequate levels of high quality protein.For those who
do have adequate protein in their diet,a great deal may come from
high-fat sources such as red meat or cheese.Cutting back on these
high-fat proteins and supplementing the diet with a high quality
protein that is low in the less desirable fats would be a better
Q:Is there anything that would increase my protein requirement?
A:There are many stresses to the body that can greatly increase
your daily protein requirement,such as an infection or other illness,physical
injury,or surgical trauma. 2 Even emotional stress can increase
your protein requirement,which is compounded by the fact that
when under stress we tend to make poor food choices.In addition,if
you exercise a great deal,or are an athlete,you will likely need
greater amounts of protein.
Q:What if I don 't get enough protein?
A:The body makes adjustments for low protein intake depending
on the quality of the protein ingested and the level of energy
intake. Beyond a critical point,however,the body can no longer
adapt. Because protein is life sustaining, a dietary protein deficiency
has a profound effect on the body;wasting of body tissues, fatty
liver, diminished immune response, weakness, loss of vigor, and
a host of other metabolic and physiologic consequences develop.
Protein deficiency can also result in impaired growth in infants
and children. With increasing age,lean muscle mass decreases and
body fat mass increases. Women tend to be more protein deficient
than men and therefore start to lose lean muscle mass earlier
than men. This decline in skeletal muscle mass may contribute
to age-related reductions in bone density, insulin sensitivity,
and aerobic capacity. Thus,increasing muscle mass and strength
may be an important way to increase functional independence and
decrease the prevalence of many age-associated chronic diseases.
Q:Who can benefit from a high quality protein supplement?
A:Individuals who have trouble meeting their protein needs
can benefit from a high quality, convenient source of protein.
They include children, the elderly, and athletes,as well as those
who lead a busy lifestyle and find it difficult to eat a healthy,
balanced diet. For those vegetarians that accept milk products
(lactovegetarian), supplementing the diet with a high quality
whey protein concentrate is an excellent way to ensure that protein
needs are met. Also,because clinical factors can influence protein
needs, those who can benefit from a high quality protein supplement
include cancer patients (especially those undergoing chemotherapy),
people with digestive diseases, anorexic patients,and pre-and
Q:Are there differences between dietary proteins that are derived
from different sources?
A:There is a big difference between proteins. This is because
some types of protein supply all of the essential amino acids
in ratios that "match " the needs of your body tissues. 1-3 These
are called complete proteins . Other proteins supply a ratio of
amino acids that differs from the average body protein or is missing
one or more of the essential amino acids. These are called incomplete
proteins. Another measure of protein quality is biologic value
(BV), which reflects protein utilization in the body. The BV involves
measurement of nitrogen intake from the dietary protein and nitrogen
losses from the body,since nitrogen is unique to protein molecules.
Thus, BV is the percentage of absorbed nitrogen retained and used
by the body for growth or maintenance. Animal proteins such as
eggs, milk, meat, and fish are complete proteins. However, there
is a wide variance in the BV of these proteins. Vegetable proteins
such as grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are incomplete proteins
and thus have a lower BV (also due to their lower digestibility
values). Therefore, more total protein is required in a vegetable
protein diet than in a diet of mixed vegetable and animal proteins.
Q:What is whey protein?
A:Whey is a component of milk. The proteins of cow 's milk
are composed of approximately 80% casein and 20% whey protein.
This is the reverse of human mother 's milk,which is 70% to 80%whey
protein. Whey itself has various constituents, including lactalbumin
(the main protein in whey), lactoglobulin, lactoferrin, and immunoglobulins.
Q:What are the advantages of consuming a high quality whey
A:A high quality whey protein concentrate is defined here
as a product containing at least 80% protein with its naturally
occurring constituents remaining largely undenatured and active,
as verified by laboratory assay (both quantity and activity).
This is accomplished through a special ultrafiltration/diafiltration,
low heat, pH controlled process that offers significant advantages
over traditionally processed whey protein powders. High quality
whey protein concentrate has the highest biologic value (BV)
of any protein, including egg, casein, milk, beef, or soy. It
contains all essential and non-essential amino acids and is
an excellent source of the branched-chain amino acids, which
play a central role in muscular function. In addition, high
quality whey protein concentrate as defined above contains very
little fat and supplies other beneficial substances. These include
bioactive immunoglobulins, enzymes, naturally occurring nutrients,and
both a basic dietary form of protein and for supplementation,a
high quality whey protein concentrate is an excellent choice.
Importance of Protein
Proteins are fundamental to all forms of life. In humans,they
make up about three- quarters of the body solids and are used
to build and repair every tissue in the body. Owing to their
almost infinite number of possible structures,proteins play
an incredibly diverse role in all facets of human physiology.These
varying,indispensable roles illustrate the importance of consuming
adequate levels of high quality protein.
MET272 4/99, rev 11/99 Copyright ©1999 Advanced
Nutrition Publications, Inc.
Ultra Pure Whey Protein
Perfect Protein (Whey)
UltraClear MACRO (Rice protein-based)
Progain (High calorie, high nitrogen hydrolyzed whey-based formula)
Insulean Rice, Whey, and Soy Protein-based formulas (Chocolate/Vanilla)
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and
Drug Administration. This product is not intended to
diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.