Where do you get your protein?

It is wrong to suggest that you need to eat an animal and that not eating animal is abuse or cruelty to the human body regardless of age; 2 years or 102 years. If you believe this you have let someone fool you into believing something based solely on emotion and not science.

To build muscle, it’s crucial to balance the protein you eat with the protein your body naturally loses every day to reach your goals.

Where does nitrogen in the body come from?

Nitrogen comes from the proteins you eat. When you eat proteins, they are broken down during digestion into individual amino acids, which can be used by the body to make other body proteins. The structure of all amino acids includes an “amino group,” which is the portion of the amino acid that contains nitrogen and supplies nitrogen to the body.

What does nitrogen balance mean?

Every day, nitrogen comes into your body from the proteins in your diet and is lost naturally in waste from your urinary and digestive tracts, sweating, and shedding of hair or skin cells.
Nitrogen balance refers to intake and output. The balance between the nitrogen coming into the body and the nitrogen that is being lost. When you are in nitrogen balance, the amount of nitrogen going in and the amount that is leaving the body are roughly the same. Most healthy adults are in nitrogen equilibrium, which means that the amount of protein they are taking in is enough to maintain and repair body proteins. Any excess nitrogen is simply excreted from the body.

But this balance can be tipped. When someone is in negative nitrogen balance, more nitrogen is leaving the body than is coming in. Therefore, the body is losing protein and does not have adequate nitrogen to build and repair cells and tissues. This may happen when someone suffers severe burns or injuries, but it can also occur on extreme diets where calories, protein, or both are in very short supply. Without enough calories or protein to keep the body functioning correctly, the body may be forced to break down its own protein sources for fuel (such as your muscle).

On the other hand, there are instances where you can be in a positive nitrogen balance. In these situations, the body is growing somehow, so it is retaining more nitrogen than it is losing. A pregnant woman, a growing child, or someone gaining muscle mass would all be in positive nitrogen balance. When the body is in positive nitrogen balance, the body is retaining nitrogen to use it to build and repair tissues, such as muscle, or to manufacture other vital body proteins such as hormones.

Muscle Development and Nitrogen Balance

For individuals aiming to build muscle mass through strength training and a proper diet, adequate protein is necessary to encourage muscle repair and growth. For strength athletes, protein needs have been estimated to be about 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (one kilogram = 2.2 pounds). So, for an 80 kg (175 pound) athlete, 120 to 160 grams of protein per day would be recommended.

Ensuring you get enough protein is only part of the story, though. It’s also vital that you spread your protein intake over the day and consume the best types of protein to maximize muscle protein synthesis. Ideally, protein intake should be distributed evenly over meals and snacks, and special attention should be paid to getting adequate protein immediately after training. After a workout, dairy protein sources such as whey and casein are suggested. They are rich sources of branched-chain amino acids – a particular group of amino acids that stimulate muscle growth and recovery* after a workout.

It’s also essential to consume enough calories to tip nitrogen balance in your favor. Sometimes an athlete may cut too many calories to quickly build muscle and lose fat at the same time. When this happens, some protein being eaten might be used for fuel rather than tissue repair. Rather than “burning the candle at both ends,” it’s crucial to take in a balanced diet that also provides enough carbs and fats for fuel, so that protein can be used to build lean mass and help you achieve your goals.
Info based on: https://discovergoodnutrition.com/2020/10/the-role-of-nitrogen-balance-in-building-muscle/