Protein is one of the essential building blocks of the human body. It is frequently used to assess a patient's nutritional status and can thereby be used to assess overall health and ability to heal. Protein is generally obtained from dietary intake. Foods that are rich in protein include meat, dairy products as well as some vegetables and legumes (e.g. beans).
In a healthcare setting, an average person should take in approximately 1 gram of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight per day. This is a very basic guideline for a normal person performing normal activities of daily living.
People who are more physically active may have increased protein demand. The guidelines on how much more are not clearly defined, however levels of 1.5-1.8 g/kg have been proposed. Many athletes and weight lifters intentionally increase their protein consumption, especially immediately following workouts to optimize protein absorption and minimize protein breakdown already stored within muscle.
If the overall goal is to increase muscle mass, many nutrition specialists recommend ingestion of whey protein immediately after a workout. It is also important to maintain a steady balance of caloric intake throughout the day to ensure that the body doesn't go into a catabolic state where it starts to break down protein from muscle to ensure proper levels of nutrient in the bloodstream.
There are conditions where protein intake should be limited. For example, patients with kidney damage or insufficiency should probably limit the amount of protein they ingest as this can cause an unhealthy build up of protein metabolites in the blood.
Please consult your primary care doctor
regarding an ideal dietary plan for your age, body habitus, metabolism and dietary goals.