Rice protein: The natural, high-quality protein alternative
General information about rice protein
A grain of rice is made up of three parts. These three parts are the nutritive tissue of rice germ and rice bran. The rice bran is interesting for us.
While the nutritive tissue, the major part of the rice grain, consists mainly of carbohydrates, there is a lot of protein in the rice bran. Many other nutrients and micronutrients are also found in rice bran and germ.
Rice protein powder is obtained from rice bran through numerous different process steps. Rice bran is a by-product of brown rice processing and white rice production.
Nutrients, amino acid profile & effect of rice protein
For the intake of high quality proteins, rice protein powder is a very good source. Rice protein has a high content of the amino acids glutamic acid (precursor for glutamine), aspartic acid, leucine, arginine and comparatively high values for methionineand cysteine .
The rice protein collects further plus points through a high vitamin E content. This is particularly interesting for athletes because vitamin E is a strong radical scavenger and, as an antioxidant in membranes, prevents the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids.
Vitamin E also plays a role as a component of enzyme systems in the mitochondria – somewhat more specifically in the respiratory chain. There is therefore reason to believe that vitamin E has an influence on aerobic performance.
Besides vitamin E, vitamin C and vitamin D are also found in rice protein. Andalthough we have already learned about many special ingredients, there’s still something to mention: Rice protein also contains the B vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (panthothenic acid) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
Very good tolerability and digestibility
Rice protein represents an allergen-free, vegetable protein source – free of animal components, gluten-free, lactose-free and therefore very suitable for vegans, vegetarians and allergy sufferers, among others.
Rice protein has a very good digestibility of 99.6% in the body (soy protein as a comparison: 91.41%).
The mentioned minerals and vitamins are present in natural form. They are of high biological quality and can be well absorbed and used by the body.
Relevant Studies Comparing Soy, Whey & Rice Protein
The study of rice protein powder brought the following average values (concentrate and isolate) as a result: 78% protein, 36% essential amino acids and 18% BCAA (= branched chain amino acids valine, leucine and isoleucine). (1)
Compared to soy protein, the proportion of amino acids is similar. (2,3)
Rice protein is an alternative to soy protein as a valuable source of plant protein, according to another study. (4)
Another study examined the effectiveness of rice protein in building muscle compared to Whey protein. As a result of the eight-week study, it was revealed that rice protein achieved the same results as Whey protein in supporting muscle building in conjunction with strength training. (5)
Study participants were able to increase muscle size and strength and decrease body fat percentage with both the whey and rice proteins. No differences could be differentiated between the groups (Whey or rice).
Combination improves the amino acid profile
Most plant foods are deficient in at least one or more amino acids. In the case of rice protein, this concerns the amino acids lysine, threonine and isoleucine.
Combining it with other plant protein sources such as lupine protein, hemp protein or pea protein can make up for the deficiency. This improves the amino acid profile.