According to Kreider, Wilborb, Campbell et al. (2010), people that do not ingest enough protein in their diet demonstrate reduced muscle adaptations, and recover more slowly from exercise compared to those that do. A lot of controversy surrounds the level of protein that the average person, or athlete should be consuming.
Questions have also been asked as to what the ideal source of protein actually is and if there is a preference among scientists and indeed consumers. Protein requirements can range from 1.0-2.0+ grams of protein per kg bodyweight depending on your level of physical activity, but does it matter where the protein comes from? Well reports show that more often than not people will opt for the animal derived sources of protein i.e. whey or casein due to the vast amounts of information and marketing surrounding these types of protein.
However, other forms of protein including hemp, soya, egg, brown rice and pea proteins are receiving more exposure from well known magazines and forums. Many people I have mentioned pea protein to turn their noses up at the prospect of gaining muscle from a plant! Can you actually develop thick, lean, red blooded muscle through the consumption of a powder derived from the good old pea?
The answer.... is a resounding yes! And not only can you gain muscle from consuming the essential and non-essential amino acids, you are also providing your body with a gluten and wheat free, vegetarian, pescatarian and vegan friendly source of Arginine. Arginine is an integral precursor (requirement) to the internal production of Nitric Oxide. It plays a major part in regulating Nitric-Oxide synthase which is responsible for producing Nitric-Oxide via the breakdown of Arginine itself. Therefore 3-9grams of Arginine may also serve to increase Nitric Oxide levels and thus increase training intensity. Compared to whey protein which delivers just 2g of Arginine per 100 grams of powder, pea protein delivers a massive 9 grams, the ideal amount needed to increase nitric oxide production! So it’s fair to say that pea protein may offer the consumer more than first thought.
Kreider, R, B., Wilborb, C, D., Campbell, B., Almada, A, L., Collins, R., Cooke, M et al, (2010). ISSN exercise & Sport Nutrition Review: Research & Recommendations. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 7: 1550-2783.
Llewellyn, W, (2009). Sport Supplement Reference Guide. Conjugated-Linoleic Acid (CLA). Military trail: Molecular Nutrition LLC of Jupiter.
R. Aluko et al., "Effects of a novel pea protein hydrolysate on hypertension andchronic kidney disease," American Chemical Society's 2009 National Meeting.