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How Much Protein Can the Body Absorb?
Breaking Down the Science

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: December 16, 2020

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. They are the body’s “building blocks” for helping the body repair muscles and bones. Protein also helps give our body the necessary  fueled energy it needs to sustain through everyday life.

And the big question is, how much protein can your body actually absorb in their everyday diet?

Dietary Guidelines

protein food

Everyone’s body is made up differently, as well as being different ages.  The amount of protein a body needs all depends on the chemistry of the body.

A 250 lb man isn’t going to need the same amount of protein as a 120 lb woman. That also goes for children. That is why the Dietary Guidelines come into play.

These guidelines, brought to you by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services gives you the recommended amount of daily protein for each age group or individual that falls in the categories [1].

It is estimated that every person should be getting 10% to 35% of their daily caloric intake from protein sources.

  • Children under 4 - 13 grams
  • Children ages 4-8 19 grams
  • Children ages 9-13 34 grams
  • Women and girls ages 14 and over -46 grams
  • Boys ages 14-18 52 grams
  • Men ages 19 and over  56 grams

Absorption Differences

The way your body absorbs the protein is also different in each person, or how fast it’s absorbed.

It may be that if you take plant based digestive enzymes with your protein, you will be able to absorb a bit more over the time you take it. How much our body can absorb may have a lot to do with our activity levels and the state of health we are in.

It is noted in the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) that for Protein Intake, it is 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight. A person who takes in too much protein at once in one setting may experience stomach upset, nausea, or indigestion.

It is best to try to spread out your protein intake throughout the day. It gives your body time throughout each meal to help with muscle building and recovery.

A totally active person who has been taking whey protein for years may be able to absorb that protein quicker and more efficiently than someone who just started taking it.

More on this on: How Much Protein Do Vegans Need to Build Muscle - Ultimate Guide

If you want to learn more about absorption differences, I recommend you to watch this video:


Types of Protein Plays a Role

protein powder

There are many types of protein that some may consider more healthy than others.

Whey protein is a huge supplement that has given many bodybuilders a different way to get into tip-top shape. The protein in whey protein and meat are absorbed very differently.

Whey protein is known to be absorbed quicker and faster than eating a chicken source of protein. It takes whey protein to leave your stomach four times quicker than regular protein.

The amino acids in protein play a huge part in the absorption process.

With the amino acids appearing in the protein, they may give you RDA, but ultimately there is no upper number of how much protein your body can absorb.

With a high protein intake, it has been seen that people have fewer cravings (particularly sugar) and huge benefits with a faster metabolism and fat loss.

How Much Protein Can Your Body Absorb?

The ultimate question remains - How much protein can your body absorb?

Ultimately there are many recommendations given on behalf of what is considered a healthy amount of protein according to age. The way we process protein can be different from the diversity of people.

The bottom line is I don’t think there is a “roof” of a certain number for body absorption of protein. I think it may be that it is virtually unlimited on how much a body can absorb.

For some, you could experience some side effects from taking in too much when your body isn’t used to it, or it could be that you have switched to an all-protein diet, and your body is switching gears because of the change in diet.

Once you make a diet change for a particular reason, it’s your body’s change reaction more than the absorption. If you feel like taking more protein in your diet, don’t fret, Eat your heart out!

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  1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/benefits-protein

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