Protein is a macronutrient. Your body uses it to function properly, playing a key role in muscle building, making hormones, and tissue repair. While we can get most if not all of our protein from our diet, many people also opt to supplement to fill in gaps. Protein pills are one way to supplement, in contrast to powders or shakes, which are the more popular option.
So what exactly do protein pills do, and what are the benefits?
Proteins’ Role in Our Bodies
Protein is found in our skin, hair, muscles, and bones. Protein makes up enzymes. These enzymes then power chemical reactions throughout our entire bodies. We’re made up of more than 10,000 unique types of protein, and amino acids are their building blocks. Nine essential amino acids have to come from food, meaning our body can’t make them. You can get enough protein from your food, such as lean meats, Greek yogurt, and eggs. Protein sources that are plant-based include beans, lentils, and tofu.
Benefits of protein consumption in any form include:
- Getting enough protein helps reduce hunger levels. Protein is the most filling of the macronutrients (also including fat and carbs) because it reduces ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Protein can also increase the levels of peptide YY. This is a hormone that makes you feel full. If you want to lose fat that’s stubborn around your abdomen or weight in general, consider replacing some of the other macronutrients you consume with protein.
- Protein is muscles’ building block. Getting enough can help promote muscle growth and mass.
- Long-term studies show that protein has significant benefits for bone health. People who consume more of it tend to have better bone mass as they age and a lower risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
- Protein has a high thermic effect, which can boost your metabolism after eating it and help you burn more calories.
- Higher protein intake is linked with lower blood pressure.
- Since higher protein intake helps reduce calorie intake and cravings, you may be able to not only lose weight but maintain weight loss if you increase your intake.
What Are Protein Pills?
Protein pills are a bit different from other protein supplements. They’re portable, convenient, and often low-calorie, which powders and shakes aren’t. They tend to be made from different types of protein than other supplements.
Benefits of pills compared to powder include:
- You’re less likely to have digestive symptoms with pills compared to powders. Powders can cause bloating and similar symptoms, but powders don’t tend to cause this.
- Powders aren’t convenient. You have to bring big tubs or containers and then mix them. If you’re traveling or on the go, it’s not an optimal way to get protein, but pills are easy to take anywhere.
- Protein pills have little to no calories.
- If you don’t prefer the taste of protein powder, you don’t have to worry about that with pills
Protein powders are often made with whey protein. Pills might be made from:
- Collagen: Many of the best protein pills are collagen-based. This can help with your joints, skin, nails, and hair health. Collagen is also important for exercise and muscle recovery. Collagen is higher in certain amino acids like glycine and proline but lower in others like leucine and tryptophan. Collagen supplements may help with leaky gut symptoms, and some research shows they can help boost mood and reduce anxiety symptoms.
- Bone broth: Another type of protein in pills is bone broth. Bone broth is brewed with connective tissues and bones of animals. Bone broth capsules contain food-based amino acids and fatty acids, zinc, selenium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A and K.
- Amino acids: Some protein pills contain the optimal ratio of amino acids, which helps them be more readily absorbed by your body and then put to use. Amino acid pills may help build lean muscle mass, and they’re often pre-digested, so there’s no digestive discomfort.
Protein pills have different benefits than powders, and you could combine both to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional goals. A protein pill can help the health of your joints, bones, skin, hair, and nails in particular. Protein powders might be better for reducing your appetite and helping you build muscle mass.