Vegan protein powders are not always a complete protein source on their own, but they can be combined with other plant-based protein sources to create a complete protein. A complete protein is one that contains all of the essential amino acids that the body needs to function, but not all plant-based protein sources are complete proteins.
Common vegan protein powder sources include pea protein, soy protein, brown rice protein, and hemp protein. Each of these sources provides a different amino acid profile, and some are stronger in certain amino acids than others.
To ensure a complete protein source, it's recommended to combine two or more plant-based protein sources that complement each other. For example, combining pea protein, which is high in lysine, with brown rice protein, which is high in methionine, creates a complete protein source.
Other useful combinations include combining soy protein with rice protein, or hemp protein with pea protein. Nutritional yeast is another good complementary protein source that can be added to a smoothie or used as a seasoning.