Do you know what protein synthesis is? Do you know the role protein synthesis plays in fitness?
In this article, we’ll help you better understand what protein synthesis is, how it works, and how it can help you reach your fitness goals. We’ll even share some tips for how you can increase your body’s protein synthesis.
Protein Synthesis is the process your body uses to make proteins.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t. It includes a vast number of chemical reactions, amino acid matching, time, and resources. Every time you’re injured or recovering from a workout, your body has to use protein synthesis to recover and heal.
This is protein synthesis at its most basic.
When your body is injured, it has to make new materials to replace the damaged tissue. For damaged muscle, hair, and skin, it needs protein. Not only that but when you work out, you’re slowing wearing your body down with exercise. This triggers your body to create not only enough muscle tissue to replace old, damaged muscles but additional tissue to make your muscles stronger than before.
The idea is your body uses protein synthesis to grow and strengthen your muscles. That way, it can handle the workout more easily next time.
It’s during protein synthesis that your body uses all of those amino acids it got from the protein in your diet to create new muscle tissue.
So next time you’re working out, just know that you wouldn’t see the gains you see if it wasn’t for protein synthesis.
Some people think protein synthesis is where your body takes the essential amino acids you consumed and combines them to make new, nonessential amino acids, but that’s not what happens.
Your body uses its amino acids during protein synthesis. It does not make nonessential amino acids. That’s a completely different biological process.
DNA acts as the blueprint of the body. Your cells’ DNA contains all of the information the body needs to replicate and create new cells and proteins.
You’ve probably seen a model of DNA before. It’s usually shaped as a double helix.
DNA consists of four nucleotides which create different base pairs. These nucleotides are adenine (A,) cytosine (C,) guanine (G,) and thymine (T.) Each nucleotide only attaches to one of the other nucleotide available. Adenine pairs with thymine and cytosine pairs with guanine. These DNA pairs bond together and form sequences of millions of different base pairs. These nucleotides are kept in order and protected by a sugar-phosphate backbone, creating a double helix.
The sequence of these base pairs may look random but they actually contain the information your body needs to create proteins and muscle tissue.
As cells age, they go through a process called replication, where the DNA molecule splits down the middle and extra-base pairings find their counterparts and create two, separate strands of DNA. Once there are two strands of DNA, the two molecules go to work splitting the original cell and building two individual cells.
Protein synthesis works in a similar fashion.
With protein synthesis, the cell’s DNA splits down the center, just like it does during replication. But instead of cytosine, guanine, adenine, and thymine connecting to their counterparts, you get cytosine, guanine, adenine, and uracil connecting to the split halves of DNA.
Uracil replaces thymine in protein synthesis.
Once the second half of the new sequence is formed, it forms a ribose casing and detaches from the DNA. This half strand of genetic material is called a ribonucleic acid or RNA. Unlike DNA, RNA only comes in a single strand.
Your body takes this RNA and uses it to make proteins. It does this by reading the base pairs in groups of three. Each group of three nucleotides is known as a codon. Codons match with specific types of amino acids which you consume. Somewhere in the RNA is a series of codons that indicate where the body should start and stop building its proteins. Your body starts at the beginning of the code and matches the right amino acids with the right codons until it finishes the strand. At that point, your body has a strand of protein made of amino acids that it can use to help you heal, recover, and grow stronger.
Your body constantly goes through this process building new strands of protein to help the body recover and grow stronger.
If you want to get bigger and stronger, you’ll need help from the process of protein synthesis.
Here are three things you can do to encourage protein synthesis.
Exercise – Your body will have to ramp up its protein synthesis if you’re working out. As you continue to push your body to lift more, run farther, and do more, your body has to supply itself with the necessary muscle to keep up. Make sure to strain your body enough when working out to require it to recover, but don’t push it to the point of injury. Injuries will just set your progress back.
Consume protein – Your body will have a hard time synthesizing protein if it doesn’t have the necessary materials readily accessible. You need to make sure you have plenty of protein in your diet so your body can break it down into individual amino acids that it can use. You can do this through your diet but you can also supplement your intake with protein powders and BCAA supplements. These supplements give your body easy-to-digest protein that’s readily available and easy-to-use.
Recover – Protein synthesis takes time. It doesn’t happen instantly. If you’re going to work out and provide your body with the necessary protein, you also need to give it time to rest. Rest and recovery are essential steps to proper protein synthesis. Make sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard or are demanding more from your body than it can reasonably do.
If you want to encourage greater protein synthesis, 1st Phorm can help.
Our protein and BCAA supplements can get you more readily-available protein and amino acids than you can get through diet alone. These supplements will help your body more quickly build the proteins it needs to help you recover and get strong.
Come check out our protein and BCAA supplements today to learn more about how they’ll benefit your body’s ability to synthesize protein.
*This post was written by Will Grumke. He is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.
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