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An introduction to protein needs and digestive issues.

Joint & Muscle SupportIn this interview Neil E. Levin will discuss the importance of protein in human nutrition. We will also discuss some of the health concerns related to protein. Considering that protein is one of the macro nutrients, it makes sense that we understand its benefits.

  • What are proteins and why are they important?
  • What are amino acids?
  • What are the recommended levels of protein?
  • What are differences between sources of protein?
  • What happens if protein is deficient?
  • What adversely affects protein digestion?
  • What improves protein digestion?

What are proteins?
Proteins are large molecules made up of amino acids, and are essential for human health. Proteins are commonly found in animal products but are also found in other food sources such as nuts and beans. Each gram of protein supplies 4 calories, the same amount of calories as a gram of carbohydrates. Protein is critical for the structure and function of the body. Most people equate protein with muscle tissue but protein is used in the body’s cells, tissues and organs and even bones. Also, enzymes and some hormones are proteins.

Proline Amino Acid

What are amino acids?
Amino acids are the small molecules that serve as building blocks for protein. In human health we need 20 different amino acids of which 9 are considered essential in the diet, meaning we don’t make them in our bodies. Most consumers don’t understand the importance of amino acids throughout the body. Muscles, bones, skin and hair, and enzymes are made of amino acids. Amino acids are needed for neurotransmitter processes and nutrient transfer in the body. Amino acids are essential for all of life’s processes.

What are the recommended levels of dietary protein?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Once you know your target, you can examine your diet and see how you stack up. Neil mentions the Zone Diet which suggests that 30% of daily calories come from protein. Athletes will require more.

What are differences between sources of protein?
There are animal sources including meat, milk and eggs from various animals. In the plant world most dietary proteins are found in legumes (beans), nuts and seeds, and to a lesser extent whole grains. Animal proteins are considered complete because they provide all the essential amino acids in a proportion that is most desirable. Vegetable proteins are not as well balanced but are perfectly capable of meeting our protein needs as long as we get an adequate amount of protein. Balancing your protein sources becomes more important if protein intake is low in the diet.

Neil will discuss some of the differences between animal proteins such as whey and egg white protein and plant proteins such as soy, rice, pea and many others that are now available. Not all protein sources are created equal but all proteins can be useful.

What happens if protein is deficient?

  • A sluggish metabolism.
  • Trouble losing weight.
  • Trouble building muscle mass.
  • Low energy levels and fatigue.
  • Poor concentration and trouble learning.
  • Moodiness and mood swings.
  • Muscle, bone and joint pain.
  • Blood sugar changes.

What adversely affects protein digestion?
A lot of people have problems digesting and utilizing protein. NOTE: If you consume amino acids instead of whole proteins, they will be much more easily assimilated. Many people don’t even know when they are protein deficient. There is a test you can get if you suspect that low levels of amino acids may be a part of your health issues.

Protein digestion begins in the stomach where you need stomach acid and enzymes to digest proteins. If you are on any acid blocking drugs you will have issues. Neil covers this in great detail. If you use these medications, you need to listen to this interview. You should also consider that these drugs are not meant for long term use and search for alternative ways to support your stomach. Some people on these drugs in reality need stomach acid. The symptoms of low stomach acid are often confused with too much stomach acid. At least consider this and confirm it.

What improves protein digestion?
If you have trouble digesting protein you should consider a protein digesting enzyme. You can also consider the types of protein and experiment with sources of dietary protein. Some may digest better for you than others.

Whatever your sources of dietary protein, be it animal or vegetable foods, protein powders or amino acid supplements, always seek out quality. You can seek economy but don’t be cheap. The best quality supplements will never be the cheapest.

In this interview, Neil will cover these topics in more detail. He will also discuss the NOW Foods approach to protein supplements. NOW offers a wide variety of proteins and amino acid supplements.

About Neil Levin, CCN, DANLA
Neil E. Levin,is the Senior Nutrition Education Manager and a product formulator for NOW Foods. He is a board-certified clinical nutritionist with a diplomat in advanced nutritional laboratory assessment. The U.S. Natural Products Association (NPA) presented Neil its Industry Champion Award in 2008 for “people who have made notable individual contributions to the natural products industry above and beyond what is expected to achieve commercial success.”

Neil’s interviews and articles are published in magazines and newspapers. He has been featured in many radio interviews and television news reports. Neil blogs at; is on Facebook (Honest Nutrition) and Twitter (neilelevin).


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This is the test you need to determine your inflammation status.

Inflammation & Pain Support

CLICK on image for more interviews on inflammation and pain.

I have been preaching about this test for at least a decade or more, ever since I first learned about it. I have had the test several times because I wanted to know if I had any sub clinical inflammation going on. I have recommended the C-Reactive Protein test to many people as a benchmark test for inflammation. Dr. Jaffe has confirmed for me that this is good advice. In this interview we will explore inflammation and its relationship to the CRP. Dr. Jaffe will also discuss a newer and better test: High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (HS C-RP). In this post when I use CRP, I am referring the high sensitivity test. 

As one of the eight predictive biomarker tests, we can learn several things from the CRP. If you are in the normal range then your inflammation process is under control and is working normally. This is what you want. If this is your result then you can feel really good about your health. Everything is working well. If your results are out of range then you have to figure out why and what to do about it. If it is highly out of range then you probably already know what your challenge is. 

One of the reasons inflammation is so devastating is that chronic, highly active inflammation from one cause will adversely affect many other structures and functions in the body. One problem will lead to others. The drugs used to treat the disease will likely contribute to additional problems. The drugs cannot heal chronic inflammation. Only your body can do that and only if you put into place that which leads to healing. The good news is that even serious, chronic conditions can be dramatically improved in a few months with the serious application of a healing lifestyle, diet, and supplementation. In the interview I mentioned the journey back to health of my wife. I’ve told this story previously as she is my best example of how nutrition can reverse a chronic auto-immune inflammatory disease. So I know the power of the targeted application of nutritional science to support healing and restoration. 

Dr. Jaffe described the process like this: First remove the cause. Second, evoke the healing response. Third, remove obstacles to healing. The trick is knowing how to do this. Hopefully you have a health provider who understands the natural process. If not, you can contact PERQUE for referrals in your area.

Dr. Jaffe will explain what CRP is and the high sensitivity CRP test that he recommends. 

“C-Reactive Protein is one of the first widely-available tests that offers a tangible marker of inflammation. The High-Sensitivity C-reactive Protein test measures very low amounts of CRP in the blood providing much more precise and accurate readings. When CRP is high, that is a definite indication of an inflammatory process present throughout the body. (Note: In some cases inflammation is present, yet CRP is not elevated.) CRP levels are considered elevated when greater than .5 mg/L.

When inflammation persists, that is almost always a feature of sub clinical disease—a process smoldering below the surface that is not yet detectable, but in which tissue damage is occurring.

High CRP levels are common in pre-diabetes and diabetes, reflecting insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome—all conditions associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. Elevated CRP levels can also indicate a long­term infection. It is also an important marker of cardiovascular risk.

As a predictive biomarker, CRP reflects the effectiveness and efficiency of immune defenses, which are responsible for neutralizing any sign of infection, repairing daily wear and tear, and identifying and eliminating cancerous cells.” Dr. Jaffe

Better Lab Tests Now
If you want to order your own blood tests you can contact Better Lab Tests Now. Better Lab Tests Now offers only the highest quality lab tests available and works exclusively with highly decorated labs that have been awarded in their field. All of the necessary research has been done for you. Their clear and straightforward system allows you to choose the tests you need without the hassle of dealing with insurance companies. They offer food intolerance tests, hormone tests, and more. You can request this high sensitivity CRP test from your doctor, or you can order it directly from Better Lab Tests Now. The cost is $95.00.

NOTE: does not receive any money for any purchase of product or services you make from any our sponsors.

About Dr. Jaffe
Dr. Russell M. Jaffe received his BS, MD and Ph.D from the Boston University School of Medicine in 1972. He completed residency training in clinical chemistry at the National Institutes of Health (1973 – 1976), remaining on the permanent senior staff until 1979. He is board certified in Clinical Pathology and in Chemical Pathology. On leaving NIH Dr. Jaffe began a journey that sought to support the emerging field of Integrative and Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Jaffe is CEO and Chairman of PERQUE Integrative Health (PIH). His dedication to the application of primary prevention and his commitment to providing superior nutraceuticals and autoimmune testing with clinical evidence of superior efficacy has made him a sought after speaker and leader in his chosen field.



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250 – Is CBD Oil a Drug or Nutrient? Or Both? – My Interview with Dr. Hector Lopez

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There is a great deal of excitement over CBD Oil. With good reason. It’s safe and effective for everyday use by consumers and it has properties that can be exploited pharmaceutically. In fact there is ongoing clinical research using CBD for serious health conditions. In this interview with Dr. Hector Lopez, we will explore the difference between the drug development and research and the consumer applications of CBD.

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249 – Behind the Scenes at NutriGold Supplements – My Interview with Chad Kelly

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I have often said companies need two things to succeed; image and substance. A company with image but no substance is selling you fluff. A company with substance and no image, gets lost because no one knows about them or what they do. You want to buy from companies that have substance first as that is the most important thing. It is when you want to look deeper into the substance of a company that the distinctions become clearer. That’s what this interview is exploring with Chad Kelly, Senior Educator for NutriGold Supplements.

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248 – The Benefits of Whey Protein – My Interview with Tracy Kreider, N.D.

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Many people don’t pay much attention to the protein they consume. Athletes understand the importance of protein but many consumers often focus on fats, carbohydrates and supplements and don’t understand how proteins exert their effects in human health. As more of consumers are focused on improving their health supplemental proteins are gaining in popularity.

In this interview with Tracy Kreider we will discuss the benefits of protein in human health. We will also discuss whey protein, one of the best supplemental sources of protein. We will explore the distinctions between sources of protein, and especially the benefits of whey protein produced in America. Like most things, not all protein and supplements are equal. 

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247 – Choosing a Woman’s Multi-Vitamin – My Interview with Erin Stokes

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In this interview, Dr. Erin Stokes will discuss the nutritional needs for women through 4 distinct stages of a woman’s life. MegaFood has created unique formulas for each stage. The four stages being younger women, pregnant, nursing, or women planning to become pregnant, women in menopause and post-menopausal women. Each group has a different sets of nutritional needs. Looking for nutrients that are gender and age relevant is becoming more common. Women can now target nutrients to their specific needs and stage in life.

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246 – Chemical Free Baby Care with e-cloth – My Interview with Al Coviello

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I first learned about e-cloth in the fall of 2016. I did my first interview with Al Coviello later that year. I have since acquired and used many of the e-cloth products throughout my home. My wife and I are converts and we now use e-cloth almost exclusively for cleaning. We have begun giving e-cloth Baby Care products to young mothers as baby and shower gifts. It seems to me that once you understand how e-cloths exert their magic, and once you experience how well they work, it’s nearly impossible to not consider this as an ideal solution to cleaning your local (home) environment.

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245 – Predictive Bio-marker Test – Vitamin D – My Interview with Dr. Russell Jaffe

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Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.

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244 – Embracing the Mediterranean Diet – My Interview with Jolie Root

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We have all heard that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets. It is one of the world’s regional diets that seems to provide benefits to health and longevity. In this interview with Jolie Root, we will discuss the Mediterranean diet and contrast that to the standard American diet (SAD). One of the key elements of the Mediterranean diet is the use of particular fats in the diets. Olive oil provides the omega-9 fatty and fish from the sea and grazing animals provide the critical omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids from nuts and seeds were consumed in their natural forms as foods and not as refined oils as we have in the U.S.

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243 – Nutritional Support for Menopause – My Interview with Josée Fortin

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Menopause is a time in life where the woman’s body goes through a major transformation. It is often perceived as an illness, but its purpose is to prevent pregnancy and childbirth at an age where it would be too taxing on the body. When menopause occurs suddenly or when the body is exhausted, menopause can be a source of major stress. In spite of everything, most women go through this period with minimal discomfort.

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