Protein vs. Amino Acids

Protein versus amino acids: What’s the difference? In this video, Dr. John Jaquish explains how an amino acid is a piece of a protein and why we need essential amino acids to synthesize muscle and support the daily functions of the human body.
Full Transcript

An amino acid is a piece of a protein. Now, when you ingest protein, that protein is specific to the species of whatever you’re ingesting, whether it be plant or animal-based, that is not what we want in the body.

So that protein must be broken down into separate amino acids. And then it gets reassembled by the body into what we need for protein synthesis, which does not necessarily involve muscle protein synthesis, any cell in the body needs human proteins.

Now of those proteins, nine of which are essential. Now there is histidine, which is one of the nine, which is very commonly found and you don’t need it every day to function normally, so the essentialness of it is frequently called the question.

The eight others, your body cannot make, hence they’re called essential and so you need to have them in your body. If you derive yourself from those, you can’t make complete proteins and you get ill. That’s a serious malnutrition problem.

Amino acids are parts of protein, not complete proteins, so we need a breakdown and then reassemble those things. It’s very important to understand that, so you get the understanding that the essential amino acids are what we need, and our body makes the rest.