Saturday, April 19, 2008

Boosting your protein intake: Special considerations

Anyone who’s building new tissue quickly needs extra protein. For example, the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein for women who are pregnant or nursing is 71 grams per day. Injuries also raise your protein requirements. An injured body releases above-normal amounts of protein-destroying hormones from the pituitary and adrenal glands. You need extra protein to protect existing tissues, and after severe blood loss, you need extra protein to make new hemoglobin for red blood cells. Cuts, burns, or surgical procedures mean that you need extra protein to make new skin and muscle cells. Fractures mean extra protein is needed to make new bone. The need for protein is so important when you’ve been badly injured that if you can’t take protein by mouth, you’ll be given an intravenous solution of amino acids with glucose (sugar) or emulsified fat.
Do athletes need more proteins than the rest of us? Recent research suggests that the answer may be yes, but athletes easily meet their requirements by increasing the amount of food in their normal diet.

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