Amino Acids, sans protein


Ok, so the digestive system produces enzymes that break down proteins into their amino acid components. That suggests to me that the digestive juices won’t destroy the amino acids if ingested separately.

Amino acids by themselves can and have been supplemented to great benefit. This suggests to me that there’s no inherent harm in consuming incomplete proteins and supplementing them with the appropriate amino acids.

To extend that one step further, I’m thinking that replacing the protein contents of Soylent with the individual amino acids would accomplish the same nutritional goal. Does anyone know of any reasons that pure amino acids could not be consumed in place of complete proteins?


Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t using a complete protein source be more cost effective?


You would think so. Maybe the raw forms can be synthesized and produced cheaply. Just looking at different alternatives.


Isn’t protein used for a lot of things in the body without being broken down into amino acids? I know amino acids are the “building blocks” of protein, but do we really need only the amino acids and not whole proteins?

#5 is a good article. I’ve found others over the last 2 weeks but didn’t save them. I need to get in the habit of building tab groups or something in firefox for these types of research projects.


Just as I was typing this @jrowe47 gave his response. This said, it’s an awesome question of getting into greater detail about what protein is and what we actually need out of it. I’ve been pretty terrible about compiling an amino acid profile, but after this I’ll definitely be checking through my formula and updating accordingly.

I’m definitely interested in learning more about amino acid use in the body (can we track what goes where?). Anyone have any more reading on the subject matter? Especially in the case of synthetic amino acids? (Some googling brought up a couple results, but paywalls are terrible.)


The first paper you give is about manufacturing processes - it doesn’t really discuss the biological effects, other than to say “probably good for making existing protein better”. I can’t access the second one, despite logging in with my university - the Wiley system seems not to work.


Honestly, I’m extremely tempted to try to create a statistical model of the metabolic cycle and attach it to a physical profile, to calculate calories and so forth. There’s a pretty hefty investment of time and effort involved, but you could create a pretty simple monte carlo simulation for each of the processes involved in turning food into energy and waste.

You don’t need to know how the brain works to understand its gross nutrient intake, and if you understood that in context of the rest of the body’s consumption, it might be possible to optimize for a given set of activities - I want to be optimally mentally alert, and I want to work out as well, so how do I adjust the micro and macro nutrients for workout days?

Obviously it’s not a simple problem, because of the tremendous number of chemical interactions that happen when you undergo heavy physical activity, or intense thought. You could simulate what happens when you add caffeine, or nicotine, etc, and show short term effects. With this type of simulation, you could predict long term macro-effects for well understood processes, like chronic toxicity, bone and muscle growth, and so forth.

Anyone want to chip in on such a project? It’d be mostly research, I’m almost certain Wikipedia alone would suffice, but I’d bet there are huge communities that discuss the bits and pieces to endless detail, so a large amount of the hard work has been done - it’s a matter of searching it out and simulating it in sequence.


[quote=“jrowe47, post:8, topic:4450, full:true”]
Honestly, I’m extremely tempted to try to create a statistical model of the metabolic cycle and attach it to a physical profile, to calculate calories and so forth. [/quote]
I second this, but I really don’t have time at the moment :frowning: it could be a fruitless exercise because there’s quite a bit that is just not known about the metabolic cycles, but of course we don’t know how much isn’t known, so we might have enough to start with.


I know a little more than the layman about statistics and metabolic cycles, but I would definitely be interested in pursuing this avenue of research. Frankly if I just have a place to start / lead through I can pick up speed and learn quickly.


Because its more expenaive.

#12 seems to be a good starting point. The problem is simplified if you don’t have to generalize the chemical reactions taking place and the metabolic pathways are pretty linear. Since the topic is deserving of its own thread, I’ll start one up once I have sufficient information.

As to the amino acids, there are RDA listings at this site. They just so happen to add up to 100 total mg/kG of weight to RDA, so the values translate nicely into percentages.

If I bought the pure amino acids from in their lowest packaging, the resulting 85g daily serving would be $8.94 per day, compared to $3.60 for Isopure whey isolate. If I bought in the largest bulk packaging, that would lower the protein cost per day to $5.53. The smaller purchase would be $112.50 minimum investment and would last ~14 days, while the big one would be just a tad over $16,000 and would last a bit more than 8 years.

In short, the initial assessment backs up the “pure amino acids are more expensive” claim. This is sourced entirely from purebulk, and digging around, I was able to find significantly lower priced pure amino acids that are closer to the bulk pricing without the requirement to purchase large quantities.

Pure processed protein parts proved pricy. Purebulk’s profit prevented progress, predictably.

I know. I kill me.


IMO, I’m more than happy to let my body continue to do the work of breaking down the proteins. In my opinioningesting just straight BCAAs may be the far extreme of the Soylent philosophy… but I’m new around here.

I did throw some BCAAs into my mixture, though, so I had some rapid digesting proteins. I also incorporated whey, pea, and casein.


[quote=“jrowe47, post:12, topic:4450”]Pure processed protein parts proved pricy. Purebulk’s profit prevented progress, predictably.

Such sentences, spoken, spawn spittle-showers - sadly, scriveners’ superior sentence-shaping skill sometimes sparks soggy screens :frowning:


Pootis Pootis Pootis - Pootis Pootis, Pootis Pootis Pootis! Pootis?


Ok, so the thing about the body is that it adapts. I don’t have any scientific data on this, so bare with me. When you tell the body that there is no longer a need for a certain thing, it quits producing it, or as much of it. I know that that is happens with thyroid hormones. If your thyroid is kind of working, but producing low thyroid hormone and you start taking a synthetic, the body starts to depend on the synthetic and slow natural hormone production even more. I looked into this a few years ago when they tried to put me on Synthroid.

I would think the same thing can happen with enzymes. I think it’s one of the reasons that vegetarians get sick and feel uncomfortable if they jump right back into eating meat. (They still may be getting protein in their diet, but it’s different and definitely less than in a typical meat eaters diet)

Again, no research to back that up, but definitely something to think about. It seems intuitive. If you lived on something for a long time, and that thing was essentially telling your body that you didn’t need this particular thing anymore, then it would stop producing it as much. And that’s not even to say that it couldn’t be reversed.