muscled man sitting on a bench

In this article we are going to explain How to increase protein absorption in your body.

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You might prefer taking high protein in certain situations – such as for gaining muscles, increasing lean mass, improving recovery time between sets, faster healing of surgeries, wounds, and other catabolic conditions. Whatever might be the purpose, you can’t attain the maximum benefits if your body does not absorb the protein needed for the said purposes.

Therefore, before you get your high protein diets and whey protein supplements ready for you, it becomes even more important to understand thoroughly how protein digestion and absorption actually works and what you can do to amplify it.

This way, you’ll know that all the efforts you put in taking protein shakes and eating bean salads aren’t going down the drain.

Maximum Protein Absorption per Meal

It might look like that the more protein you take in your diet, and the more should be the benefits – however, this is not the case.

Your body is not able to digest all the protein it consumes. Twenty-five percent of the digested protein gets catabolized for balancing the nitrogen balance found in your body. [1]

Science suggests that the rate at which the protein gets utilized from the meals come with a limit, and that limit is around 30 – 40 grams of protein while your body is consuming it in a resting position (sitting). [2]

This comes down to taking 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight per day for a positive nitrogen balance regarding building more muscles and getting faster recovery.

Consuming 0.25 grams of protein per body weight in each meal is also one way of consuming a high protein diet for building more lean mass or getting faster recovery against catabolic conditions or metabolism altering states.

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Consuming a protein intake higher than this limit can significantly hamper the way of normal protein digestion, which can decline important protein-dependent functions in the body, such as muscle synthesis. Therefore, important purposes like muscular hypertrophy or cell regrowth are not attainable to their fullest.

The limit decreases further after a workout or a strenuous activity – 20 grams of protein per intake, where one or two body muscles are engaged.

In other conditions where you exercise your whole body and engage most of your major muscles, your requirement increases to 40 grams of protein.

However, this doubling does not refer to the doubling of your protein synthesis in the body. Therefore, following such a pattern unnecessarily will do you no good when it comes to maximizing protein absorption.

RELATED: What Vegetarians and Vegans need to know about Protein

Protein Digestion Steps

The normal process for the digestion of the protein starts when you begin the process of chewing. When you put the protein source in your oral cavity, the saliva in your mouth secretes lipase and amylase, which are responsible for breaking down carbohydrates and fats in your body.

In that time, your gut is already stimulated and begins secreting more HCl (hydrochloric acid) that helps in the digestion of the incoming protein in your Gastrointestinal tract.

As the protein source gets to your stomach, this HCl acid helps set the acidic environment with a pH of 2.0 that is necessary for breaking down the peptide bonds. Moreover, the stomach releases the enzymes called proteases that break down the bonds and turn the peptides into short chains of amino acids.

how food is processed by our bodies

These small chains of amino acids then move down from the stomach towards the small intestine, which then gets assimilated into the tract.

During this movement, the pancreas releases some enzymes and a basic bicarbonate buffer, reducing the high acidity of the digested protein. This reduction in the acidity is important for enabling more enzymes to function for breaking down the smaller chains of the amino acids into elemental forms of amino acids.

These enzymes are called Proteolytic Enzymes (or Protease Enzymes) and include the following:


The trypsin is a digestive enzyme for breaking down proteins. The protein in humans is produced in an inactive form called the trypsinogen in the pancreas. This inactive form then enters the small intestine with the help of a common bile duct from where it is turned into its activated form, trypsin. The trypsin hydrolyses the bonds in the proteins, converting them into smaller peptides that are easy to break.


Chymotrypsin, also referred to as protease, is an important proteolytic enzyme in the body that further digests the small peptides. The partially digested proteins are, therefore, digested further using the chymotrypsin enzyme in the body. The pancreas secretes this enzyme into the first part of the small intestine, the duodenum.


Carboxypeptidase is an enzyme for protein digestion that gets secreted into the pancreas and gets its way into the small intestine. The enzyme will hydrolyze the first peptide pond on the end of proteins and partially hydrolysed peptides. It comes with a stronger preference for the amino acids that have branched or aromatic hydrocarbon chains.

To sum things up, you can see how enzymes play an integral role in digesting the protein and absorbing it in your body. If they are disturbed in any form, it can greatly disturb the ability of the body to digest and absorb the protein in the right way, resulting in different conditions and symptoms.

CHECK ALSO: Crank Your Muscle Gains To New Heights By Flooding Your Muscles With Maximum Amino Acids Without Increasing Your Protein Intake By A Single Gram

Symptoms of Not Digesting Protein

stomach that has out of order written on it

People who are unable to digest protein have multiple health issues, especially long term issues. Some of the common issues include anemia, impaired performance of the liver, bloating and muscle dystrophy or loss of muscle mass.

Other indications that reveal a disturbance in the proper digestion and absorption of the protein include vomiting after protein consumption, impaired immune system, and fatigue. A list of symptoms that notify disturbed protein absorption and digestion is the following:

  1. Burning sensation in the stomach and chest
  2. Bloating and belching
  3. Flatulence immediately after taking a high protein food
  4. Nausea after the intake of protein supplements
  5. Over or early satiety with high protein food
  6. Diarrhea or constipation right after consumption of food
  7. Hair loss
  8. Brittleness in nails
  9. Iron deficiency anemia
  10. Undigested food particles in stool
  11. Chronic infections related to yeast
  12. Rectal itching complain

Chronic concerns relating to poor digestion of protein include the following:

  1. Acidity problems related to chest burning and uncomfortable sensations in the stomach
  2. Higher risk of constipation, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (or SIBO), bacterial or candida overgrowth, and overall slowed gut motility.
  3. Poor hormonal function and regulation in the body

So, it is important to have adequate protein absorption in the body to have our systems running in the right phase.

How to Increase Protein Absorption and Digestion

Some of the ways you can improve your protein digestion and absorption are by acting on the following instructions:

Eating Acidic Foods

Your body is unable to absorb proteins unless it has the right pH in its internal environment – the GI tract. Some proteases in the stomach and the pancreas degrade the bonds holding the amino acids together, so the body is able to absorb the composite amino acids essentially. You can accelerate this process by eating acidic foods like citrus fruits, natural kinds of vinegar. Just don’t overdo it.

Taking B6 Supplements

Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, helps the enzyme to digest the protein and carry the amino acids in their hydrolyzed state to the bloodstream. You can take the help of supplements or whole grains containing husk to improve your vitamin B6 levels in the body for this purpose. B6 is also found in fish, meats, seeds, and other sources of protein.

RELATED: Best Vitamin B Complex Supplements and Everything You Need To Know in Between

Taking Natural Carbs

Unrefined, complex carbohydrates are necessary for regulating your protein functioning. So, eliminating carbs right away to get more protein isn’t a wise step in this regard. This is because taking carbs will increase your insulin levels, which ultimately aids the body in absorbing amino acids, especially in the muscles.

So, taking some complex carbs post-workout will also help your muscles absorb the protein for better results. These foods include whole grains, nuts, dairy products, seeds, and starchy foods.

Taking Protein Pre and Post Workouts

Taking protein right before and after exercise helps your body get the amino acids it requires for the muscle and recovery process. Make sure you do it in a well-controlled and supervised manner, as taking too much protein can also lead to adverse effects.

Taking Protein Digesting Enzymes

As you have seen how the body digests and absorbs protein, it is evident by now how enzymes play a key role in the process. No matter how much protein you consume or what is the quality of the protein, if your body lacks the enzymes in the right amount, your body will not be able to harness the benefits of taking the protein. This is why taking protein-digesting enzymes can help you amplify the process.

Read Also: 7 Best Hyperbaric chambers for home use

Protein Digestive Enzyme Supplements

masszymes 3.0

MassZymes is a Proteolytic Enzyme supplement that has been developed by vegan body builder Wade Lightheart who’s been a 3 time natural body building champion while in a vegan diet. If you want the easiest, healthiest and fastest solution on absorbing more protein without the need to consume more, the MassZymes is your go to supplement.

We wrote a full review about it a while ago. Click here to check it out.


Most bodybuilders and fitness lovers have fell for the story of the more protein you consume the bigger muscles you’ll achieve. Well, this isn’t true. It’s a myth. What you need is to take the right enzymes (easiest way is via supplementation) and you can achieve double the digestion and absorption of protein, without eating more.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to share it with your fitness buddies. I’m sure they’re gonna love you for doing it.

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