The importance of sourcing complete protein sources and plant proteins within a healthy diet and it’s effects on the immune system

Complete Protein Sources Article

Article written by Dan Osman.

The term “complete protein” is with reference to the amino acid profile of food, amino acids being the building blocks of protein. Of the 20 different amino acids, nine are considered “essential”, that is, the body cannot produce these therefore it is essential to source from food. Animal based protein sources are the most similar to our own, therefore substrate amino acids derived from animal sources are more readily available. That said, the combination, and inclusive diet of meat and plant based proteins are important in a broader sense with regards to micro, as well as the macronutrient content of said foods within a healthy diet. Mixtures of plant proteins can serve as a complete and well-balanced source of amino acids for meeting human physiological requirements (1) and ingesting multiple protein sources, provide a more balanced amino acid profile (2).

Immunological aspects of sports nutrition

Immunological aspects of sports nutrition are an astute point of reference and consideration for anyone serious about their training, especially for those exposed to prolong training bouts and heavy training regimes. This can be associated, in the extreme, to depression of the immune system, immune cell function, and the susceptibility of contracting opportunistic infections such as the common cold, if optimal intake of macro and micro nutrient intake is not addressed.

A lowered immune system coupled with an insufficient intake, to meet total requirements for energy, carbohydrate, protein and micronutrients can result in a lowered immune system and the rate of which viruses and infections are contracted. Dietary deficiencies of protein especially, and other specific micronutrients are well known to be potential causes of immune dysfunction (3) and an adequate intake of some essential minerals including iron and zinc, and the vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12 have been found to be important to maintain a healthy immune function (4). Protein is a primary contributor to the nutritional needs of athletes and gym goers alike in a variety of ways, and it has been shown to be an effective strategy to enhance energy balance during intense training thereby promoting a healthier immune system while contributing to optimal performance outcomes (5). A well-balanced mixture of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and other bioactives from a variety of fruits and vegetables may also positively contribute to synergistic interactions in human metabolism that result in health benefits (6).


The ingestion of carbohydrate during exercise and daily consumption of optimal protein, probiotics, vitamin D3, bovine colostrum and plant polyphenol containing supplements such as PhD’s Protein Superfood, or foodstuffs currently offer the best chance of success, with regards immune function, particularly for those individuals who are prone to illness. Protein Superfood contains many of the previously mentioned vitamins and minerals in it’s superfood and berries complex alone, making it and astute option for those concerned whether their micronutrient intake is sufficient to meet the demands they’re placing on their bodies.To maintain immune function, it is tantamount that those who take their training seriously eat a well-balanced diet sufficient to meet their energy requirements. This protein supplement due to it’s plant based formula also makes an ideal alternative to whey products for lactose intolerant individuals.

Protein Superfood 500gReferences

1. Young VR, Pellett PL. Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 May; 59(5) 1203S-1212.


2. Vliet SV, Burd NA, van Loon LJC. The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption. J. Nutr. 2015 Sep; 145(9) 1981-91.


3. Gleeson M, Nieman DC, Pedersen BK. Exercise, nutrition and immune function. J Sports Sci. 2004 Jan;22(1):115-25


4. Gleeson M. Immunicological aspects of sports nutrition. Immunol Cell Biol. 2016 Feb;94(2):117-23


5. Antonio J, Kalman D, Stout JR, Greenwood M, Willoughby DS, Haff GG. 2008. Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements. Humana Press. Totowa.


6. Lamprecht M, Obermayer G, Seebauer W. 2015. Influence of Mixed Fruit and Vegetable Concentrates on Redox Homeostasis and Immune System of Exercising People. Antioxidants in Sport Nutrition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis

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