Protein can result in strong immune system, health bones

December 8, 2012

Q: I have read a lot of articles preaching the benefits of including quality protein sources in my diet but was wondering what your opinion was on the issue. I know protein is good for gaining muscle mass, but are there any other things that protein can help me with?

A: It’s no secret that anyone interested in working out and building muscle can benefit from adding protein to their diet, but recently there has been a wealth of evidence linking protein to everything from healthy hair and bones to a stronger immune system. Here are four ways in which protein can be very beneficial to your health.

Protein satisfies hunger better than carbohydrates

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that a 15 percent increase in dietary protein could result in a significant amount of weight loss and can suppress hunger. Participants of the study naturally consumed fewer calories and reported feeling satisfied, less hungry and lost weight. Several other studies have come to similar conclusions, but the reasons are still unknown as to why protein helps shed pounds. Many experts believe that it may be because protein promotes more stable insulin levels and has a positive effect on hormones that send signals to the brain telling it the body is full.

Protein feeds muscles promotes healthy skin

In addition to building bigger muscles, protein also helps your skin stay healthy and youthful. As you get older, you begin to lose valuable collagen, your skin begins to lose its elasticity and wrinkles begin to appear. Eating enough protein can help solve this problem. Certain proteins contain amino acids such as L-Lysine and L-Proline that can boost collagen stores, keeping your skin firm and tight and allowing you to age gracefully. Protein is so valuable for skin health and cell regeneration that burn victims are encouraged to increase dietary protein up to twice the recommended levels to speed healing and promote healthy skin.

Protein helps the body recuperate from hard workouts

Quality protein sources contain a high amount of BCAA’s - Branch Chain Amino Acids - that help the body build valuable muscle mass and recuperate from intense workouts. BCAA’s also serve as a valuable energy source and prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue. There are 23 total amino acids and 14 can be made in the body. The remaining nine must be supplied by the foods we eat, so it’s very important to select the right foods. Whey protein has a highest concentration of BCAA’s, but eggs, beef chicken and turkey are also excellent sources to include in your diet.

Promotes health and prevents disease

Making sure you're eating enough quality protein sources can benefit your health in a number of different ways. Lean protein promotes muscle growth and suppresses appetite leading to less weight gain, better cholesterol, blood pressure and a healthier heart. It can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, reducing insulin spikes and preventing obesity and metabolic syndrome. Protein helps to build muscle and increase strength, helping to prevent injuries and leading to better quality of life. Protein can help develop healthier hair, stronger bones and a healthier immune system. It has even helped AIDS patients maintain muscle mass and is used to help burn victims recuperate from injuries.

  • Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. He has been lifting for more than 20 years and has trained a wide variety of clients ranging from All-American athletes to the average person trying to get into shape. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out