The Importance of Protein to Brain Health and Performance

The Importance of Protein to Brain Health and Performance

Protein is often associated with meeting the demands of bodybuilders and athletes, but its importance extends far beyond the realm of muscle growth and athletic performance. In fact, protein plays a crucial role in our overall health and wellbeing, including cognitive function. 

To delve deeper into the world of protein, I had the pleasure of speaking with Nathan Harrington, a director from Phytotherapy, a company that specialises in sourcing premium quality ingredients for Australian nutrition companies. With his expertise in nutrition science and a keen interest in the role of food in health and performance, Nathan shares valuable insights into protein structure, sources, and their impact on cognitive health. He also discusses new innovative technology that has enabled plant protein to compete for flavour, amino acid composition and bioavailability with animal-derived sources. 

Key Takeaways

  • Protein is made up of amino acids, and the structure will determine its function in the body.
  • Animal-based proteins have a similar amino acid profile to human muscle, while plant-based proteins may require mixing and matching to achieve optimal amino acid composition.
  • ioPea™ Protein is a plant protein that has been optimised for bioavailability using non-thermal atmospheric plasma technology.
  • ioPea™ has improved bioavailability and absorption, making it comparable to whey protein isolate.
  • The addition of medium-chain triglycerides in MCT Protein™ provides a rapid and sustained energy boost to support brain health.

Episode Timestamps

[0:00:00] Introducing Nathan Harrington 

[0:01:34] Defining protein and amino acids

[0:05:12] The differences between animal and plant protein sources

[0:08:21] Average protein requirements and timing throughout the day

[0:12:23] Advantages and disadvantages of animal-based protein

[0:13:58] Advantages and disadvantages of plant-based protein

[0:20:35] Introducing to ioPea™ protein 

[0:26:04] Enhanced protein bioavailability with ioPea™ technology

[0:27:37] The important role of protein in cognitive health and brain function

[0:30:26] Combining MCT with protein for sustained energy outcomes

Episode Transcript

0:00:00 - (Bec): My guest today is Nathan Harrington. Nathan is a director from Phytotherapy, which is a company that helps Australian nutrition companies source premium quality ingredients. Nathan has a keen interest on the role food plays in health and performance. This area of interest was shaped by his degree in nutrition science from Wollongong University, where he specialised in food chemistry, protein chemistry, and nutritional biochemistry.

So it goes without saying that his expertise on the influence of protein consumption and amino acids in wellbeing is built on years of accumulated experience. I invited Nathan to join us today to draw on his expertise when it comes to protein. He's going to talk to us about protein structure, protein science, protein sources, and everything in between. We will also cover just how important protein is to cognitive health and wellbeing.

And we do a deep dive on  ioPea™ protein and how this unique plant protein is changing the game in the plant protein space. Thanks for joining us, and I warmly welcome Nathan. Thank you so much for joining me for this chat. I think this is a really important topic to cover, I think a lot of people think about protein as being only something that bodybuilders or athletes perhaps use. But actually, amino acids are really important to health and wellbeing, and they do play an important role in brain health. So let's start by setting the scene. What is protein? What are amino acids? Give us the basics.

0:01:34 - (Nathan): Yeah, thanks so much for having me. I'm really looking forward to this. And I think, like you said, it's an important piece. Just getting a bit of background on what protein is above and beyond a powder or a piece of meat or muscle, because I think it's a lot more than that, and it has a lot more function in the body. 

So where we wanted to start was just talking a bit about what protein is from the very basics, a bit of biochemistry to start. So you can think about proteins in its simplest form as a string of amino acids. So our DNA codes what those string of amino acids is, and there's multiple types of amino acids, obviously, but that string of amino acids is what's called the primary structure of the protein. And depending on the sequence, the types of amino acids, the protein will fold into a functional state. So the secondary structure of proteins is what can be labeled as alpha helices or beta sheets. And then those alpha helices and beta sheets fold again to form the tertiary structure. And the tertiary structure really dictates the function of the protein. 

So in protein chemistry, structure dictates function. And what we mean by function is what process they're serving in the body. So to think about the most simplest forms, myosin is the protein within muscle. But, it's a lot more than that, right? So we've got things like insulin, which is a cell signalling molecule, to help with carbohydrate glucose metabolism. Insulin is a protein. You've got the individual amino acids within proteins which help cell signalling as well. So key amino acids like Leucine turn on mTOR, which is a process of building muscle. It's an anabolic state. So, yeah, that's kind of like the baseline structure. There's three to four actual levels of structure of proteins. And the main takeaway there is the structure dictates the function.

Insulin is a type of protein molecule

0:03:30 - (Bec): Is that what makes proteins such a complicated structure? I always think about it almost like a ball of yarn. They are like a really complicated chemical structure. So that folding that happens, that makes it difficult for enzymes, or less or more difficult for enzymes to have action upon them.

0:03:50 - (Nathan): Yeah, exactly. That yarn is a really good analogy of how they actually fold together. And then when we do get into talking about digestion and bioavailability, the actual structure of the protein will dictate the amount of the surface area that our enzymes can actually break down. So, yeah, it's a really good way of thinking about it, like a ball of yarn. And to, on the flip side, unfold that protein. It's like separating it out. And that's what we do in the digestion process naturally. So, yeah, we can just jump into amino acids quickly as well, because I think that's an important piece of understanding proteins.

So the first really interesting thing is the amino acids. In proteins, there's the same 20, and they're exactly the same molecules. Whether it's in human muscle, whether it's in plant protein, whether it's the insulin that's cell signalling, or the muscle, there's only 20 that can then be broken down into what we call the essential amino acids, which are a set of amino acids that we can't make ourselves in the body and the nonessential amino acids. So if we have those essential amino acids, we can then convert them into the nonessential amino acids. Essential amino acids we can only get in in food.

0:05:07 - (Bec): And do you find all the essential amino acids in both plants and animal protein?

0:05:12 - (Nathan): Yeah. So this is a main criticism of plant protein. That amino acid composition. So the actual ratios of each of those amino acids, especially the essential amino acids, is different in plants than it is in animals. Certain plants will be higher in some and lower in others. But, yeah, there's definitely that downfall in plant protein in that they don't have the same amino acids as whey protein or an animal-based protein source.

0:05:40 - (Bec): Right. So do you want to take us through some of the differences between the dietary sources of protein?

(Nathan): Yeah, definitely. I think to think about dietary supplementing protein, I think we have to take a few steps back and look at, well, how much protein should we be taking per day? What's the current recommended daily doses of protein and then how we should be actually timing that throughout the day? The RDA or the RDI in Australia, the recommended daily intake of protein and it's set for men at zero point 85 grams of protein per kilo of body mass. And for women it's, I think, about zero point 75 grams. Now, all of the thought leaders in this space believe that that number is completely inadequate for optimal health and that's really just the baseline number to maintain your muscle mass. 

0:06:32 - (Bec): Which is true of most nutritional RDIs. Right? We know nutrients like B vitamins and vitamin C, those RDIs are kind of set against the minimum that it takes to prevent disease, not necessarily the optimal amount to keep us well.

0:06:48 - (Nathan): Exactly. And that's definitely the case for protein. So the thought leaders in this space are kind of recommending that 1.6 to 2 grams or 2.2 grams per kilo of body mass

(Bec): A bit more than double. 

(Nathan): Definitely, especially for women. And I think protein for women is definitely a topic that's under-discussed. But maintaining adequate muscle mass throughout your life is the most important thing. It helps with your metabolism, it helps with your ability to function, it limits the amount of injury you can have if you fall over. There's so many benefits.

0:07:24 - (Bec): Yeah. Bone density, hormonal, health, mood, skin elasticity, all of those things are, I guess, important for protein function. I think most women are pretty low. Like most women probably avoid the higher levels of protein.

(Nathan): Yeah, definitely. I think it comes with that idea of going, if I eat too much protein, I'm going to get bulky. And that's really not the case. It's kind of definitely a myth.

(Bec): Yeah, that myth is still perpetuated. Just like that if you lift weights, you're going to be really masculine.

0:07:59 - (Nathan): Exactly. I've got friends who eat more protein than you can ever imagine and lift weights every day and it's so hard to put on lean muscle. It's not a simple equation, but yeah, it'd be good to kind of run through how to actually what those numbers mean and how to calculate that for the everyday person.

0:08:16 - (Bec): Yeah, absolutely. I'm sure some people would love to know how to do that without having to be a mathematician.

0:08:21 - (Nathan): Definitely. So if we were to go kind of based on my body weight of 80 kilos, and on the high end of that, you'd be taking the 2 grams of protein per kilo, and you'd be getting around 160 grams of protein per day as your recommended daily amount. So that sounds like a lot of protein. 

(Bec): It does

(Nathan): It is a lot of protein. And I think for reference, a 200 grams steak might have 50 grams of protein in it, or an egg might have six to 8 grams, depending on the size of the egg. A typical protein shake is anywhere from 20 to 30 grams. 

So that straightaway screams that you probably can't get it in one or two meals. So you have to figure out protein timing throughout the day. That's the first key one. And then when you start to think about breaking that down throughout the day, you've got to consider, well, there's a minimum amount of protein that you need to consume in any one meal to have that anabolic effect to actually get to the muscle.

And the second thing is there's a maximum amount of protein you can actually break down, absorb and assimilate into protein tissue. So the lower end of that scale was around the ten to 15 grams mark, where most of the protein you consume is going to be digested by the liver and not actually get to the muscle, be used elsewhere. And on the higher end of that, around 50 to 60 grams, the maximum amount that you can actually assimilate in any one meal. So if you take that kind of framework, 160 grams, 40 grams or 30 grams seems to be the sweet spot. You will be consuming protein in three to four meals a day. And that's a sizable amount of protein in each meal.

0:10:00 - (Bec): I'm assuming that this would also be contingent upon somebody having a rather healthy digestive system, which, let's face it, most of us don't. So there's probably even some variance in how efficient you are at taking on those amino acids, like depending on your enzyme production, your pH, how well functioning your metabolism is, that kind of thing? 

0:10:25 - (Nathan): 100%. And that kind of comes back to the story of protein quality, which I'm sure we'll get into. But as you age your ability to chew protein, which is a major part of the digestive system, you're right, actually break it down, absorb it, and then assimilate it becomes harder and harder. So, yeah, the importance of getting enough protein just adds up as you age.

0:10:47 - (Bec): To kind of get off topic, though, there'd have to be some benefit to also mixing up your protein sources, because if you were just drinking your 160 grams of protein every day, you're not getting that impact of chewing. And all of the kind of downstream effects of digestion, like chewing in itself would activate enzymes. It would activate the pH change, or prepare our stomach with a stomach acid. So there is some element to that, that those proteins that are quite chewy could benefit us to digest it better.

0:11:22 - (Nathan): Definitely. And it would not be a very enjoyable life if you were drinking everything you had to consume, you wouldn't be having much fun. 

But no, that's definitely the first and foremost way of getting that protein in is in whole foods, I think, not always possible, though. And I think that's where the supplementation side of things comes in. I think you can probably easily get a dinner and a lunch and a snack in, in a high protein way throughout the day. But once you're getting up around those four to five times throughout the day, you are really needing to look for supplements. I know, at least I am.

0:12:00 - (Bec): Yep. Well, a lot of us are commuting to work sitting at a desk, meetings, whatever it might be. Having the convenience of accessible protein that you can just mix up in three minutes or less is a huge benefit. Rather than perhaps securing a meal that's a very poor nutrition source instead.

0:12:22 - (Nathan): Exactly. And then on the flip side of that, you've kind of got to be careful what the protein comes along with, right? So if you're taking in your protein in burgers or fast food, simple, but it's probably doing more harm than good in a lot of ways. So, yeah, it is getting that balance right of enough that you're not loading your calories in other places. So, yeah, I'd love to kind of go into protein supplementation in general, like you kicked off at the start. I honestly believe that protein supplementation is not just for bodybuilders, not just for people in the gym, but it does allow you to hit these protein requirements for an active lifestyle and for the everyday person. And like I said, as you age, that becomes more and more important. 

(Bec): Definitely.

(Nathan): So there's two kind of categories within the protein supplementation space. The animal-based category, which is your whey proteins, your casein proteins, and then obviously the plant-based category both have their positives and negatives.

So on the whey based protein space, the positives are definitely coming from the amino acid profile. And when we talk about amino acid profile, what we're actually referring to is the amino acids in that supplement or that food in comparison to our own muscle or our own protein. So whey protein, casein protein, dairy protein, in general, does have a relatively similar amino acid profile…

0:13:49 - (Bec): Hence why it tends to be the one people choose.

0:13:52 - (Nathan): Exactly. The second main advantage of whey protein is it tastes really good. There's no denying it. It's like a smoothie and it's very quickly absorbed and very highly bioavailable. So there's kind of like four key markers in that space of why people would pick a whey protein isolate or concentrate. 

But then if you go a little bit deeper, you need to be considering things like the protein source and the protein type. So whey protein and casein protein comes from the cheese manufacturing process. It's a byproduct of that. If the protein is an isolate, what it's referring to is you've kind of got a mixture of protein, fat and carbs and you're taking out the protein and you're drying it pretty much. 

(Bec): Yep. 

(Nathan): That's the gold standard for protein quality. You're going to have very low allergens in that kind of product. Then you've kind of got your protein concentrates, which is a bit of a different way of thinking about it. You're removing the fat, you're removing the carbohydrate and actually concentrating up the protein. But in that instance, you're going to have a lot more of those allergens and things like that. And what you'll see in the manufacturing process, and this is more brands in this space now, because whey protein isolate is so much more expensive than whey protein concentrate. They'll be putting together these proprietary blends of protein and mixing the two together, and that's one to help with costs. But it's something that they're able to do within our food labelling regulation. And it's definitely something to look out for when you're choosing a protein.

0:15:33 - (Bec): Yeah, on the labelling, just for those that are thinking about how does this look? You'll see it as described as WPI, WPC on the label. So whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, you'll see that listed as a ratio on the labelling of the protein supplement.

0:15:52 - (Nathan): Yeah, definitely. And we're not within Australia required to actually call out the amount of each of those in the product. So it's definitely something to be careful of. 

(Bec): Huh, oh, I didn’t know that. 

(Nathan): Yeah. When you are choosing that kind of supplement. You can call out the total amount of protein. So you would have your proprietary blend 80%, for example, but you don't have to actually denote what each of them are in that blend. 

(Bec): I didn't know that.

(Nathan) The percentages. So yeah, it's definitely something that brands use in the space, for sure.

0:16:22 - (Bec): Yeah.

0:16:23 - (Nathan): The negative side of whey protein, there's two main ones. The first is it's not very well tolerated by a lot of people. And by tolerated, I mean it causes digestive issues, which I'm sure you've gone into on this podcast before, and it causes acne. It's something that we've seen a lot of people who've started with a whey protein and moved to plant protein comment. That their skin clears up quite quickly. And that's definitely got to do with the inflammatory nature of the proteins within whey.

0:16:54 - (Bec): Yeah, it's an important component in naturopathic medicine. Like if somebody's having a skin issue, one of the first things you do is remove dairy because it has this inflammatory process that seems to just not agree with skin.

0:17:07 - (Nathan): Exactly. And then you've got complaints of bloating and gas and all of those kind of things.

0:17:13 - (Bec): It makes you pass smelly gas. There's a bunch of things. There's a lot of jokes about whey protein.

0:17:23 - (Nathan): 100%. So you've got to kind of weigh up those things when you're choosing your supplements. Definitely.

On the flip side, there's the plant protein space. It's kind of got a lot of attention in the past couple of years for a number of reasons. So like whey it's got its pros and cons. The first pro of plant protein is obviously the sustainability side of things. It's very easy to produce plant proteins, especially pea protein, which kind of dominates the market. And then peas themselves, in the manufacturing process, are used completely. 

So within the pea, you've got the protein, the starch, the carbohydrate and the fibre. And in the manufacturing process, there's a use for all of them. So the starch goes into vermicilli noodles and the fibre is used in many different applications. So that definitely helps with the cost of protein source itself. 

But like we touched on earlier, plant proteins have kind of three main criticisms. The first is the amino acid composition of individual proteins relative to human muscle. And you can kind of solve that issue by mixing and matching plant proteins. 

(Bec): Yep. 

(Nathan): So pea protein, for example, is low in the sulfur-containing amino acids, so methionine and cysteine, whereas rice protein is low in lysine. But if you combine the two together, they kind of make up for each other's deficiencies. And that's a really common thing you'll see in a lot of proteins, is that mix of the two proteins, and there's many different sources sunflower, pumpkin, seed, fava. There's a growing list of plant proteins out there.

So that's the first thing, and it's a relatively easy problem to solve. The second main criticism of plant proteins is the bioavailability piece. And, like, we've kind of touched on what that actually means is; one, our body's ability to break down or digest the protein, absorb it and assimilate it. And that's quite a common criticism that you'll hear a lot. That protein quality of plant is not up to whey protein. I think that's a fair criticism. 

And then the third piece within plant proteins is the taste element. So I think if you're benchmarking it against whey protein, it will never get quite there. But I think there's a number of improvements in food formulation that allows the texture, the taste, the smell and the flavour to be improved. Absolutely.

0:19:54 - (Bec): Plant protein has come a long way in the last decade. I think I can remember some of the first iterations and trying them, and you'd be like you'd be like you've drunk a glass of seawater with sand in it.

0:20:04 - (Nathan): Hold your nose. But I think that's come a long way.

0:20:08 - (Bec): So let's talk then about ioPea™ by Ingredient Optimized. It is a groundbreaking and revolutionary addition to the plant protein space, and I think it is giving us a product with great palatability, but it has several other benefits as well. So I'm going to let you take it away on that because I know you know about that way better than I do.

0:20:35 - (Nathan): It's one of those things without the background knowledge of kind of structure and function of proteins, it is a hard concept to understand. Yeah. So the Ingredient Optimized team, they're a company, a technology company out of the United States, and they've been working on improving the bioavailability of proteins for the past five years. 

So the traditional way of increasing bioavailability in plant proteins, or all proteins actually, is called the hydrolysation process. Where we use enzymes similar to that in our digestive system to actually cleave amino acids off the protein and in doing so, break it down into peptides, dipeptides and amino acids. And that allows that digestive piece that we were talking about to be kind of fast-tracked. 

(Bec): Yep, so it’s almost ‘predigested’. 

(Nathan): Exactly. That's a really good way of thinking about it. 

(Bec): Yep. 

(Nathan): The issue with that process is you get really bad taste and smell. It's really hard to formulate with and work with. And that kind of limits the amount of that type of protein that you can use in formulation. So you might be only able to get 5 grams per serve based on those taste and smell issues.

So they've gone about this a completely different way. And what they've taken is a novel application within food manufacturing already and applied it to plant proteins. So the technology that they're using is called non-thermal atmospheric plasma. Which sounds complicated, but what that process does is that structure of the protein that's folded together is held together by charges within each of the amino acids.

So this process actually puts a charge back into the protein and in-turn, unfolds the protein, denatures the protein. And in doing so, allows our own digestive enzymes to break the protein down a lot more quickly and completely. 

(Bec): Yep. 

(Nathan): Then they've taken this technology, and they've done a number of clinical trials out of the US. Randomised clinical trials, looking at, okay, if we were to take plant protein versus plant protein or plant protein versus whey protein, how do they compare?

(Nathan): So the study design is quite simple. You take individuals, you fast them, you feed them the protein source, and then you take their blood and measure the amount of amino acids in their blood over a certain amount of time. And one; it's quite an easy experiment to do, but it's a really good experiment to compare protein bioavailability absorption across different sources. 

(Bec): Yep. 

(Nathan): And what they've shown is that the first major finding is there's a significant improvement in bioavailability of pea protein versus the treated pea protein. A significant improvement. 

And the way they looked at it was branch chain amino acids and essential amino acids versus the reference. And they saw up to a 300% improvement within that time course of bioavailability. And that was roughly a three-hour time course. Which is the most important time of course after resistance training to get amino acids into the blood. That was the first major finding, which was really exciting. 

And the second one for people in the plant protein space was that process then allowed the bioavailability of the plant protein to be in line with that of whey protein isolate, which is the gold standard in bioavailability and absorption. So it really solved that final piece of the criticism of plant proteins. That it could improve the bioavailability. And what that means for the consumer is a few things. 

The first is you're getting the most out of the protein you're taking. 

(Bec): Yep. 

(Nathan): Every gram that you're actually eating is getting utilised properly. 

(Bec): Yes. 

(Nathan): There's a more for less piece there as well. And they've showed this with they've done this process on whey protein as well. And they showed that in resistance-trained athletes. The strength improvements from resistance training was the same, taking 27 grams of standard protein versus 20 grams of the ingredient-optimized treated protein. So that's definitely a piece, especially in today's market and climate. You know, these supplements are definitely expensive, so getting the most out of them is so important. So that was a really interesting takeaway as well.

0:25:02 - (Bec): Very true. And obviously would have is much gentler on the system. What is kind of a forgotten element, I think, sometimes when we want to think about anything that's more bioavailable, I like to explain that it doesn't matter if your body's creating enzymes or you're breaking down food. That is an energy tax that your body has to pay both in nutrients and in the energy that has to be burned. Everything uses energy, including digestion. So if you've been able to achieve better absorption and better utilisation of these nutrients, it's like topping up the tank faster than you're taking away at the bottom. So it's just so much more beneficial to our health and wellbeing. And I think this is, on a more tangible level, the reason why it's the first protein I've come across that you can take and you don't get bloating and you don't get a digestive upset and you don't feel like, unusually full. There's the palatability aspect, but it's the way it makes you feel that I think is probably the real game changer. 

0:26:11 - (Nathan): 100%. And that's kind of like the beneficial side-effect, right,  of this process. You do get improvements in the solubility of the protein within solution. You get improvements in the tolerability, like you said, of the protein itself, which is huge within this space. It's a real unique selling point.

0:26:34 - (Bec): Absolutely. And like I said earlier, most people have shocking digestion already coming into using protein, and it just places this additional burden on top of an already strained system. Whereas I have not yet to see this type of protein have that effect.

0:26:53 - (Nathan): That's fantastic. It's really great.  

0:26:56 - (Bec): Just to go back and use the analogy that I like to use of the whole ball of yarn is that we've unraveled sort of the string off the ball of yarn and it allows our enzymes to come along and snip them off and we get to use them more readily. So obviously, I've read some really exciting research about how protein intake can improve cognitive health, that it's being looked at as a way to support brain wellbeing into later life. So this makes sense in that if we can allow protein to be better absorbed and we can get more out of every amino acid that we're taking in, there's potential there that we have yet to even uncover.

0:27:37 - (Nathan): I think so too. And I think the consideration there is the brain is made up of a certain amount of protein, right? The brain is full of it. And we didn't touch on this earlier, but protein is in a constant state of flux. So breaking down and building up and depending on the protein itself, it has a half-life. So you've kind of got things like insulin, which we touched on before, with a half-life of 15 minutes, which means the protein is in, it's out, gone in 15 minutes. And then you've got things like collagen and muscle with a half-life of all the way up to four to six months or even longer than that. And I think that's a really important point that's continually turning over, and you're continually needing to provide/ restock, the amino acid pool to be able to continue to build quality protein. And the brain is no different.

0:28:26 - (Bec): Yeah, and we need those amino acids as well. They're taken apart and put back together like Lego. You know? One time you might use it so it looks like a car, and another time it's going to look like a house and you can kind of change it around. But in that we use amino acids to create all our neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine we use them for histamine, insulin, a range of immune aspects as well. Proteins are really important for the way our immune system defends us. It's also important hair, skin, nails, so some of those beauty and vanity aspects. And then on another level as well, for detoxification, which, let's face it, is really important in modern world as well. We don't have those sulfur amino acids especially, or things like methionine. We don't have pathways within our liver and our other detox functions that work efficiently either. 

0:29:29 - (Nathan): Definitely. And things like antioxidants. So there's amino acids that are important in that natural antioxidant process we've got internally, not to mention maintaining enough adequate muscle is the biggest sink of glucose that we possibly can have. So maintaining glucose homeostasis is another really important one.

0:29:50 - (Bec): Yeah, more muscle mass means more mitochondria, means more capacity to both make and burn energy as well. So it's a very good point.

0:29:58 - (Nathan): Definitely. And I know we wanted to touch on the MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) element within the product as well?

0:30:03 - (Bec): Yes, which I think is something that a lot of people, again, when they've pigeonholed a protein into just being for bodybuilding or muscle building, it can be a bit like, hang on a minute, why have we put MCT in there? Your fat profile is really high. But it is in-fact, because it's an important brain fuel. So I'll allow you to touch on that.

0:30:26 - (Nathan): Yeah, definitely. I think when you think about, like I said, breaking up the protein requirements throughout the day, for me personally, the easiest one is in the morning to have the shake. I might be at the gym early, I don't have time to make breakfast, so, boom, I can hit my protein needs there. And having one; enough protein, but two; a sustained energy release through the MCTS I think is a really novel application and novel combination, which is what makes that product so exciting.

0:30:56 - (Bec): Yeah, it helps us feel sustained for that longer period of time. But such an important brain fuel MCT. Because it has such a profound ability to convert so easily into ketones, it's like this ready-made high-octane gas for your brain, basically. It just switches your brain on. So, yeah, perfect for that kind of in the morning so that you are ready to face the day and do your decision-making and take kids to school and deal with morning traffic and things where you have to really think on the fly or think quickly or have a clarity of thought. I definitely notice a difference when I take MCT.

Even something along the lines of like which if you're a bit of a... you like to play sport of any kind, this forgotten element of sport outside of fitness or agility or muscle strength, is your ability to make faster decisions in particular sports. Like whether it's netball, basketball, hockey, anything like that. If you can think faster, you can react faster, which a) can help with injury prevention, but it also will improve your game. So I like to play sports, so that was something that I think that not enough people think about is that ability for the brain to make really quick decision making that comes down to brain health and how well we fuel it.

0:32:18 - (Nathan): And the sustained nature of that, right? So, if you're constantly feeding yourself on carbohydrates and these carbohydrate crashes, you will have these energy dips. And I think that's another key thing about fat as fuel, and especially MCTs, you get that more sustained, leveled-out feeling of energy and focus without having.

0:32:39 - (Bec): To reach for the sugary snacks for the next hit. Yeah, this is really true. And that's an important aspect to long-term brain wellbeing as well. Like, research is pretty conclusive around the fact that the more problems we have with insulin resistance or if we have glycation, anything like that, it does a lot of damage to the brain. Brain is really susceptible to it. So the more we can try and find those energy sources that are non-glucose derived, the better it's going to be for our long-term brain health. For sure.

Well, Nathan, thank you so much for coming and having a chat to us about the many applications of not just protein, but an advanced bioavailability source of protein. It's an area that I think that people will appreciate, it has a lot of opportunity for their overall wellbeing, but obviously brain and body. Yeah, thank you for being a part of today.

0:33:35 - (Nathan): Thanks for having me, Bec. I appreciated it.

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