Protein is essential for life and we must meet our daily protein intake requirements to live life to the fullest and avoid the negative effects on our bodies of too little protein.
But, truth be known, we really do not even need protein.
Wait, what did you say?
That's right. You see, we consume protein from animal and/or plant sources because they are made out of amino acids but it is just the amino acids that we actually need. While our bodies are amazing machines that can create many amino acids on their own, there are 8 amino acids that our bodies cannot create or cannot create in sufficient quantities. It is just those 8 amino acids, known as "essential" amino acids (EAAs), that we consume animal and plant protein to get.
What I just told you is not new or controversial. It's just a fuller explanation than we usually hear.
Simply put, we eat protein-rich foods or take protein supplements to ultimately provide our bodies with essential amino acids (EAAs) that the body can then combine with other "non-essential" amino acids it produces to form new proteins for use in the body.
There's a Better Way than Whey...Or Food...
So if we really just need the essential amino acids (EAAs) from protein, could there be a more efficient way to get the amino acids that we need without the ones we don't need and all their calories (and possibly fat and carbs too)?
The answer is YES, and we call it OptimalAmino™: a Keto and Vegan-friendly, protein replacement that is sugar-free, non-GMO, and made in the USA in a FDA registered and NSF & cGMP certified facility.
OptimalAmino™ is based on some really exciting clinical research from the 80s and 90s about a precise EAA formula that is 2-6x more usable in the human body for muscle repair and recovery than protein from plant and animal sources with - get this, only 4 calories per serving.
Leading Whey vs OptimalAmino™
This "optimal" EAA ratio that perfectly matches human EAA requirements was demonstrated to have a utilization rate of 99% with only 1% waste. This compares to average protein utilization rates of beef, poultry, and fish at 32%, soy at 17% and milk, casein, and whey averaging only 16%.**
Plant proteins are all the rage these days, but...
While many have recently turned to plant-based proteins including soy, peas, beans, almonds, and others to meet their protein intake requirements, the EAA ratios in plants are even further away from optimal for humans than animal-sourced proteins. Certainly, some choose plant-based protein sources for ethical reasons but some choose nuts or other plant-based sources as a convenient, protein-rich snack.
Almonds vs OptimalAmino™
But due to even lower usability, plant-based protein sources require even more intake and often come with unnecessary calories and fat content. While OptimalAmino™ has a utilization rate of 99%, the average protein utilization rates of plant-based proteins is only 14%.** This can lead to a significant surplus in calories and fat just to meet daily protein requirements.
Why Should I care?
(a crash course on body protein turnover and why this matters to all of us)
When many of us think of eating foods high in protein, we only think of protein as necessary as it relates to growing or strengthening our muscles. But that is a misunderstanding of how it all works. Whether you are young or old, active or sedentary, your body is continuously "turning over" (meaning - building up and breaking down) proteins into amino acids for use in your organs and other tissues. And, amazingly, your muscles actually act as reservoirs to store amino acids (as muscle fibers) for later use.
Here's how it works:
Several hours after a meal, when there are no longer sufficient EAAs entering your blood from the digested protein, your body begins to break down muscle protein to supply the blood with enough amino acids to continue building protein for use in your organs and other tissues (this is a period called the "fasted" state).
After a meal containing protein or taking a supplement like OptimalAmino™ (this is called the "fed" state), your body utilizes the absorbed EAAs from the digested protein to produce new muscle protein and replenish what was lost in the fasted state.
All this goes on throughout the day and night whether you care about it or not - which is pretty incredible. Just imagine for a moment if this protein "turnover" process didn't occur and after missing just a few meals, you lost a lot of skin (for example) in the absence of sufficient EAAs!***
Health (1 serving per day suggested)
Q: I am not very active nor do I have a physically demanding job, so don't I get enough protein in my diet already?
A: The answer is: probably not. Regardless of your activity level, protein turnover is taking place in your body at a rate of 300-400g per day! While your activity level may be low, your body must still maintain sufficient amino acid levels in your blood to support your organs and other tissues. As explained above, muscle acts as the reservoir for amino acid storage in the body and when blood amino acid levels drop, muscle will be broken down regardless of your activity level. Supplementing between meals and/or before sleep with a 99% utilized EAA supplement like OptimalAmino™ will increase blood amino acid levels and trigger the replenishment of muscle protein naturally lost throughout the day and night. As you can imagine, this becomes even more critical as we age.
Fitness (2 servings per day suggested)
Q: I regularly exercise throughout the week and eat a healthy diet, so don't I get enough protein in my diet already?
A: The answer is: probably not. In addition to the standard protein turnover of 300-400g per day mentioned above, exercise stimulates both muscle protein breakdown and protein synthesis (creation). This turnover of muscle protein, replacing older and poorly functioning muscle fibers with newer and and better functioning muscle fibers, is how we grow stronger. However, since some of the EAAs released during protein breakdown are degraded (through oxidation) beyond reuse, they cannot be reused to build new muscle protein and will ultimately be excreted as waste. To even just correct the imbalance between muscle protein breakdown and synthesis caused by exercise, you must consume sufficient EAAs in your diet through food or a calorie-efficient supplement such as OptimalAmino™.
Q: In addition to regular exercise I use time-restricted eating, so aren't I able to get enough protein in my eating window?
A: The answer is: probably not. There are many variations of time-restricted eating like intermittent fasting (in all it's flavors - 18/6, 20/4, etc), One Meal a Day (OMAD), etc and many have reported significant weight loss by following these protocols. However, the role of body protein turnover is often significantly underappreciated in these diets and while significant weight can be lost, this often comes at the expense of muscle as well. As mentioned above, standard protein turnover is continuing throughout the day but some of the EAAs broken down from muscle cannot be reused due to oxidation and must be replaced. The negative balance of EAAs in your blood triggers even further muscle breakdown to maintain balance and this can only be reversed through the ingestion of EAAs. While EAAs may be consumed through food or supplements during your eating window, there are limits to the stimulus EAA consumption can provide at one time. Without taking a calorie-efficient, 99% utilized, IF-friendly EAA supplement like OptimalAmino™ outside your eating window, there is a real risk of the undesirable loss of muscle as muscle protein breakdown begins to exceed muscle protein synthesis during time-restricted eating.
Elite (3 servings per day suggested)
Q: I am a competitive athlete or have an intensive fitness regimen and I closely track my macros, so don't I get enough protein in my diet already?
A: The answer is: probably not. In addition to the standard protein turnover of ~300g-400g per day, intensive resistance training or endurance exercise increases the rate of muscle protein turnover. The muscle protein broken down as a response to exercise provides EAAs into the blood and allows the synthesis of newer, better functioning protein to replace older muscle fibers that are not as efficient in generating force when they contract. As mentioned above, not all of the EAAs supplied through turnover are able to be reused and intensive exercise actually leads to a net loss of muscle due to increased turnover. A calorie-efficient EAA supplement like OptimalAmino™, used in conjunction with intensive resistance training or endurance exercise, can reverse the net muscle loss without the excess calories of protein found in food. Not only can OptimalAmino™ be much more convenient than dietary protein for competitive athletes, it can also provide greater control in maintaining body composition.
Where do we go from here?
The patent has now expired on this incredibly effective EAA formula that is 2-6x more usable than protein from other sources and it is now available as a supplement from a few different companies. We have tried all these products, currently use some of them ourselves, and have been very happy with the results. Unfortunately, all of these products are priced similarly (see below) and they are just way too expensive. This simply puts this amazing EAA protein replacement formula out of reach for most people.
So we have taken on the task of bringing OptimalAmino™ to market at the lowest possible price. We've hired the best contract manufacturer in the country to make this exact formula for us and, after numerous rounds of samples, we have chosen a delicious Berry Lemonade flavor.
We have negotiated volume pricing to lower the production costs as much as possible and we have lined up a high-volume fulfillment partner to ensure we can get OptimalAmino™ in your hands quickly. Just last week we signed the contract, paid a large deposit to start our initial production run, and OptimalAmino™ will be ready to ship within 8-12 weeks.
OptimalAmino™ vs Leading MAP-based EAA Supplements and a Leading Whey Protein Isolate. Pricing retrieved from manufacturers' websites on 11/1/2020 and subject to change.
While we want to bring OptimalAmino™ to market at the lowest possible price - more than 50% below similar products*- we refuse to compromise on quality, or use cheaper ingredients like artificial flavoring or sweeteners.
*Compare to MAP™, PerfectAmino®, Fortagen™, Kion Aminos.
**Lucà-Moretti M. A Comparative, Double-blind, Triple Crossover Net Nitrogen Utilization Study Confirms the Discovery of the Master Amino Acid Pattern. Annals of the Royal National Academy of Medicine of Spain, Madrid; Vol. CXV: 397-416, 1998.
***Wolfe, Robert. A Guide to Amino Acid and Protein Nutrition: Essential Amino Acid Solutions for Everyone (the EAASE Program). N.p., Independently Published, 2017.
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The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.