Hello LYL Nation!! 🙂

I just send our Fabulicious Figure gals their Week 5 Nutritional Plan, the focus… Protein Cycling!

What is Protein Cycling and why is it so important to your health?

Well to help shed some light on this powerful diet strategy is my good friend an Naturopath Mark Kibyuk.

Take it away Mark!


Thanks Courtney!

Well, first lets talk a little about protein. What is Protein?

Protein is found in every cell in the body and it is essential to life. Every cell in your body has protein in its membrane, as well as most of the “stuff” like organelle’s mitochondria, as well as our DNA. Protein is an essential part to human health; it is made of individual substances called amino acids. Think of proteins like a brick wall, the bricks combine in structure and form to form a wall which can protect you from the elements as well as give your building structure. This is what protein does for our cells as well. Protein is in every cell in the body from the tip of your baby toe to the top of the hairs on your head and has many jobs such as rebuilding tissue like skin, hair, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It produces hormones enzymes and other very important substances in the body. It also helps us fight infection as well as helps with nutrition in times of starvation. (The body can use protein as a fuel source when it has to.)There is a certain dietary allowance which we should strive to meet every day for protein requirements, the numbers are varied upon many factors, such as lifestyle, weight, muscle tone, activity levels, and stress levels, a good rule of thumb I use mostly in practice is .75g of protein per pound of body weight. However research suggests that as high as 1.5g/pound of body weight is still acceptable.

What is the process of protein break down?

When protein is taken into the body it gets broken down in stages, firstly the body will secrete massive amounts of digestive enzymes to help facilitate the breakdown of the protein itself in to its individual components (amino acids). There are very specific enzymes that do this they are known as protease enzymes. These enzymes are secreted from your pancreas and are forced into the stomach and small intestine. Once broken down into their individual bricks the body can much easier move these bricks around to the cells that require them. (Imagine moving a complete brick wall around the city, it would be very hard to do and almost impossible to get there in one piece. This is why the body breaks down the protein into smaller components.) Once broken down they will be delivered to the cells via the blood stream, where the amino acids will reform and shape a new cell wall, or a new finger nail, hair follicle, skin molecule, or muscle fiber. 

Where should you get protein from my diet?

Protein is best taken by varied sources of protein rich foods; there are what is known as essential amino acids and non essential amino acids. The essential amino acids are the one’s which the body cannot make itself, which means that they must come from the food we consume. Non essential amino acids can be made by the body through a number of chemical reactions, and not necessarily have to be consumed from food. That being said a great way to look at protein consumption is to look for what is called complete proteins, which means that the foods we eat has a good balance of all 9 essential amino acids, foods that are a good balance of essential amino acids are meats, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, yogurt, and milk although some of these foods can be allergenic and should be monitored by a coach or nathrpath

What are some symptoms of protein intolerance?

Most people who show intolerance have indigestion symptoms, they describe that the food seems to be sitting in their intestine and does not seem to digest. This results in bloating, gas, nausea, fatigue and in some cases skin reactions like eczema, psoriasis, and eye conditions like light sensitivity. This description is right on as the intestine is holding the protein until it gets enough digestive enzymes to break down the food, this process can take days or even weeks for some people. What ends up happening is the protein starts to rot in the intestine and breaks down artificially, resulting in toxins getting into the blood and causing immune reactions to the foreign substances which have come from the meat. Common symptoms of intolerance to amino acids are greater fatigue than normal. Aching in the legs and hips, less stamina or endurance, decrease in muscle strength, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, sighing or yawning, low iron levels, chilliness, hormone imbalances, reduced libido, and thinning of the hair.

How can you fix the intolerance?

Protein intolerances can be remedied by mixing the proteins you eat, such as including more plant based proteins like legumes, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. As well as including protein from grain sources, like quinoa, and brown rice. Other considerations to take in are limiting animal proteins like chicken, beef, pork, eggs, and milk. These proteins although great sources of essential amino acids however they are very acidic when the body breaks them down which can result in lack of digestive enzyme production leading to symptoms. They should be cycled into your protein sources but should not become the staple. Other proteins to include in your diet include fish like cod, salmon, shell fish, shrimp, and sea weed sources like spirulina, kale and dried sea weed. Another great way to eliminate intolerance is to take some digestive support when eating these proteins that you have some trouble digesting, the digestive support can come from a glass of beet juice a few hours before eating your meal, or from sources like ginger or capsicum (hot peppers). Also there are supplemental versions of popular digestive enzymes one would take these capsules before they consume their food and it will help support the digestion of the protein which you struggle with. However if you do struggle with a protein source in terms of digesting it you should refrain from eating it very often.

Clinical Outcomes

When we start eating the correct foods for our bodies many of the above symptoms will start to go away, your skin will improve, hair and complexion will improve, digestive symptoms will improve, and your energy levels will start to come up. When your digestion and energy levels improve weight loss in a healthy manor will start, bloating will decrease and water retention around the muscles will start to disappear. Which will help you achieve your weight goals and do it in a healthy manor.


Thanks so much Mark! Great info and certainly supports my passion for the importance of protein cycle.

Do you have protein intolerance?

Have you tried protein cycling before?

If so, please share, would love to hear from you?